BWW Feature: New York Times Best-Selling Author Duo Christina Lauren talk about Broadway's role in their new novel ROOMIES!
Today, ROOMIES, the brand-new novel by Christina Lauren, makes its debut. The novel is set in NYC and centered around the hottest Broadway musical in town.
To celebrate, the co-authored team sits down to chat about the show that readers will only get a glimpse of in the novel and share their influences:
In our upcoming novel, Roomies, to thank him for saving her from an assault, a young woman named Holland Bakker organizes an audition for her favorite subway musician with one of the biggest musical directors on Broadway-who also happens to be her uncle. Although Calvin performs spectacularly at the audition, he is unable to accept a role in the orchestra because he is living in the country illegally. Holland offers to marry Calvin to let him stay, and with hopes that he can join the musical. They wed hastily, but there is still one problem: the romantic feelings Holland has had for Calvin even before they knew each other slowly begin to complicate their supposedly simple arrangement.
We knew when writing Roomies that, if we pulled it off as intended, the musical would feel almost like another character in the story. Although we didn't want to add too many details about the plot of the musical itself (sometimes a story within a story can be confusing), we knew that we would have to know the general story of It Possessed Him so that we could build the characters reactions and emotions around that when they were performing.
Of course, we were inspired by Hamilton. We saw the original cast perform in the early summer of 2016, just before their last show, and as most people who've seen it will agree, it was life altering for us. Additionally, we were inspired by the Vice article about a woman named Freddie Oversteegen from the Netherlands who joined the WWII resistance against the Nazis when she was only fourteen. Her sixteen-year-old sister would flirt with Nazi collaborators at a local bar, and then lead them into the woods under the pretense of giving them a kiss-but instead the collaborators would be shot by a waiting soldier. Freddie would be the lookout.
This story, combined with today's political climate, gave us the perfect jumping off point. It Possessed Him is the story of a man (in the book played by Ramón Martín) who is struggling with the truth that, more and more glaringly, his country might not ever be the open, free place he wants for his daughters. He is torn over the decision whether or not to allow them to help in the resistance by going out undercover in their community to identify the secret Nazi sympathizers. Each time they leave him, he is wracked with guilt that he's allowed it. And each time they come back in victory, he is nearly debilitated with relief-and vindication. But another influence of ours, In the Garden of Good and Evil by Erik Larsen, took us down another path: how would the father feel if the daughters remained generally safe as they operated with the resistance, but one was also slowly falling in love with the son of the main white nationalist target.
With these stories in mind, we've titled several popular pieces from the 'show'-including the most popular hit, "Lost to Me," from a scene when the father is at his most distraught about the possibility of losing his daughter to his enemy's son. It was a new kind of joy for us to have this other narrative happening in the background, of which readers will hopefully get tiny glimpses. But even more important to us than sharing the primary plot of the musical was to share the overall feeling of being there in a room where a cultural shift is happening-in this case, of being in the audience and hearing Calvin accompanying Ramón as he sings. We hope we've managed to capture that feeling of the thundering pulse, the heart-climbing into our throat, and the skin prickling joy we feel when we hear music and a message so prodigious we can barely breathe. It's why we go to the theater ourselves.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The #1 international bestselling co-author duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fourteen New York Times bestselling novels. They are published in over 30 languages, have received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, won both the Seal of Excellence and Book of the Year from RT Magazine, named Amazon and Audible Romance of the Year, and been nominated for several Goodreads Choice Awards. They have been featured in publications such as Forbes, The Washington Post, Time, Entertainment Weekly, People, O Magazine and more. Their third YA novel, Autoboyography was released in September, and will be followed by a contemporary romance, Roomies, in December, and their first Women's Fiction, Love and Other Words, in April.
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ABOUT THE BOOK:
Marriages of convenience are so...inconvenient.Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway-until he admits his student visa has expired and he's in the country illegally. Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?
Out December 5, 2017 from Gallery Books // Simon & Schuster at bookstores everywhere!