I’m always happy to welcome authors back to the Spotlight and today, Christi Barth has stopped by the blog again with her new book, Hottie on Her Shelf, which releases July 11. USA TODAY bestseller Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance. Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.
Christi’s going to talk to us about book research–something every author has to face. Take it away, Christi…
I often joke—to all my bestselling historical fiction friends—that I write contemporary romance because it requires zero research. Welp, that joke is on me, friends. There’s no exemption card to play in this genre to avoid research. As I learned when I wrote the Bad Boys Gone Good series about mobsters in witness protection.
Here’s the thing: witness protection works because few details are shared, even in today’s everything is on the internet world. But I did manage to find after a concerted search exactly how big a two million dollar stack of cash would be so I could figure out the possibility of hiding it in a grave.
But when I started writing HOTTE ON HER SHELF, I didn’t realize just how difficult a task I’d set myself. This fun, fluffy, small-town rom-com took oodles of research. Because it is about a librarian running against an incumbent mayor. It is set in coastal Maine. I’ve lived all across this country and feel relatively informed about how things work in general. But Maine is different. Their governance works differently. I read through minutes from three towns’ city councils going back for two years #notriveting.
I researched which colleges were nearby and had a masters of library science program (not as many as you think). And then my editor sprang on me that, since the book followed a campaign, I had to come up with a hot-button issue!
This was, well, an issue because I want my books to be an escape from politics. Our country is a tad polarized and seething right now. I wanted to slap a disclaimer across the cover: This Book Does Not Actually Discuss Politics. Sure, I have opinions—strong ones. But so does everyone else. The place where we can come together is over our love of books. So this issue couldn’t be anything that smacked of one political party’s wishes or the other.
Um….impossible, you say? I said that, too. For about a week. And then I dug deep and figured out what it could be. Which turned out to require far less research than my second book in the series about a molecular biologist and her research project. Do you have any idea the scads of things that come up when you search ‘scientific innovation’? And how few of them I actually understood?
But for now, this one is simply a book full of small town shenanigans and friendships, hilarious banter and swoony romance. A rivals to lovers story that happens to take place during a mayoral campaign, but is far more about dropping prejudices and discovering that love makes you stronger. I hope you’ll check it out!
Hottie on Her Shelf
Hallie Scott expected the hangover from her thirtieth birthday. She did not expect to find her calm, orderly life as Swan Cove’s head librarian to completely change overnight when her best friend added Hallie to the mayoral ballot because of one little remark. One. Now she’s going head-to-head with the small coastal town’s prominent “prince,” Fitz Montgomery…whose charm is about to get seriously checked.
All Fitz wants is to prove himself, beyond being the latest in the unbroken line of Montgomery mayors. Nobody, least of all Fitz, expected the town’s cute-as-hell librarian to step up and run against him. Hallie’s definitely in over her head, which is a problem, since Fitz wants a fair fight. But is he helping Hallie level the playing field…or arming his opponent?
Hallie and Fitz are on completely different sides. Their backgrounds, their lives, their ongoing ebook vs. paperback argument. But they’re both about to learn that the art of war is nowhere near as complicated as falling for the enemy…