I’m alone this week as Kealie’s busy doing other things. Can’t say as I blame her. Let’s hope she’s writing so she can say, look what I did, when she comes back. Grin. Anyway, I’m not really alone as our guest this week is none other than Robert Birch!!! Thanks for being here, Bob. Why don’t we get started? Where are you from?
I grew up in the country, living in the City of Pittsburgh. When I was a boy (1935 to 1950), getting to our home from three directions required walking through woods. A bit of country boy was engrained into me during those early years, and has followed me my entire life. My most recent history includes living in the City of Columbus, Ohio, for many years, but moving to a rural area following my retirement. I know of both city and country living, and this comes in handy when I write.
Ah, another Ohioan. Nice. When and why did you begin writing?
Back in 1958, when I was a 21 year old soldier spending time in a radio hut sitting in the middle of a Korean rice paddy, I would write short sci fi stories to pass the time between the infrequent radio messages. After the passage of over 50 years, I transferred my words from yellowed paper to my computer and finally got these stories into print. The paperback book is appropriately titled Science Fiction from the Radio Hut.
I did not begin writing again until 1996. At the time I was a Ph.D. Psychologist specializing in marital and sex therapy. My first publication was an explicitly illustrated manual on cunnilingus, titled Oral Caress. This was followed by an illustrated self-help guide for premature ejaculators, titled Male Sexual Endurance. Then came a book for women who were not reaching or having difficulty reaching orgasm. Sensual Pathways to Pleasure was followed by my book for older men, titled Sex and the Aging Male. Five additional “professional” books followed.
My first erotic romance novel was not written until I had retired. To date I have eight full length novels and four novellas published, all available in Kindle, ebook and print formats.
Prolific. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
While in clinical practice, I considered my writing of self-help books to be a part of my profession. Once I retired and moved from the hustle bustle of the city, I began writing fiction and poetry. It was then I took on the identity of a writer and poet.
Makes a lot of sense. What inspired you to write your first book?
I would honestly have to say that it was boredom that got me sitting in front of my computer, and with over thirty-five years of experience in the field of sexuality, it seemed natural for me to begin writing about sex. For my very first novel I tapped into my knowledge of human behavior, and I must admit, the 400 plus pages are more erotica than romantic. The hot sex is interwoven into a very complex murder mystery, with a hint of education slipped in. One reviewer asked the question, “Will a reader learning anything from a book written by a sex therapist?” She then answered herself, “Oh, yes, the book is filled with novel advice.”
Do you have a specific writing style?
I write more than I read, and so I wonder how my writing would compare to the work of female writers of erotic romance. Being male, I wonder if I overemphasize the visual qualities of my characters, although I do recognize the importance of all the senses. Tastes and aromas in particular are mentioned frequently. I’m very comfortable writing of the emotions folks experience in sexual and romantic encounters.
When not writing of alien beings, I stay pretty realistic about human anatomy and human sexual abilities. In my stories the reader will not find men with ten inches of equipment who can go for two hours, having six orgasms in the nonstop process. My men are sensitive and sensual, not Alpha Male studs with superhuman sexual stamina. I do not write of S&M activities and there are no gory details in my murder mysteries.
I do rely a lot on dialog and I like including descriptive details to add color. I will not pass up an opportunity to slip in some humor. This was particularly true in my writing of the four books in my sci fi erotic romance novella series. I had much fun describing the bodies and the carnal activities of aliens. A touch of humor will also be found in my new release, I’m At Your Service. Sex should be fun, and at times funny.
Interesting. Love Sci-Fi. How did you come up with the title?
Very early in I’m At Your Service we learn that the main character, Karen, is a young escort. She becomes involved in a number of fetishes and is a participant in several role play encounters. One role she plays is that of a French maid, at the service of an unpredictable client.
Sounds sexy. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Life is not always easy, and if we see something we would like to have, there might be some risk in getting it. A reader might also learn how the G Spot can be stimulated during cunnilingus and might also learn the value of using Ben Wa Balls to tone up the muscles that contract during orgasm. My female characters often take control, get on top and move in a way that will maximize their clitoral stimulation. However, I have tried to avoid having the story read like a sex manual.
It’s rather hard sometimes not to make a sex scene look like a how-to, but then again, who knows? Lots of people might read erotic romance to LEARN how. Grin. How much of the book is realistic?
I think the majority of I’m At Your Service is realistic, for fetishes do exist and there are professionals who promise to satisfy them. As would any cautious sex worker, Karen is aware of her need for birth control and how to protect herself from sexually transmitted disease. Many escorts have a sensitive and caring side. When Karen’s neighbor thanks her for having done something nice, she characterizes herself as a classic character – the whore with a heart of gold.
Wasn’t that Pretty Woman? Grin. What is your favorite character you’ve written (published or not)? Why?
It’s hard to pick just one, for if I want a reader to love my characters, I need to make them loveable. However, I think there’s something special about Margaret, the friendly ghost in my novel titled Margaret’s Diary. Margaret’s playful and clever, but she can also be quite serious. The messages she leaves are cryptic, and the other main characters must decipher Margaret’s clues to unravel the mystery surrounding the murder of her son. The cold case must be solved before this ghost will finally be free to cross over and join her deceased husband and son.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have started an erotic romance novel featuring a female sex therapist. This has been nicely done by several other writers who involve the therapist in a mystery and a hot affair with a detective. The plot surrounding my psychologist will go in a different direction, and she’s going to experience a strong attract to a drummer with long hair pulled back in a ponytail.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Short answer – Getting started!
When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
My God, I look old!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
When I was in Korea (1957 – 58), I was stationed at a very small outpost, ten miles from a large city. There was a small village just down the dirt road, and we soldiers befriended the Korea farmers and their families. I loved the kids and was easily persuaded by one to eat fried grasshoppers. These hardly rival buttered popcorn, but I found them edible and loved the reaction of the other GIs when then saw me popping them into my mouth.
Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?
I will confess to being very emotional and extremely sentimental. I will cry at the sound of a bugler playing Taps, at the passing of the American flag during a parade, and cannot make it through singing the National Anthem without tearing up! I cry listening to songs from the 40’s (my growing up years). I’ll bawl at funerals and weddings. In movies I weep for happy and for sad.
What is your favorite pizza?
My favorite is a thin crust pepperoni, but I will add slices of onion and green peppers to the top. This sure beats fried grasshoppers!
What is one thing scientists should invent?
I would be in the line of first time travelers if scientists could invent a time machine. My father died with I was only six, and I would love to go back and get to know him, man to man. As it is, time travel will only occur in some of my novels.
What stereotype would you label yourself as?
I would probably be best described as a dirty old man! Here I am at 75, writing hot explicit fiction. I should be writing storybooks for my grandchildren!
Well, you gotta do something to stir things up. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Definitely a morning person. My wife and I are in bed by 9 and up by 5. My most productive hours are the morning hours.
Do you like thunderstorms?
I do like thunderstorms. The claps of thunder, bolts of lightning, torrents of rain and driving winds remind me of the power of nature. Living in a rural setting surrounded by trees, there is always the risk of a power outage. This presents an exciting challenge, for my wife and I have three dogs and two cats, plus two birds and two fish tanks. We have prepares in advance, have a camp stove, an abundance of flashlights, and a reserve of human and animal food.
If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?
Being older than my dear wife, I wish for long life so as not to leave her alone for an extended period of time. If she were to go first, I would wish for my own speedy death, knowing it would be accurately said that I died of a broken heart.
Do you want to know more about Bob Birch? Here’s his official bio:
Robert W. Birch, Ph.D. is a retired marital and sex therapist, having practiced this specialty as a psychologist for over 35 years. He had characterized the focus of his teaching and counseling as interpersonal issues of love and intimacy. In his more serious mood, Bob has written self-help books about common sexual concerns, and a clinical manual for sex therapists. In a more playful mood he has authored six books of his bawdy limericks. In a more sensual mood, he has published twelve erotic romance novels and a book of erotic short stories. He is the author of a collection of short sci fi stories and over ten collections of poetry in a variety of formats, both naughty and nice.Bob is a prolific writer with a sense of humor and many styles. He is a resident of rural Ohio, where he writes in the company of his wife, three dogs, two cats and a talkative cockatiel named George.
And here’s a little bit about I’M AT YOUR SERVICE by Robert W. Birch :
Karen is a beautiful 23 year old woman who became an escort after leaving her country home and moving to the city. She chose this line of work because for her sex is not work, it’s fun. She’s a responsive woman and with her creativity she’s able and willing to satisfy many of her clients’ erotic appetites. Although she reminds herself never to become emotionally attracted to a client, she develops strong feelings for a handsome sensual man she knows as Steve. She always schedules him at the end of the day when she needs sexual fulfillment, for he’s an expert at satisfying an expert.
Karen is shocked when she is contacted by a homicide detective and told the man’s name is not Steve and he is thought to have been stabbed and throw off a bridge. She’s even more surprised when Steve, who is very much alive, calls her and identifies himself a Howard, an FBI agent. She’s angry when she learns he had come to her on assignment. There’s something mysterious going on in the city that’s resulting in the destruction of federal property and the deaths of federal employees. Howard warns Karen not to trust anyone and shares his own distrust of the city police. It’s a complicated case in which Howard is involved as a computer geek. Karen somehow becomes a suspect and she suspects she’s being followed. Howard warns her that her phone and email are being monitored and she’s not sure who she can trust. The sexual encounters between Karen and Howard, however, remain sizzling hot, and her feelings for him intensify. He remains noncommittal, however, and one moment she finds reason to believe he loves her but the next she thinks he’s only using her for his sexual gratification.
The reader will discover why the need for secrecy and understand Karen’s need to sneak around to meet with Steve. It occurs to her that as long as the case goes unsolved she’ll never be able to spend quality time with this man. The only way she’ll know his true feelings is to involve herself in the investigation. Against Howard’s advice she puts herself at risk, at one point fearing for her life. Her sights are ultimately set on Steve, but can a sex worker capture the heart of a FBI agent?
Print copies of I'm At Your Service at:
Thanks Robert. I had a great time conducting the interview. And for the readers, you can keep up with Robert on his website, http://www.OralCaress.com