Friday, November 12, 2010

What makes author CHRISTI BARTH break into a cold sweat?

If you are shy, writing – on the surface – looks like an ideal occupation. No coworkers, no commute, no cold calling…But the deeper you get into the profession, the truth comes out. Our cold calls are our query letters. Blogging thrusts us into the spotlight constantly. However, I’m here to discuss a topic that can break even the least shy people into a cold sweat – sex (did I get your attention?). Yup, I am a romance author, which means my books have sex. Explicit sex. Well written, sweaty, no holds barred sex. Both because the story demands it, and because it is almost compulsory in romances these days. The promise of a few great make out scenes and one full scale bedroom romp is a great way to sell to total strangers. I’ve no problem with the strangers. I do, however, have a hard time with close friends.

Friends who might give sidelong glances and start picturing things when they see my husband kiss me. Or worse, coworkers, who should DEFINITELY not be thinking about my hot sex scene when we’re in meetings. Most dire of all is the looming specter of family. My father reads my sex scenes. Gulp. When my first book released last year, I panicked. It came out in early December, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around how awkward Christmas dinner might be at our house, once my father finished my book.

And I didn't want him to just turn the page and skip it, because I labored really hard to make it good (truly ladies, is there anything harder to write than a well crafted sex scene?).....but would I be able to look him in the face once he read it? A paradox, I know. He grew up in the 60s, but lived as opposite a life as possible from free love/drugs/rock 'n roll.

The good news is that I panicked for nothing. He read it, and the world kept turning. Did we discuss it in depth? Of course not. As a matter of fact, he just finished my latest release Act Like We’re In Love which kicked up the heat level another notch. More relaxed this time, I was able to turn it into a joke, quizzing him on what made the heroine’s underwear unique for proof he read the whole thing.


My panic level is sky high again, though, as I’m set to be a guest at my mother’s book club. A bunch of senior citizens who have already complained to her about how racy the book is…and yet every single one of them finished it. How on earth am I going to be able to look these little old ladies in the eye when we discuss it? Because they kept reading. Whether because of the sex scenes or despite them, they kept going. They enjoyed the overall story. It gave them an escape, brightened their day. Which means I hit my goal as an author, so I’m going to wrap myself in an extra-thick cloak of dignity and remember they liked it. After all, my characters spent a majority of the book engaged in witty dialogue and a complex plot. The sex scenes probably add up to less than a full chapter out of almost thirty. No reason for me to obsess over it if they don’t!

I'm sure everyone has encountered this. What did you do - how do you deal with it? I'm grateful for any and all suggestions.


Christi Barth spent years performing in musicals, singing about love and giving people a happy ending in every performance. Then as a wedding planner she spent every day immersed in romance. Now she writes it! After winning several writing contests, she debuted her novel Carolina Heat to rave reviews. She lives in Maryland with the absolutely best husband in the world (sorry ladies, but it's true!).

It is exciting to share her love of the theatre with the world through Act Like We're In Love. For all her fellow Broadway fans, favorite shows include Guys & Dolls, Phantom, and The Most Happy Fella. A special curtain call for Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers, the show where she met and first starred opposite the love of her life.

For more about Christi, please visit her website.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for being on the blog, Christi!

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  2. Hi, Christi! We met at RWA in Orlando at breakfast, actually, and it's so nice to see you this blog! I was checking it out because a friend suggested it as a blogging op for me, lol. Anyway - I feel your pain. I write erotic romance under a pseudonym because I cringe for anyone in my other two professions to know about the kink factor in my work. Just don't want to go there. As for the contemporary that I am in the process of selling - my dad just read it. He was happy to inform me that I didn't go anywhere he hadn't been already, and I was the one who was grossed out. As he is fond of saying "every generation thinks they invented sex and alcohol." I told my mother my erotic romance pseudonym - we'll have to see if she tells dad!

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  3. Thanks so much for stopping by - and I encourage you to jump on every blog opportunity you get. It is so great to recognize names in the blogosphere of all the great people we met at RWA!

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