Today I'm interviewing author and fellow Wrangler, Christi Barth.
What made you decide to start writing?
I began writing very early. 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. Then I discovered I couldn’t stop – the ideas just kept swirling around in my head. I knew if I didn’t at least try to pursue this, it would be a lifelong regret. A few years ago I finally mustered the motivation to finish my book, and now I’m writing my fourth.
Do you ever base your characters on people you know?
So far, just once. And only because when I imagined the character, there was no possible way to separate fact from fiction. I honestly try not to (despite a friend of mine begging to be featured) - as an author, you need to be able to mold your characters, and not be hamstrung by little things like reality.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you started writing?
Absolutely not. If I'd known at the beginning how hard it is to get published, or even what it's like to be bogged down for an entire night 84,000 words in by having to come up with the perfect name for a minor character, I might not have had the requisite willpower to proceed. Ignorance IS bliss.
People who follow this blog know you're a plotter.
Were you ever a panster? Bite your tongue! Not only do I plot the general outline, but each chapter. I've found that when I get stuck in the middle of a chapter, it is usually because I haven't properly plotted it. For example, if I jot a note that says in Chapter 11, Ivy and Ben go on a date - I'll grind to a complete halt. Before I start that chapter, I need to know what topics they'll cover, how they'll come together/grow apart in the scene, and where it should end.
Is there anything about the writing process you absolutely hate?
I hate writing sex scenes! There is a finite number of times you can mention each body part and where/how his hand touched her breast. Not fun at all! The actual writing becomes very clinical and leaches all the sexiness out of it for me. Can only slog through it with a White Russian in hand.
What's the most important advice you can give a new author?
I will quote just about every other author asked this question and say - put your butt in the chair and WRITE!!! And after that, find a critique group - it is an invaluable part of the process.