Interview & Contest: Christi Barth

Jen: Please help me welcome Christi Barth to Romancing the Book.  Christi, will you please share a short bio with us?

Christi: I spent years performing in musicals, singing about love and giving people a happy ending in every performance. Then as a wedding planner I spent every day immersed in romance. Now, I write it! Cruising Toward Love is my third book. While the cruise depicted in this book is wholly fictional, I do love to float around the Caribbean, eating and drinking and relaxing. While safely shaded under a huge hat and wearing SPF 50, of course.

Jen: Tell us about Cruising Toward Love and where it can be purchased.

Christi: You can find links to purchase all my books at www.christibarth.com

Can an unexplained breakup and ten years of heartache be cured by the romance – and endless buffets – of a tropical cruise? When her sister is left at the altar, small town librarian Zoe Balis jumps at the chance to take the bride’s unused ticket for the honeymoon cruise. But she didn’t count on sharing a cabin with the man who broke her heart ten years ago!

Army medic Nate Hyatt never told Zoe goodbye when he enlisted – or the real reason why he dumped her on prom night after a year as high school sweethearts. And he never stopped dreaming about the girl he left behind. Could this voyage be his chance to fix the worst mistake he ever made? After all, a Caribbean cruise should be romantic… if he can convince her to move past ten years of bitterness and hurt.

Once aboard the luxury liner, Zoe befriends a bored Internet mogul with more heart than tact. Nate vents his problems to a ship’s photographer battling PTSD. The four team up on an island hopping treasure hunt. The stakes grow higher with each of Zoe’s mysterious brushes with death. They race to discover why she’s a target and who’s behind it, while still competing in the treasure hunt.

Zoe’s never gotten over her first love, and is tempted to let Nate back into her life. But she already lost him once. She’s not willing to risk loving a man whose career keeps him in a combat zone. Can Nate breach her defenses and suture her broken heart? Grab a deck chair and see if they survive the stormy relationship seas as they cruise toward love!

Jen: At what age did you discover writing?

Christi: I spent the summer I was 13 knocking out 60 pages of what must’ve been a truly horrible historical romance. I was a bookworm, and wasn’t allowed to watch much television, so writing gave me something to do over vacation.

Jen: When where you first published? Tell us your call story.

Christi: Four years ago, I’d been corresponding with a publisher – submitted the full, and they wanted to see one major revision. I made it, and then sat on tenterhooks for a week. We went on a family trip to DC for the weekend, and our hotel had computers in the lobby available to guests with free WiFi. We came back from breakfast – I checked my email. Came back from the Air & Space museum – checked my email. My parents thought I was obsessed, because I hadn’t told them what was going on (I didn’t want to jinx it). But finally at 5:00 the email came through, and at dinner that night I got to share the good news! Followed promptly the next day by extreme panic when I opened the contract and discovered they wanted me to come up with a concept for the cover. Yikes!

Jen: How does your family feel about your career?

Christi: Since I have the very best husband in the entire world, his support is so great as to not even be quantifiable. My parents are also supportive and proud – believe it or not, my father has read every word, even the sex scenes!

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

Christi: Witty banter (can we count that as one word?), passionate, transporting

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?

Christi: After years as an actress, my creative juices kick into high gear after 6 pm. I do my plotting during the day – well, whenever the ideas strike, which is often either when I’m at the gym or the symphony, oddly enough. But the bulk of my writing takes place between sunset and midnight.

Jen: Would you still write novels even if you didn’t get paid?

Christi: Absolutely. I don’t think anyone (at least not anyone sane) takes up writing as a get-rich-quick scheme. You have to love it with every marrow of your being. I write because the stories are already in me, clawing to get out.

Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?

Christi: Drank mai-tais on the beach. Seriously, although I have been on two cruises, many of the details came straight from my imagination. I did have to research Caribbean drug trafficking, Army bases, Library Science degrees, PTSD – wow, this is making my book sound serious! I promise it is a funny, sexy romp.

Jen: Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting them go, or are you happy that their story is told and you can move on?

Christi: I’ve been quite content through four books to slap and they lived happily ever after at the end of a story and walk away. The hard part is now that I’m writing trilogies, I can’t move on – I’ve got to deal with bringing them back and keeping them fresh. That will be a new authorial challenge for me to tackle.

Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?

Christi: Not only am I a bookworm, but I’m also a speed reader. I spent about twenty years going through a minimum of 7-8 books a week (that number has diminished now that I spend my evenings writing). With that many books under my belt, it is hard to point to just one or two. Every single book I’ve ever read influences my writing – whether it is learning the good, or recognizing the bad. I can tell you the first full blown adult romance I read (hiding in a closet) was Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss – classic! And Nora Roberts is my idol. Can’t gush enough about her.

Jen: What has been the highlight of your career to this point?

Christi: I recently participated in the Baltimore Book Festival – a three day extravaganza of panels and readings. Reading out loud to a crowd of strangers and hearing them laugh at my words in all the right places was absolutely magical.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Christi: Over the summer I finished the first book in a wedding trilogy chronicling the ups and downs of a wedding planner thrust into the spotlight of a reality show. Right now I’m in the midst of a paranormal with ghosts and sex demons. Fun stuff!

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Christi: I encourage everyone to stop by my blog – just started this week – at http://christibarth.blogspot.com . It’ll be full of talk about books, cooking, writing, and anything else that catches my fancy. For further information on all my books, interviews and reviews, check out www.christibarth.com

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Christi: I’d love to know what unusual (but still legal!) location or situation you’d like to see me set a sex scene. I like to get my characters out of the bedroom as much as possible, just to keep it interesting.

Contest details:

  • The prize is an ebook of Cruising Toward Love.
  • The contest is open to anyone over the age of 18.
  • You must leave a meaningful comment for entry.  This means your comment needs to be more than “please enter me in the contest”.
  • A valid email address needs to be included in your comment.  If you’re worried about spam, please modify your address, such as admin.bookblog AT gmail.com.  You can also send a message to this email after your comment has been posted.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Sunday, November 20.
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