I am delighted to be speaking with author Robert W. Birch
today. Thanks for chatting with us today and welcome to FAR!
I am delighted to have this opportunity to introduce myself as an author and to chat a bit with other readers and writers of erotic romance.
To start, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
During my three years in the army I spent eighteen months in Korea, stationed at a small radio outpost of just fourteen men. To survive long nights alone in a radio hut on the back of a truck parked in a rice paddy, I began writing science fiction short stories. This writing spree ended with my tour of duty and after returning to civilian life I went on to receive the bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees in psychology. I began as a child psychologist and quickly became interested in family therapy. That interest soon narrowed to couples therapy and I jumped at the opportunity to become one of the very first Certified Sex Therapists in the United States.
Toward the end of my carrier that specialized in relationship and sex therapy, I began writing self-help books, including one on cunnilingus, one for premature ejaculators, one (with a female coauthor) for women experiencing difficulty reaching orgasm and one on sex and the aging male. It was only after I retired in 1999 and moved to rural Ohio that I began writing erotic fiction.
Tell us about your latest book. What's the title and when will it be released?
Time for Lovers has just been released by Carnal Desires Publishing, the erotic arm of Double Dragon Publishing. This erotic romance novel is about a young man who is teleported through time and distance and discovers he is invisible to those around him. Imagine his delight when he finds himself on a nude beach in Cancun Mexico! He does, however, meet an attractive woman and both are surprised that they can see each other. She is also a traveler through time and distance and together they explore a number of exotic locations, but also become involved in a mystery of international proportions.
The sexual scenes are hot and described in explicit detail and language, but the plot is clearly defined and is strong enough to remain the thread holding the story together.
How has being a Certified Marital & Sex Therapist for 35 years influenced your writing?
I suppose the first thing that pops into my head is my total comfort with the topic of sex and my understanding of the complexity of love and romance. I have talked about intimate details with hundreds of men and woman, of all orientations and persuasions.
Perhaps my training can get in the way at times, for I have found myself wanting to be very believable when it comes to portraying human sexual encounters. You'll not find marathon scenes with nonstop pile-driving action. I also find myself wanting to add a little education, as in Gray Pleasures, my novel involving a couple in their seventies. In this story I work in a strategy for maintaining a lifetime of erotic romance. In most of my novels you will find women who love being on top and being in control, thereby maximizing their clitoral stimulation during the carnal act.
You are a Certified Sexologist. Can you tell us about that?
There is a national organization known as the American College of Sexologist that evaluates the training and experience of professionals involved in the study of human sexuality. When an individual meets their criteria they are awarded the lifetime designation of Certified Sexologist.
What prompted you to start writing erotic romance?
To be perfectly honest, I don't know what got me started other than having a lot of time on my hands. My first novel, Settling the Score, started out as just a collection of make-believe case histories involving some kinky sexual behaviors. Then somehow it began to call out for a plot to tie everyone together, first in an orgy and then in a convoluted murder mystery The book ended up being over 400 pages long and I swore I'd never write another.
I have now published seven erotic romance novels and a 4 book series of erotic sci fi novellas. After sitting in a box for over fifty years, the short sci fi stories I wrote in Korea have also made it into print in a book appropriately titled Science Fiction from the Radio Hut.
What is your favorite part of a book to write?
I am one of those writers who does not start with an outline, so I am never quite sure how the story is going to evolve when I begin writing. I have often said that I allow my characters to tell they own story, and I only write it down. At some point, however, the ending becomes obvious in my mind. In psychology we call this an "Ah ha moment."
Writing out the ending is almost my favorite part, but what I really enjoy is going back to read from the beginning and along the way to correct any discrepancies that are inconsistent with the ending, and to add teasers to challenge the reader to keep reading without predicting the conclusion. This tweaking and fine tuning is my favorite part of writing.
What would you like to accomplish with your writing career?
I am now seventy-five years of age, so I am not expecting to gain national recognition for my writing. The best that I can hope for is to sell all the print copies on my shelves, so my wife is not stuck with them after I die. I do hope to keep writing for as long as I can, because despite the slowing of some functions, my erotic imagination is still going strong.
Almost every author at some point or another suffers from writer's block. Have you ever had that problem? How do you deal with it?
These brain freezes are a very familiar experiences for me, not only when trying to start a new novel, but in the process of writing one. I will often add only two or three sentences and then let things simmer for a couple hours before going back, rereading what I had written and then usually finding the momentum to add more.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
The first thing that pops into my head is a great imagination. Being able to tell a good story is a real art, but there are also the mechanics. For me, a must-have is Internet search ability. I can imagine a story taking place in Paris, but I've never been there. To accurately describe the setting, I need to do a lot of online reading.
I know this well seem pretty basic, but should keep a dictionary and thesaurus handy.
Finally, if in a relationship an understanding and supportive partner is a must.
Has a review or comment ever changed your perspective on your work?
I hurried into self-publishing with my first novel. One reviewer said she loved the hot action and intriguing mystery, but said I got off to a slow start and my writing was sloppy. Ouch! Now I do not dilly dally in the first chapter (might even diddle a bit) and I appreciate the fine tuning of my editor.
Is it hard for you to balance your life as a writer? How do you manage it?
Being retired means I have a lot of free time - my younger wife is still working. I have to take care of three dogs (one is paralyzed from the waist down) and two cats (one is spinal cord injured, but ambulatory). However, they all sleep a lot. My writing fits nicely into my schedule and there is even time to pursue my other passion - writing poetry.
What things do you find yourself doing that you said you'd "never" do?
I've never been one to limit myself with nevers, other than those that are illegal or fattening. But I did say earlier that after my first novel I told myself I would never write another.
What can your fans look forward to in the next twelve months from you?
I am nearing the completion of an erotic romance novel featuring an escort who becomes involved in helping to uncover a band of homegrown terrorists and in the process falls in love with an FBI agent. At Your Service should be out in about six months. Beyond that, my fans can look forward to me continuing to be naughty, in my fiction and in my poetry.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
My novels are available as low cost eBooks here and in the Kindle format on Amazon.com. I sell print copies from my website.
Thank you for taking time to speak with me today Robert
It has been my pleasure. Thank you for having invited me to share something of myself with others.
Interviewed by: Tammy