|Cruising for Love |
by Christi Barth
How do you come up with ideas? Ah, the ubiquitous question to which no writer ever has an answer. They strike me often when I travel. I wish I had a better description of the process, but the basic idea literally pops into my head. Of course, I then immediately panic about how to stretch it into 96,000 words. When I’m stuck on a plot point, I focus on it while I’m on the elliptical – lots of ideas gel for me there.
What is the single most important part of writing for you? Detailed plotting. I do an overview of the entire book, and then I have to outline every chapter. I have beautiful power point charts and everything. Can’t work without it. I’ve tried just forging ahead on a chapter, but I go nowhere. Once I jot down a synopsis of the chapter, my fingers fly over the keyboard. I don’t always stick to it, but it is integral to my writing.
What do you enjoy most about writing? The aforementioned plotting, when so many possibilities stretch ahead of me. No, strike that, I love really witty banter. You know what? I love it all – that’s why I write!
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...? I start with a one sentence idea. It’s sort of like a piece of gum; then I have to chew it for a while before it expands into a beautiful bubble of a story. Usually the research happens as I discover the need for it. However, I just began a paranormal, so I’ve buried myself in a demon encyclopedia and a book called Defense Against the Dark. Spooky to read just before going to bed!
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing. Darynda Jones and Christie Ridgway.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why? They are completely different. If you are in the mood for no-holds-barred romantic suspense, start w/Carolina Heat. If you don’t want the last vestiges of summer to slip away, beach read w/Cruising Toward Love. If you just want a sexy yet sweet story, Act Like We’re in Love.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work? A lighter heart. When I was an actress, I knew that for two solid hours, I was helping people escape. Greeting the audience in the lobby afterwards, you could see the happiness on their faces. Ideally, I want my books to accomplish the same thing- to be a respite every time you pick one up. A way to transport you from daily stress and worry, and put a smile on your face.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less? Adores Her Husband Beyond All Words.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live? I’d live ½ a block from the Atlantic Ocean (so I’m protected from hurricanes, but still have a great view).
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do? I’d be a crowbar (but one decorated with ruffles and painted purple). People open up to me about everything. I discovered this superpower when my mother-in-law told me about her sex life (and oh, how I wish she hadn’t!). I think it’s that I’m not afraid to ask questions, and I’m a good listener. Given the chance, people do like to talk about themselves.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say? Caution – overly blunt and outspoken.
What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you? How do you come up with the titles to your books? Blood, sweat and tears. My first book I titled Missing, which I found a way to work beautifully into the last sentence – it was a work of literary art, if I do say so myself. Then my publisher nixed it, and I spent an entire week coming up with titles that sounded like bad soap operas (Palmetto Passion, Sizzling Secrets, Magnolias & Murder). I couldn’t understand how I was able to churn out 96,000 words of a novel, and not be able to come up with a 2-3 word title. We settled on Carolina Heat. For Act Like We’re In Love, the original working title was Love Duet. But it didn't sound sexy and fun enough, and by about chapter ten I realized I had to go back to the idea well. Once I started re-thinking it, the title came to me very quickly, and I had to pat myself on the back for coming up with a title that practically wrote the back cover blurb for me!
City life or country life? 100% city life. I need restaurants, theatre, shopping, restaurants, symphony, oh and did I mention restaurants? The funny part is that I adore reading books set in small towns, but I practically break out in hives just driving through one.
I love pizza with pepperoni and pineapple. BBQ chicken pizza. Ooh, buffalo wing pizza! Great, now I’ve got a craving for dinner tonight.
Act Like We’re In Love – When two people make beautiful music together onstage, can their love survive once the curtain falls? This is a peek behind the curtain at love in the theatre.
Carolina Heat – An undercover journalist finds steamy passion, mortal danger…and the love of her life. A missing best friend escalates into a mystery with ties all the way back to the Civil War.
Dive into the pages of Cruising Toward Love below!
"Did you stop kissing me because you weren’t enjoying it? You see, I’ve dealt with the first time you rejected me, when you left all those years ago. There’s no need to rehash the past. But I don’t think I could bear you rejecting me a second time. So I have to know—did you not take me to bed the other night because I didn’t turn you on, or was it because I somehow wasn’t good enough at it?"
The world stood still while she waited for his answer. Zoe focused on the squawk of sea gulls and the muted slap of the surf at the base of the wall. The lyrical lilt of Spanish from the group of teenagers passing by. A low buzz which must be some exotic insect in the shrubbery along the path. Every sound in her immediate vicinity rang with absurd clarity—except the sound she waited on with bated breath—Nate’s reply.
"If you still don’t want me, just say so, damn it!" she burst out.
Was it anger that hardened the lines of his body? Disinterest? Annoyance? Zoe couldn’t get a read on him. Nate advanced slowly. She backed into the turret, the space tight and cramped even for her stature. Built for the far shorter men of an earlier century, Nate had to duck his head as he edged ever closer. His sheer presence commanded as much area as his physical body. Something, some emotion rolled off him in waves, shimmering like heat above asphalt on a summer day. Why couldn’t she tell what was going on in his head?
"The sky is blue," said Nate, his face separated from hers by only a breath.
Huh? "Is that a military thing? Are you talking in code?"
"The sun rises in the east. Play with fire and you’ll get burned. These are all absolute truths. Indisputable facts. Well, there’s one more absolute you need to file away in your mental card catalog."
Nate brought the lower half of his body so close Zoe felt the heat radiating from his legs. Despite the heat, her goose bumps had goose bumps. The anticipation of his touch brought her every sense to high alert. He raised his arms up, planted his hands on either side of her head to cage her in place. Then he tilted so his forehead bumped hers. Her field of vision narrowed to the indigo sea of his eyes, pupils flooding black in the shaded darkness of the narrow turret they shared.
"I want you, Zoe." He forced the words out in a heavy rasp. "I wanted you the day we met. You wore a red ribbon in your hair, dropped a stack of books on my foot, and apologized adorably for ten minutes. All I could think of was wrapping the ribbon around my hand to pull you in for a kiss. I wanted you the first time we kissed, on the bridge in a storm. One by one, I licked off every raindrop that clung to your skin. I wanted you when I saw you covered in mud last Friday. Wanted you badly enough to crawl right into the mud to be with you. I want you now, and I will always want you."
Zoe let her eyes flutter shut in preparation for a kiss. Such a heartfelt, utterly romantic speech could only end one way. Just as whipped cream hungered for a cherry, his words demanded to be topped off by a kiss. She didn’t care about the past. With a handful of sentences he’d put her insecurities to rest. Nate dazzled her, and she was ready for more.
What was taking him so long? From beneath her lashes she snuck a peek. No Nate. Hoping the knees he’d melted to jelly would hold her, Zoe scrambled out onto the dirt path. Twenty strides ahead, Nate bellowed at her over his shoulder. "Hurry up. We don’t want to miss the reading of the clue."
From confusion to relief with paper hearts dancing overhead...right back to confusion, all in less than five minutes. Zoe trudged after him with one thought uppermost in her mind—now what?
Thank you Christi! You can catch up with Christi Barth on Twitter at http://twitter.com/christi_barth