Debut YA Author

Barbara Hartzler

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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 Look for Barbara on the finest social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google+, & 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 the young adult category of ACFW’s Genesis contest. Currently, she’s the vice-president of her local ACFW chapter.

Barbara Hartzler Flying Hearts GIFMy Writer’s Journey

Like it says above, I’m a born-and-raised Missouri native. You think that’d make me a farm girl, but I’m not that cool. Born in St. Joseph, raised in Kansas City, schooled in Springfield, I’m just a suburbanite stuck in the heartland. No, I don’t pronounce it Missoura. Yeah right! There’s an “i” on the end people.

At 17 I thought I’d prove myself a whiz kid and graduate high school a year early. I wound up at Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri—a smaller school in a way smaller town than KC. They called me a city girl because I’d point at cows along the highway and call ’em cute. Then I really went against the grain, choosing the least Bible-intensive major available, Communications.

I logged two years at the school newspaper, then got talked into running for junior class treasurer. I met a ton of great people who I still consider lifelong buds. I even scored my first major writing award—second place in the National Religious Broadcaster’s scholarship contest sponsored by Focus on the Family. My prize winning essay was entitled “Cinematic Theology and The Matrix.” That means I got to research The Matrix and get paid for it. Sweet!

They say steer clear of creative writing classes, but I say find a great teacher like Ms. Taylor. :) Her class at CBC totally jump-started my first novel. Junior year I was forced to take another writing class, scriptwriting class. Lucky me, right? That spring I turned it into a successful one act play called Nothing to Do With You. The title, and the play, actually worked—and counted toward my Comm degree.

Senior year they figured they had to put me in Who’s Who Among College Students, just in case my writing went anywhere. Graduating Cum Laude with a B.A. in  Church Communication Arts, emphasizing in Drama and Media, hasn’t helped me land a fancy job like I thought. I’ve done everything from graphic design to working in the registrar’s office. Okay, so that’s about all I’ve done, unless you count barista in college.

Once I finally decided to take publishing seriously, I joined ACFW and started the grueling task of learning to write fiction. It felt like relearning everything I’d ever been taught in school about writing. But boy did I ever find the key to writing great fiction—character voice. Eventually, I semi-finaled in the YA category of ACFW’s prestigious Genesis contest. That garnered me notice from several agents and editors, but nothing panned out.

After going through one small pub that didn’t work out, I decided to bring my debut novel to a fabulous friend—the editor of the New Zealand-based Splashdown Books. Now that I’ve made my mark with one editor it’s time to get cracking on her list of demands. (Just kidding). Then, if my first release goes well, I can start in on the next three novels in my series. Guess that means my other ideas for a dystopian sister story, a girl-on-the-run thriller, and a colorful science fiction/fantasy adventure, will have to wait. Who says I don’t have range?

Fun Facts

♥ Favorite color: Purple

♥ Favorite award: Voted “Laughs-a-lot” by my favorite manager. :)

♥ My dog Herbie was named after the Nebraska Cornhusker mascot Herbie Husker, not Herbie “The Love Bug” movies.

♥ I’ve got a Jane Austen action figure sitting on my desk. C’mon, give her a lil wave. You know you want to.

♥ Favorite Movie: While You Were Sleeping. A healthy + hilarious does of NORMAL! And some awesome character writing portrayed by enormously talented actors. The perfect combo, seriously.

Next book ideas:

♥ Dystopian sister story with imagery from a steely Bible verse

♥ Suspense/Thriller developed from a foggy day

♥ Sci-fi/Fantasy taken from a color-filled dream

My personal BPH Awards for best fiction:

Barbara Hartzler Books

All-time Favorite Author: Madeleine L’Engle for A Ring of Endless Light

—Runners-up: Jane Austen, Kristin Billerbeck, & Jenny B. Jones.

Best Dystopian Book:
Tahereh Mafi for her poetic, character-driven Ignite Me
Runners Up: Suzanne Collins for Catching Fire, Marissa Meyer for Cinder, Veronica Roth for Divergent

Best Dystopian Lite Series:
Kiera Cass for her princess-in-waiting/caste system saga, The Selection series

Best College-Girl Series:
Robin Jones Gunn for her zany & spiritually insightful Katie Weldon series

Best Teen Writer Series:
Stephanie Morrill for her realistically flawed Ellie Sweet series

Best Final Book of a Chick-Lit Trilogy:
Tracey Bateman for her quirky That’s Not Exactly Amore

Best Multiple Personality Book:
Susan May Warren for 5+ POV masterpiece Finding Stephanie

Best Boy Book:
Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves for their sci-fi page turner Interworld

Zaniest Character:
Kristin Billerbeck’s hilarious and true-to-life Ashley Stockingdale series

Best Theological Allegory:
William P. Young for The Shack

Best Free Book:
Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson

Best Book to Read as a Child or an Adult:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

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