Friday, March 4, 2011

Review & Interview: Act Like We're In Love by Christi Barth

When two people make beautiful music together onstage, can their love survive once the curtain falls? Linnea Larson is willing to do anything to keep her family's Minneapolis dinner theatre from going under. Anything, that is, besides accepting a date from the Hollywood hunk her father hired to inject a dose of star power into their production of Guys & Dolls. It's a toss up whether his greatest claim to fame is playing a superhero on screen, or a super stud off screen. Neither fact convinces her he's got what it takes to share her stage. And thanks to a life long pact with her best friend, she never dates actors. Christi Barth contacted me a little while back asking if I would like to review her book.  Act Like We're In Love sounded like a lot of fun so of course I said yes.  The book is a complete joy, something I would definitely reach for when looking for an easy read on the beach.

Luke Powell has fame, fortune, and an endless string of women, but also a lingering dissatisfaction with his picture perfect life. Looking for a change, he escapes to his theatrical roots. What he finds are wary cast mates, a nervous best friend convinced the show will ruin Luke's career, and an adorable costar who stubbornly refuses to go out with him. Suddenly singing and dancing aren't the only challenges he'll tackle over the summer. Far from the spotlights of Hollywood, can he find happiness in the footlights of a tiny theatre?

Despite Luke dragging her into his daily paparazzi nightmare, Linnea can't deny her mounting attraction to his irresistible charm. And even if she's crazy enough to chance getting involved, their fling would have a guaranteed expiration date. He's leaving at the end of the run, and she's tied to her family's theatre. Why risk the inevitable heartbreak? Their job is to act like they're in love, but will they decide it's worth the leap to fall in love for real? description taken from here.


The characters are well developed and very like-able, yet it was a bit difficult to keep all of the minor characters in order because there were so many of them.  The story line was fun and entertaining, and the Barth's tone, as well as her writing style, throughout the book was also very pleasing to read.  While I did enjoy this book very much, I would not say that it is a favorite of mine.  That said, I would still definitely recommend it to anyone who likes romance novels, for it was very cute.

You can get the book in both print and in ebook format.  For purchasing the ebook format (through click here for $6.95 and you can purchase the print version here for $14.64


What was your inspiration for Act Like We're In Love?
I spent much of my life performing in musical theatre and opera. There is a wonderful intimacy inherent to being in a cast that lends itself to a romance. I wanted to share with the world the absolute joy of being on stage. And the 'disdain' theatre actors have for movie/tv actors is very real, which gave me a conflict to work with right off the bat.
What was your favorite scene in Act Like We're In Love to write?
My favorite scene was the last scene. I am an unapologetic romantic, so the chance for them to profess their love and revel in a happy ending was by far the most fun. I had to remind myself there was an actual time limit inherent to the action in the story, and I couldn't just have them go on and on for ten pages about what a wonderful life they'll share.
What was the hardest scene to write? And why?
Without a doubt, the love scene. I guess as a romance author I shouldn't admit this, but love scenes are brutal to craft. You can only say he stroked such and such body part so many times, so many ways. The actual writing becomes very clinical and leaches all the sexiness out of it for me.
I love the title. How did you come up with it?
The original working title was Love Duet. But it just 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!
Who designed the cover?
I'll claim credit for the design, but not the execution. I had just finished reading Louisa Edward's On the Steamy Side and loved her cover of a stack of pans with a men's tie across it. Happily, it gave me the inspiration for my cover (and when I saw her at a conference this summer, I thanked her profusely for sparking that idea). Eternal Press gave me a talented staff member Ally Robertson who made my vision a reality.

Do you have any current projects you are working on, or maybe future projects you are mapping out?
Always! I finished my third book Cruising Toward Love which answers the question can an unexplained breakup and ten years of heartache be cured by the romance – and endless buffets – of a tropical cruise? Right now I am at the beginning of a trilogy based in Chicago. The first book Planning for Love centers around a wedding planner - lots of room for bridezilla horror stories and hijinks!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
As I mentioned earlier, the love scenes are a habitual nail biter for me. The overriding challenge, though, is the conflict. My stories are character driven, and there is nothing I enjoy more than writing pages and pages of witty banter. My super-soft heart hates to inject the necessary conflict - over and over again - so painful to put my beloved characters through the wringer.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Everything I know about writing romance I learned from reading Nora Roberts. Sure, I've readed hundreds of other authors, but I feel as if her novels are the primer for my technique.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Of course! When I went back to proofread the galley, I found several places where I would've deepened the characterization, or added a little more setting. In hindsight, it is easy to spot holes. Deep in the midst of churning out 96,000 words, you can't see the forest for the trees. But overall, I am very pleased with this book, and hope everyone who reads it walks away with a smile on their face.
What book are you reading now?
Brava, Valentine for fun, and Stiff for my book club
How can fans connect with you?
my website,
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
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.
Tell us a little about the road to publication. Was it difficult?
Difficult in the sense that the first agent I queried didn't drop everything and drive to my door with balloons and waving a contract. That was a shock! Because if you don't honestly think your writing is brilliant, you won't have the confidence to go out there and try to sell it to the world. So yes, I have a stack of rejections, but my years as an actor (auditioning endlessly and getting turned down for as many roles as I was cast) gave me the perseverance to keep sending out query letters until I found someone who loved this book as much as I do.
Describe yourself in 5 words.
Logical, sarcastic, witty, loyal, loving.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest that you would like to share with us?
I am enamored of Gail Carriger's new Parasol Protectorate series. Louise Marley wrote an amazing book called Mozart's Blood I encourage everyone to read. And Josh Bazell's Beat the Reaper is laugh out loud funny - for fans of The Sopranos out there.
Would you like to say anything specific to your readers?
THANK YOU!!!! Truly, I just want my books to entertain, to lift your spirits and carry you away from your everyday life. The fact that you would spare a little time from today's overscheduled world to read my words is humbling and wonderful.

Christi-  Act Like We're In Love was definetly entertaining and I will be recommending it to all of my book loving friends.  I can't wait to get my hands on your other books!

Thanks Christi!!

Until Next Time,
Happy Reading!

**I did not get paid for this post.  All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.  I received a free online copy of the book in order to review it properly.**