Local publishes first novel, ‘Billionaires Make Bad Lovers’
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Christi Harris, writing as Andi Bryce, has been a writer for years, but this month she published her first book, “Billionaires Make Bad Lovers.”
The fun piece of women’s fiction follows four best friends and Aspenites through trials and tribulations — from a hurtful divorce to a plethora of legal troubles. The storyline that holds them all together is their struggle to move from materialism and shallow distractions from their problems to true happiness.
Harris sat down with the Post Independent to share the story behind her story.
Post Independent: When did you start writing ‘Billionaires Make Bad Lovers?’
Christi Harris: I started writing this book a few years ago. I was living here, and my dad got sick in Texas. So I moved to Texas to be with my family. While I was there, I missed all of this so much, and I started thinking about some of my nutty friends, and that’s where this book was born.
PI: So are some of the characters based on people in real life?
CH: There’s really not one character that matches on friend; there’s just a conglomeration of everybody.
PI: Did you ever live in Aspen?
CH: I didn’t live there, but I worked there. I couldn’t afford to live there. I lived in Basalt and Carbondale and rode the bus or drove in every day, like everybody else.
PI: I feel like the message in this book is one that the stereotypical Aspenite could probably use. Would you agree?
CH: I wasn’t pointing a finger at anybody. I think all of us find a time in our lives when we’re lost, and [the main character] Lucy is completely lost. So it’s just trying to help Lucy find her way.
PI: How did you come up with all the drama that happens, all the little sub-stories for all the women?
CH: I have some really crazy friends, and so some of it came from memory. And some of it’s just imagination. What could these ladies get into that would still be fun and that they could still come back from?
PI: What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
CH: I had to do a lot of research through law enforcement because I didn’t know what would happen if you did some of that stuff that they do. How serious is that? People really are pretty nice about being interviewed, and it’s always really fun. You always find out more than you thought you would. But I loved the research. This one didn’t have as much as some of the books did, but I had to look into the law enforcement angle and the legal angle. And there’s one guy I’d love to give a shout-out to. Ernie Fyrwald in Aspen, he’s one of the partners of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. A few years ago I sat down with him, and he helped me with some of the places in the book, real estate and all that. He was really helpful. There’s a lot of research that goes into writing anything. But it’s fun. I like that; you get to learn so much.
PI: What else was fun about writing this book?
CH: Here’s the great thing about writing: Sometimes the characters go a different way than you think they will. You have a broad, general idea of how it’s going to go, and then you go, ‘Really? I didn’t see that coming.’
PI: What do you hope people get out of this book, especially locals?
CH: I think on a local side, it’ll be fun for people to see all the places I name. So much of it happens at Main Street Bakery and Caribou Club and Jimmy’s and all of those places, and the hiking and Smuggler Mountain and all that. So I think that will be fun. But I think the idea for the book is we’re all trying to find more harmony and a more peaceful world, but that can still be fun, just like women’s fiction, which can be fun, usually, and you can have a romantic side, but it can also still have a deeper message.
PI: This is your first published book; how did you take it through that publishing process?
CH: With this one, I decided to talk to Aspen Summer Words and ask them if they knew of an editor who could actually edit it. I was trying to get an agent, but it can be really hard to get an agent because you’re nobody, and they get thousands a day asking for them. Aspen Summer Words put me in contact with a woman who was doing some stuff with them but who was really this big-time agent in New York. So she emailed me, and we started a conversation. She agreed to edit it, and she liked it so much that she told me to send it out to who is now my agent. That’s how it all got going.
You just have to be really patient, and you have to really want it because the publishing world moves really slowly, so you just have to roll with it. This book is essentially self-published. My agent has a publishing company, but we didn’t go through a major publisher for this. I can see down the road doing that. There are a lot of advantages to that. But there are a lot of advantages to self-publishing. It’s sort of the way to go now. There’s so much freedom to it; you can get the books out quickly. You still have to be really careful that you’re putting out a good product that’s been edited professionally and has professional cover art so you’re not just slapping up something you wrote over the weekend. But it does offer some freedom.
PI: You have more books coming — how many are done?
CH: Right now we’re getting ready to bring out five. I’m also working on a series that’s really fun; it’s called “Secret Lives.” The next book is called “Crazy: Party of Three,” and it’s about some girls in Texas who poison the husband of one of the girls and then go on to do some other things. It should be available in July. So we’re just bringing them out as we can. It’s really fun.
PI: Any last words?
CH: For anybody who loves to write, just keep doing it. Don’t ever stop.
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