Christy Barritt is a successful author with over fifty books to her name and she feels that she is still growing as an author with each new book that she publishes. Inspired by fans who often think that actors are the same as the characters they play on TV, Barritt decided to create Joey Darling. As our Author of the Day, Barrit tells us all about Darling's character and how she is nothing like her super detective alter ego, she also reveals where she likes to go for inspiration and how she used to play guitar in coffee houses.
Please give us a short introduction to what Ready to Fumble is about.
Ready to Fumble introduces the world to Joey Darling. Joey played an incredibly intelligent, tough detective for five seasons on Relentless, a hit TV show. When her life falls apart, she flees to the Outer Banks of NC to find her father and maybe find herself in the process. But everyone keeps mistaking her for her super detective alter ego and asking her to help with investigations. The problem is that, in real life, she’s a terrible detective: clumsy and forgetful with horrible instincts. She must use her one talent in order to help people: she must utilize her acting skills.
What inspired you to start a series that features the “worst detective ever”?
The idea of writing about Joey Darling has been brewing in my mind for several years. I began thinking about it when I heard an interview with a couple of actors who said fans often thought they were, in real life, the characters they played on TV. One actor who played a vampire had a fan come up to him and try to bite his neck, for example. I began thinking how fun that idea would be for an actress who played a TV detective, especially if the actress in real life was the exact opposite of her TV character. Joey Darling was born.
You have more than fifty books published already. How, would you say have you evolved as an author since you published your very first book?
I think I grow a little with every book. My life experiences change. My outlook evolves. In some ways, I have to get more creative. After fifty books, I don’t want to recycle ideas but stay fresh. I view writing like being a craftsman: the more you do it, the more you create, the better you get. The more skills you hone and develop. I’ve learned to trust my gut and to go where my stories lead instead of trying to direct them in the direction I have in mind.
Tell us more about Joey Darling. Who is she and what makes her so special?
She started out a normal, small-town girl who vowed she wouldn’t let fame change her. But then she found that fame did change her and made her lose touch with some of the most important things in her life—like her family and her hometown values. She’s clumsy and uncoordinated and struggling to know what to do next with her life. She’s unsure if she can live the down-to-earth life she wants in Hollywood. She’s been burned by love and is unsure if she can trust again. She has to figure out what’s important to her and figure out who she is away from the limelight. Sometimes an ordinary life is extraordinary within itself.
Your books are often quirky and fun – Ready to Fumble is no exception. Why do you find it important to include humor in your stories?
Humor is such a fun element to add—although, sometimes it’s tricky because what’s funny to you isn’t funny to someone else. But I like reading books that make me laugh. There’s so much hard stuff in life that it’s nice to escape from the heart wrenching stuff sometimes. Besides, every good book, in my opinion, as at least some adventure, suspense, romance, and humor.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I play the guitar and sing. I used to be the girl who sat in the corner of coffee houses and played songs I wrote while everyone sipped their java.
Readers love your characters and find them very likeable. What is your secret to creating likeable characters?
They can’t be perfect. They need flaws and to be relatable. They need to be able to acknowledge their weaknesses. They must mess up, but their intentions are usually honorable and good.
What type of books do you enjoy reading for your own entertainment?
Humorous mysteries. Who would have guessed?
Where do you like to go for inspiration?
I have a home on Hatteras Island in North Carolina, and I love going there. Something about the salt water and slower pace helps me feel like I can breathe. It’s a good feeling.
What are you working on right now?
I’m just finishing up the fifth book in another series (Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries). I’m then going to work on the 13th book in my popular Squeaky Clean series, and then I’ll come back to the Worst Detective Ever and write Join the Flub, followed by Blooper Freak and Flaw-Abiding Citizen.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?