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Friday Spotlight with Julia Rachel Barret

January 27, 2012

In the FleshToday we have the wonderful Julia Barrett in the Spotlight.  For those of you who do not yet follow Julia on Twitter or on her blog, this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about her. She is fabulous and fun and I guaranty you are in for a treat! After her interview, Julia will offer up an exerpt from her upcoming novel, In The Flesh.

Julia was born and raised in Iowa.  She’s a proud Iowa Hawkeyes fan.  She majored in Creative Writing and Ethnic Studies at the University of Iowa.  When she discovered writing didn’t pay, she returned to college to become a Registered Nurse. Over the intervening years, Julia has continued to write nonfiction and freelance articles for Medical and Nursing journals.  Five years ago she turned her sights on romance.

Julia is married to the love of her life.  She and her husband have three children, a great German shepherd dog, two cats and two birds.  They live on the West Coast.
Julia, thanks so much for stepping under the spotlight with me today. Let’s get started!

Where are you from?

I grew up a fourth generation Iowan.  The hardest thing I ever did was move to the West Coast

How do you name your characters?

Naming characters… the names just come to me as the character is forming in my brain.  I almost feel as if my characters choose their own names.

Nice! I wish mine would do that.  So tell us all about your latest news!

I decided to slow down in 2011 and give myself an opportunity to consider all my options.  I’d released 14 books in two years and I needed a break.  Now I’m back to work on the sequel to my first self-published book, a paranormal romance, Incorporeal.  In the Flesh should be ready to go within a month or two.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, maybe five or six.  I began with poetry, then short stories, then nonfiction and articles and finally romantic fiction.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve never ‘not’ considered myself a writer.  Whether I was published or not didn’t matter.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book was a nonfiction book based upon my real life experiences as a hospice nurse.  My second book, Anytime Darlin’, was inspired by a fantasy, but my first published book, Captured, was inspired by a dream.  I dreamed the story from start to finish and simply wrote it down.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My husband says I write for the philosophic romance fan.  I love to include history, religion and esoteric philosophy in my stories – without being maudlin or preachy or New Agey.  To be honest, I tend to change things up from book to book.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

Well, what I’d like my readers to grasp is that while my characters may need help under certain circumstances, they are not needy.  I will always write a female character who is competent.  My characters get together because they want to be together.  I always ask myself, would this character be all right if things did not work out – and the answer is always, yes.

Where do you find inspiration?

I have so many stories in my head it would take me twenty lifetimes to get them out.  Some of my work comes directly from my own experiences, like my book, Come Back to Me, which is autobiographical.

What books and/or authors have most influenced you?

In terms of fiction in general, many authors have influenced me.  When it comes to romantic fiction, I’d say Linda Howard has been my inspiration.

What book are you reading now?

Right now I’m reading three books – More Than Human, by Theodore Sturgeon, a work of science fiction, World Without End, by Sean Russell, a fantasy series, and my very first Lori Foster book, When You Dare.

Are there any new authors that have captured your interest?

Over the past year, I’ve become a huge Lawrence Block fan.  He writes literary fiction and thrillers.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Nope.  I’ve always had a vivid imagination.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Attending.  I have awful ADD.  I find everything distracting.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I don’t actually have favorite authors, but I do have four favorite books that I read once a year , and have since I was fourteen – Dune, by Frank Herbert, Shogun, by James Clavell, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, and Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Nope.  I’ve lived all over the United States – left home when I was seventeen and spent a year abroad.  I’ve traveled to every state in the Union.

Who designed the covers?

Various cover artists have designed my covers.  The covers for my self-published works were designed by Lex Valentine at Winterheart Design.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m an awful one to give advice.  I guess if I have one thing to say, it’s write well.  Do the work.  Don’t upload or submit just any old thing because you think you might make a quick buck or because you think you’ll miss out.  The publishing world is in flux; nevertheless, take pride in what you put out there.
Of every work you have written, which is your favourite and why?
Captured, my science fiction romance, is my very favorite book.   The writing flowed, the characters are real to me, and I love science fiction.  Plus I left the story open-ended so I can revisit that world any time.

What is your favourite guilty pleasure?

Cream in my coffee – very guilty!

Disney World or Eiffel Tower?

Eiffel Tower.  If Disneyland had been the choice then definitely Disneyland!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your fans?

All I can say is…Thanks!

What was one of your New Year’s resolutions? Will you keep it?

Oh gosh, I didn’t make one.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

In The Flesh

Out of the blue, Syd’s skin began to prickle and the hair on her arms rose, standing straight up. Static electricity filled the cab of her vehicle, and for a moment, she was terrified there might be a short in her electrical system. An unearthly flash of bright blue light momentarily blinded her. It was followed almost instantaneously by a huge crash of thunder.

Good lord, what the hell is that? Don’t brake; don’t brake; you’ll fishtail.

Uttering a silent prayer, fighting panic, Syd slid her foot from the accelerator and let the truck slow on its own. She felt like someone had fired off an old fashioned camera flash bulb mere inches from her eyes. When her vision began to clear, she was relieved to see she hadn’t run through a fence. With a light foot, Syd pressed on the brake, bringing the truck to a complete stop.

“Whoa Nelly.” Syd leaned back and tried to catch her breath. The static electricity had vanished.

I’ve heard of lightning and thunder in a blizzard, but I’ve never, ever, experienced it. Geez, I don’t think I ever want to again.

Her heart pounded in her chest and she wondered if it was such a good idea to try to make it home after all. Syd stared out the driver’s window. The snow was really coming down now. Home was a lot closer than town, and if she had to she could walk.

Walk?  In this whiteout? Now that’s just about the stupidest idea you’ve had in…

Movement on the road ahead caught Syd’s eye, big movement, and her skin prickled once more. Electrical sparks danced along her arms, lighting up the inside of the cab.

With a shriek, Syd threw the truck into park and flung open the door, diving out toward a snow bank, terrified she’d caught fire somehow. As she flew through the air, just before her hands were buried in the cold mound of snow, she saw something. Illuminated by her headlights, smack dab in the middle of the road, stood a giant man made of pure gold.

Holy fucking shit.

Open mouthed, Syd stared at the figure for the space of a few short breaths.

At last she closed her eyes, as wet, frozen, and terrified, she groped to her knees. The icy wind tore at her exposed face, making her cringe. Heart beating like a snare drum in her chest, she knew she had to turn and look back at the road, to find out if she actually saw what she thought she saw.

No way. It’s got to be some sort of hallucination brought on by sleep deprivation, blowing snow and the lightning, because I know grizzly bears do not wake up in the middle of winter and put on gold armor and there’s no way  a twelve foot tall man is standing in the road.

Stuck in snow as thick as quicksand and as slippery as cooking oil, Syd struggled to get her feet beneath her. With trepidation, she turned her head to look back at the road. Her headlights reflected off thick white flakes. Snow washed over the cab of her truck in waves. There was no golden man in sight; not even the shadow of a fencepost marred the unbroken expanse of white.

“Idiot.” Syd shook herself, trying to brush the wet snow off her legs with cold fingers. “Now your hands are frozen and your jeans are soaked. Get back in the truck, you big dummy.”

She reached for the open door, pulled herself inside, and slid behind the wheel. Shaking with cold, Syd leaned over to grab the handle. As she tugged the door closed, a shadowy figure emerged from the darkness. Her body gave an instinctive, protective jerk and she hurried to lock the doors, not really caring who or what it was as long as she remained safe and separate inside the cab of the truck. It wasn’t until the figure stopped right in front of her truck that Syd realized what she was staring at.

A naked man stood in the glow of her headlights. His body glistened with moisture from melting snow. A faint halo of steam surrounded him, rising from his damp skin, as though he’d been struck by the lightning. His eyes gleamed golden in the bright lights. He appeared disoriented. It was obvious to Syd that he was in shock.

“Oh my god.”


Julia, that was fabulous. Thank you so much for stopping by and stepping under the Friday Spotlight.

Folks, you can find Julia online at her blog:
Twitter:  @JuliaRBarrett


7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2012 1:19 pm

    All I want to know (since you mentioned that Julia will offer up an “expert” from IN THE FLESH), is whether the big, hot guy is said expert, and do I get dibs on the offering since I’m leaving the first comment? *bats eyelashes*

    Okay, sorry! You know I had to comment on such a terrific slip of the keyboard. Julia, this is a marvelous spotlight. I can’t wait to check out more of your work!

  2. January 27, 2012 2:08 pm

    Great interview and excerpt. It’s nice to learn a little more about you, Julia. And, big hot guy, uh, yeah, I’ll take some of that, too.

  3. January 27, 2012 5:06 pm

    I’ll send the expert your way, Raine! Too funny. I did something similar yesterday on Twitter. You want an expert too, Kelly? You got it! Thanks, ladies.

  4. January 27, 2012 5:18 pm

    Yummmm. Send ‘im over!

  5. January 28, 2012 1:15 am

    Great excerpt Julia! I can’t wait to read the final product. And I love your annual book list. I recently re-read both Shogun and Little Women. Neither of them ever get old. I haven’t read Dune or Jayne Eyre since I was in college. I will have to pick them up again!

  6. January 28, 2012 4:09 pm

    Hi Anny, hi Casey – thanks for stopping by. Yes, none of those books ever get old.

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