Friday, December 10, 2010

Author Interview: Christi Barth

Today I welcome author Christi Barths for an interview.  I will be reviewing her book Act Like We're in Love within the next few days.  So grab your favorite cuppa and see what she has to say.

How did you celebrate when you found out Act Like We’re in Love would be published? 
Quiet exultation. Followed by a few rounds toasts at a party that weekend. When I received the contract for my first book, I screamed and danced. For this second one, it was more of an inner pulse of awareness that I really could do this – I wouldn’t be a one hit wonder. Such a relief!
Act Like We're in Love

How would you describe Act Like We’re in Love to others?
My one sentence elevator pitch: a peek behind the curtain at love in the theatre.

Back cover blurb: When two people make beautiful music together onstage, can their love survive once the curtain falls? Linnea Larson is willing to do anything to keep her family's Minneapolis dinner theatre from going under. Anything, that is, besides accepting a date from the Hollywood hunk her father hired to inject a dose of star power into their production of Guys & Dolls. It's a toss up whether his greatest claim to fame is playing a superhero on screen, or a super stud off screen. Neither fact convinces her he's got what it takes to share her stage. And thanks to a life long pact with her best friend, she never dates actors.

Luke Powell has fame, fortune, and an endless string of women, but also a lingering dissatisfaction with his picture perfect life. Looking for a change, he escapes to his theatrical roots. What he finds are wary cast mates, a nervous best friend convinced the show will ruin Luke's career, and an adorable costar who stubbornly refuses to go out with him. Suddenly singing and dancing aren't the only challenges he'll tackle over the summer. Far from the spotlights of Hollywood, can he find happiness in the footlights of a tiny theatre?

Despite Luke dragging her into his daily paparazzi nightmare, Linnea can't deny her mounting attraction to his irresistible charm. And even if she's crazy enough to chance getting involved, their fling would have a guaranteed expiration date. He's leaving at the end of the run, and she's tied to her family's theatre. Why risk the inevitable heartbreak? Their job is to act like they're in love, but will they decide it's worth the leap to fall in love for real?

Where did the idea for Act Like We’re in Love come from?
It was very, very vague. I wanted to write a story that showcased life in the theatre. Not exactly enough to go on, was it? From there I worked to find a musical to showcase that would be relatable to a wide audience, and yet still tie into my plot in several places. Then I had to figure out who the heck the characters were. With my background in the theatre, it was shocking how small a seed of an idea I began with – but luckily it quickly grew. There is a wonderful intimacy inherent to being in a cast that lends itself to a romance. I wanted to share with the world the absolute joy of being on stage.

How much research did you have to do for this book?
A surprising amount! It takes place in Minneapolis, where I lived for 5 years, and is about the theatre, which I lived and breathed most of my life. But I had to go online and make sure I got tiny details right about the city, and I had to do an immense amount of research to come up with just the right action hero (AquaMan) that my main character is known for portraying.

Have you been in plays/musicals, been an actor before?
I’ve been in musicals and opera my whole life – so this really is an insider’s viewpoint of the theatre world that I’m sharing, which makes my book really stand out. The book centers around Guys & Dolls, which I’ve performed in three different productions. Love it!

Did you plan this book out or do you just write and see where it took you?
I am a die-hard plotter. Not only do I come up with an overall plot, but I outline each chapter. Plus, there are lists – one of iconic Minneapolis sites I wanted to work in, the different parts of putting on a musical that needed to be included, as well as character growth. Lots of interweaving, and planning ahead is the only way (for me) to manage it. I can plot anywhere, and far ahead (especially in boring meetings), so when I actually sit down to read there’s nothing left to do but let the words flow.

Do you get time to read? What are your favorite types of books to read?
I make/find time to read no matter what (although now that I’m writing many evenings, my reading hours have been drastically shortened!). I’ve been a devoted bookworm my entire life, and as a speed reader, I tend to devour books. No surprise – I love romance, especially contemporary and paranormal. Also a huge mystery/thriller fan, but I will read just about anything. About to start Blowing My Cover; My Life As A CIA Spy.

What is your favorite room in your house?
My dining room, because I love to entertain. We have an entire wall of photographs of a trip we took to Banff – breathtaking scenery and great memories.

What is your favorite spot to read in?
Slouched into my beach chair, feet buried in the sand. We spend a week at the beach every summer, and I typically roar through at least 10 books. Love it! But don’t get me wrong; I will read anywhere. Anytime the opportunity presents itself.

What is your favorite snack food?
So hard to choose – I’m a big fan of salty over sweet, so I think I’d lean toward amazing cheese on a cracker. Well, multiple pieces of cheese. And some cornichon.

What is your favorite season?
Spring. I grew up in Los Angeles, which really only has 1 ½ seasons, kind of skipping from autumn straight to interminable heat. Now that I live in Maryland, I revel in experiencing all four seasons, and the delicate unfolding of spring delights me.

Do you have a schedule for writing each day or do you just do it when you can?
Life happens. So I don’t force myself to produce every day. Rather, I set myself a word count goal for the week – as long as I hit it, whether in one day or four, I’m set!

Any book signings/conferences/public/blog appearances in the near future?
I’m guest blogging at Night Owl Romance on February 15 – swing by!

Do you have a new book in the works?
Absolutely! I’ve embarked upon a trilogy (which is MUCH trickier than I hoped), set in Chicago. The first book centers on a wedding coordinator and fallen-from-grace journalist who is biding his time as a videographer. Planning for Love will be chock full of funny wedding snafus. And this summer I finished Cruising Toward Love, which answers the question: can an unexplained breakup and ten years of heartache be cured by the romance – and endless buffets – of a tropical cruise?

Anything else you would like to say?
As much as I love to write, it would be nothing without the readers. Truly, I just want my books to entertain, to lift your spirits and carry you away from your everyday life. The fact that you would spare a little time from today's overscheduled world to read my words is humbling and wonderful.

Thanks you Christi for interviewing with me today.  Stay tuned over the weekend for a review of Act Like We're In Love.

You can find Christi at her website and as a contributor at the Word Wranglers blog.