July 20, 2015

Interview:Barbara Hartzler, Author of the New Release THE NEXIS SECRET{Excerpt}

Barbara Hartzler is a 2015 debut author writing about angels, dystopian futures, and the occasional devotional. As a former barista and graphic designer, she loves all things sparkly and purple and is always jonesing for a good cup of joe. A born-and-raised Missouri native, she lives in Kansas City with her husband and zany dog, Herbie.
Her YA novel, The Nexis Secret, is inspired by her college experiences and peppered with anecdotes from her trip to New York City as a teen. A die-hard Gilmore Girls fan, she loves to share her thoughts on books, movies, music, and TV. So grab a cup of coffee and peruse her blog at www.barbarahartzler.com. Look for Barbara on the finest social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google+, and YouTube.
As for piddly things like qualifications, Barbara earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Central Bible College with an emphasis on drama and media. She won an NRB/Focus on the Family essay scholarship and wrote and directed a successful one act play. She also semi-finaled in young adult category of ACFW’s Genesis contest. Currently, she’s the vice-president of her local ACFW chapter and an active SCBWI member.

Q: What would you be doing right now if you were not an author?
A: It’s hard to imagine not being an author—it’s been my dream for SO long. But if I wasn’t an author, I think I’d still be trying to find myself. I’d probably be back in graphic design, maybe for indie authors like myself. I’m actually thinking about starting up a side business formatting and designing covers. Because I love that stuff!

Q: 5 years ago: what were you doing?
A: Five years ago I worked a boring job—Transcript Evaluator at an online university. I decided I just HAD to find a way to get published. That’s when I joined my first professional writer’s group and started my publishing journey. Let me tell you, it was SO much harder than I ever imagined. I practically had to relearn writing. Showing versus telling and internal monologue were my biggest bugaboos. But joining that pro writers group was the first stepping stone on my road to becoming an author.

Q: Do you have a certain writing ritual?
A: I have on special trick to kick-start my creativity. I give myself five minutes to freewrite a scene on a separate page. I try to really get in the character’s head and ground myself in the setting. Then I start the timer and Bam! I’m off in another world for five minutes. Usually what comes out of the freewrite ends up being that scene’s opener. 

Q: Is there an author you'd like to meet?
A: My favorite writer of all time is Madeleine L’Engle. I would’ve loved to meet her before she died. Her career of writing fabulously insightful books in whatever genre she wanted is something I strive for. Of course, there’s tons of living authors I’d love to meet. Among the top three are Kristin Billerbeck, Marrissa Meyer, and Tahereh Mafi.

Q: Biggest writing pet peeve?
A: Learning how to write real fiction kinda ruined my reader experience. My biggest pet peeve is when authors tell me what happened off-camera, or what characters are doing, instead of showing me the action and putting me, as a reader, inside the character’s head.
I think it’s because I had the hardest time learning to show versus tell. In fact, I had a quasi-cruel mentor who got fed up with me many times and told me she didn’t have time for crap like that. Such harsh criticism obviously hurt, but it also made me angry enough to prove her wrong. I’m pretty sure I did. And in the end, it helped me find my writing voice.

Q: Do you read other's reviews of your books?
A: As a debut author, I don’t have too many reviews right now. But I’m the kind of person who always strives to improve. I’ve read the few reviews out now, and take the criticism that’s actually constructive. That may not always be the case.
When I submitted portions of my novel to contests, I got surprisingly mixed reviews. Some people LOVED it, while some really hated it. From that experience I’ve learned to take what I can use, and leave the rest. Because my book isn’t for everyone. We all have different tastes. Not everyone likes YA Paranormal Chick Lit Angel novels. But for those who crave that genre, I hope my book delivers.

Q: Fav Color
A: My favorite color is purple, and it’s one of the many things I get really excited about. Any shade (pretty much) with sparkles and all that jazz! Just look at my cover. J

Q: Fictional Character you'd like to spend the day with?
A: It’s gotta be Ashley Wilkes Stockingdale, from Kristin Billerbeck’s Ashley Stockingdale series. She’s zany and out-of-control, but surprisingly insightful. I’d also love to talk poetry and dolphins with Vicky Austin, from my all-time fave Madeleine L’Engle book, A Ring of Endless Light.

Fav food: Coffee and chocolate, in any form. Gotta have it!

Fav song and/or singer: Plumb

Guilty pleasure: Coffee, chocolate, Gilmore Girls

Find me on my website: www.barbarahartzler.com
Twitter: @HartzlerBarbara

There’s a battle raging between light and darkness. Only one girl sees it all.
Montrose Academy seems like any other snooty prep school, until Lucy finds herself seeing strange visions of wraiths, prophets, and angels. Now two rival Romeos are vying for her allegiance, including the Nexis Society president.
When Nexis can’t reel her in they resort to cyber-bullying, vicious threats, even rogue priests. With the help of her new-found guardians, she must find a way to stop the twisted Nexis plan to rule the world at any price.

Excerpt from The Nexis Secret by Barbara Hartzler. Debuting July 20th, 2015 from Splashdown Books: 

A world of white blinded my eyes, but I couldn’t blink. Too much effort. Vague outlines, then silhouettes of color emerged from the whiteness. The ivory outline of a man’s face, his hair glowing like sunshine, his eyes full of light. “It’s going to be okay, Lucy. You’re going to be okay.”
My eyelids sank shut. Too heavy.
The smell of antiseptic singed my nostrils. Faint voices wafted through the background. Mom’s hushed whisper, “I don’t know what to do with her. How can we just send her away after this?”
Dad’s low growl, “We don’t have a lot of options.” His muted baritone faded into the darkness.
My eyes fluttered open.
A hospital room—finally something normal. So white, but not blinding anymore. The same bright-eyed man stared down with golden cat’s eyes, a smile etched into his perfectly-sculpted face.
“Who are you?” I croaked through parched lips.
“Just here to help. You’ve been through a lot.” With every syllable, warmth twinkled in his clear eyes, soothing my aching head.
“What happened?” I propped myself up on my elbows. Then the white world tilted on its axis. My head thudded back to the scratchy pillow.
“Easy there. You don’t remember the accident?” His smile faded, but no frown lines creased his face. His finger hovered over my forehead. With a light touch, like the wings of a butterfly, it grazed my temple.
It all came back to me.
There they were, on the couch. My boyfriend with his arms wrapped around my best friend. His face smushed against hers, lips locked. I winced. How could they? Acid rose in the back of my throat as tears clawed at my eyes. I’d sprinted out of her house, then hopped into Mom’s minivan and sped off. The tires of the family van hadn’t peeled out like I wanted. Not even a squeal, how humiliating. Such a lame getaway car. So I revved the engine and ignored the speedometer. My hands had trembled so hard the steering wheel shook. When I wiped my eyes I veered off the road—straight into a tree. My head hit the dash, and it all went black.
Instinctively I reached for my forehead, brushing my fingers against the bandage over the bumpy scar at my temple. “Ouch.” Back to reality.
“Major ouch.” The man eased my hand down. “Better get some rest now.”
“Good idea.” I tried to smile, but my lids drooped again. His golden light drifted away.
Swoosh. I jerked awake.
A woman in scrubs drew back the curtain. “Doctor, she’s waking up.”
The sunshine man was gone and the day had darkened.
A light lasered into my eyes. A white-coated bald man flicked a flashlight at me, then withdrew it. “Pupils normal. Hello there, Miss McAllen.”
“Where am I? Where’s my family?” The words gurgled from the back of my throat, as if I hadn’t spoken in days.
“They’ll be along shortly.” His beady eyes peered at me behind frameless glasses. He pulled out a pen and scribbled something on his clipboard. “Do you remember what happened?”
“Kind of, there was some kind of accident.” I closed my eyes. The memory popped and crackled into focus like TV static. “I was upset, I swerved. Didn’t see the tree until it was too late. How bad is it?”
The doctor flipped through the pages on the clipboard. Then a low whistle pierced my ears. “You were unconscious for a few days. There’s a severe cut on your head, you lost some blood. Don’t worry, we fixed you right up.”
“What do you mean?” I clutched the side of the bed and pulled myself up. A shockwave pounded through my forehead, then the room wobbled and I slumped back down. “Like brain surgery or something?”
“Nothing like that.” He dropped the clipboard at my feet and pointed to the IV bag full of clear liquid. “Just fluids to rehydrate you, and a transfusion. Head wounds can bleed a lot, especially if left untreated too long.”
I raked my fingers through my long hair. Whew, it was all still there. I rubbed the dark ends against my lips. Soft, but greasy. “I need a shower.”
“Your head injury required stitches. Eleven, to be precise.” He handed the clipboard to the nurse and she disappeared down the hall. “You rest now. Nurse Sherry will check on you later.”
“Okay, doctor.” As he padded to the door, a chill crept through the empty room. I called out after the white coat. “What about that nice guy who was in here earlier? Is he a nurse?”
“I don’t think you’ve had any male nurses in the three days you’ve been at Cedar Creek. Maybe a tech or something.” He waved and dashed out the door.

Whoever the golden stranger was, his smile made me feel better. Somehow, he was the only one who did. Would anything ever be normal again?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me on your pretty, pretty blog! You've been a great blog hostess and I actually enjoyed answering your insightful interview questions. Thanks again for making me and my book look good. And congrats on your latest blog award nom. Well deserved!