If watching reality wedding TV shows is your guilty pleasure, you will love the new contemporary romance series written by this week’s guest, Christi Barth. I read the first in her Aisle Bound trilogy, Planning for Love, a couple of weeks ago and was completely hooked by her Chicago-based wedding planners. Christi is here today giving away a copy of Planning for Love to one lucky reader.
Hi – I’m so happy to be here, hooking people on candy-coated romance!
1. Yum! Nice description. So, you used to be a wedding planner yourself. What’s the most incredible thing you’ve seen at a wedding, and what’s one thing you would caution all couples to avoid?
I never thought I would see – in real life – a wedding crasher. But at the very last wedding I ever coordinated, two guests who had specifically been omitted from the guest list (and were quite aware of the fact, due to family ugliness with divorce, etc.) tried to muscle their way into the reception. And it was my job to turn them away. Not easy, and not pretty.
2. Wow. That must’ve been tough for you and the happy couple. I love the role that Chicago plays in your novel. It’s such a cool city and provides the perfect backdrop for a stylish wedding planner. Is it a city you’ve spent a lot of time in?
I lived in Chicago for 4 years when I was a working musical theatre actress – great city to visit/expensive, nightmarish traffic city to live in, we found. But it is packed full of beautiful places and fun things to do. When I began writing the trilogy, I made a chart of everyplace cool I wanted to feature, and had to divvy them up equally between books (although I think I packed the most into book 1). Everyone should put it on their must-visit list!
3. You have a Master’s degree in vocal performance, so I’m guessing that music is a special passion of yours. Is there any music you have to listen to when you write, or does it distract you too much? Do you have different songs for different kinds of scenes?
Music can be distracting. I’m pulled to pay attention to it/sing along more than I am to write. However, it is a NECESSITY for writing sex scenes – I always play Pink Martini and Kurt Elling. When I wrote my 3rd book, Cruising Toward Love, I did play a little reggae to get me in the mood for the island scenes.
4. The plot of Planning for Love revolves around a wedding planner who unknowingly becomes part of a trashy reality TV show about weddings and then gets her own (much classier) wedding program. Tell us honestly: how many hours of “research” did you put in watching reality TV? And what are your favorite wedding-related TV shows?
Why’d you put research in quotation marks? It was 100% valid – just like eating many, many truffles to research my chocolatier for book 2 is valid. I started watching A Wedding Story on TLC years ago. Couldn’t get enough of it. They are much glitzier now. I abhor the shows where consultants talk badly about their clients to the camera. Very bad form. The current show 4 Weddings is fun, because you get to see so many different styles in the space of ½ an hour.
5. When’s book two in the Aisle Bound trilogy coming out, and whose story is it?
Book 2, A Fine Romance, comes out in March. It is the story of Sam the baker (who becomes a chocolatier) and Mira, whom Ivy hires to run her romance store. Yes, there is an over-the-top sexy scene with melted chocolate! But on December 3, look for me in the anthology Romancing the Holiday, along with Jaci Burton & HelenKay Dimon.
Here’s the blurb for my story, Ask Her At Christmas:
Caitlin McIntyre’s heart stops when her best friend drops to one knee and proposes. Kyle Lockhart never once hinted over the years that he has any idea she’s in love with him. Not wanting to jeopardize their friendship, she’s never let it slip. Good thing, too, since it turns out he’s only practicing—he’s about to propose to someone else.
A business merger might not be the most romantic reason to propose to a woman he barely knows, but Kyle’s determined to win the respect of the dying father who’s never seen him as quite good enough. Kyle’s always depended on Caitlin’s friendship, while trying to ignore the physical response she arouses. So he turns to her when it comes time to craft his proposal, not realizing his decision will affect their relationship, forever.
This Christmas, Kyle and Caitlin get one last chance to admit their feelings for each other, and find a mutual happily ever after, before he commits his life to another woman and Caitlin leaves town and him…for good.
6. That sounds fantastic! Okay, speed-dating-style question: What’s one thing you would love to do that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
Give an acceptance speech. When I got home from seeing Hello, Dolly for the first time, I ran upstairs and practiced my Tony Award speech in the mirror. I was 11. I’d love the chance to give a revamped version of that speech some day for one of my books!
Where can we find you on the web?
Christi’s giving away one digital copy of Planning for Love to someone who leaves a comment here. I’ll randomly choose a winner on Tuesday October 2. Good luck!
Planning for Love by Christi Barth
Hopeless romantic Ivy Rhodes
anti-Cupid Bennett Westcott
request the pleasure of your company for
their disaster of a courtship
Wedding planner Ivy Rhodes is the best in the business, and she’s not about to let a personal problem stop her from getting ahead. So when she’s asked to star in the reality TV show Planning for Love, it doesn’t matter that the show’s videographer happens to be a recent—and heartbreaking—one-night stand.
Bennett Westcott admits he didn’t handle his encounter with Ivy very well. But looking at her beautiful smile—and great body—through a camera lens every day? He can’t be faulted for suggesting they have some no-strings fun.
The more time they spend together, the more Ben realizes Ivy isn’t the wedding-crazed bridezilla he’d imagined. But if he doesn’t trust himself to make a relationship last, how can he convince Ivy to give him another chance?