Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Writer Wednesday: Kelsey Barthel

There’s something very fun to me about doing interviews and it’s always that challenge to ask something new or that forces the author to switch gears and dig deeper into what makes them tick. It’d been a while since I did these interviews but it’s high time we get to knowing about new reads to enjoy that aren’t your typical fare. That’s because beyond an indie writer, I’m also a reader and looooove mixing it up, which is why it’s such a treat to have with us Kelsey Barthel, a lovely and enthusiastic Canadian indie author represented by Creative Edge and the author of Beyond the Code.

1. Hi, Kelsey and thanks so much for taking the time to join us for Writer Wednesday. So let’s get straight into it: Who is Kelsey Barthel and why should people keep an eye out for you and your works?

I am a new, eager author with a creative mind that has been marinated in years of reading comics and watching anime and action movies. My work brings fully realized characters, riveting intrigue, and action that grips you by the imagination and doesn’t let go. These are characteristics that my writing has become known for and it’s why people should keep an eye on what I have to offer.

2. Reading the synopsis to Beyond the Code, it seems moral ambiguity and how it impacts what we do and how we react is a big topic. How true is that and what other major topics are woven into your work?

This is very true. The concept of doing the right thing in spite of the obstacles is one of the core beliefs expressed throughout the entire series. It’s the idea that fighting for what’s right often requires sacrifice and is almost never an easy road but what makes a true hero is when they push forward and persevere. Beyond the Code also touches on the moral gray areas of fighting soldiers who are simply following orders and knowing when to choose your battles.

3. I know some pretty amazing Canadian authors and have seen that many of them are extremely proud of where they’re from, but here’s a curve ball, how has being Canadian impacted your writer journey and what you write?

I believe that every person should be judged on a person to person basis. That we should try more to understand and know people for more than just race, religion, gender or upbringing. That what truly makes up a person is not a questionnaire checklist of what you identify as but a million different memories and experiences. I think being a Canadian has been a big part of that thinking and has also helped me in trying to bring forth more fully realized characters in my writing.

4. The title to your novel is Beyond the Code and as humans, there are some who would say we are largely defined by our DNA Code. How much to you think genetics and fate play into our lives?

To some extent DNA plays a big part in establishing the roles we set out in our lives. For example, if someone grows up to be very tall, he or she may go into sports like basketball and that initial talent might push them to build up their skills and pursue a future in it. This is however, not certain. Talent, in the end, will only take you so far and is no substitute for drive and hard work. In Beyond the Code, these power beings are kept under control because they believe they are born to serve but that doesn’t stop them from breaking away from this system when they believe it’s the right thing to do.

5. When it comes to your main character, her duality of Aurora/Luna presents some interesting possibilities for your narrative, but when it comes to the character, what music do you think each of her identities would like.

I think piano music would fit her character very nicely. It’s beautiful and refined like a woman of her status. Also, it’s a flexible music for dramatic changes in tone and pace. It can go from smooth lounge music, to soulful and emotional, to fast paced action. It would be perfect.

6. You are represented by Creative Edge, what can you tell us of that experience and how has it impacted your writer journey?

Mickey has been incredible. A lot of what makes a first book successful is having contacts with people and services that can get the word out. Considering this was my very first book and I am a bit of an introvert, I knew nobody in the industry and had very little idea of what to do. Creative Edge has been getting me into interviews, got me a launch event at Happy Harbour Comics on Feb 11, and has put out a press release. He also has high hopes for what Beyond the Code could become. I would’ve been completely lost with his help.

7. If you had to describe your writing process like a 5 course meal, what would be there to serve?

First course: Bullet point event organization. Basically solidifying what’s all going to happen in the story arch. 

Second Course: Skeleton story. This is where I write the story in mostly short hand descriptions just to get things down. This can also act as a really bad first draft. 

Third Course: The Meat and potatoes. This is the serious writing stage where I concentrate on the style of my writing and really flesh out the story. This can also be considered the first full draft. 

Fourth Course: The rewrites. With the second draft, if time permits, I set down the first draft for a little bit and look over it after enough time has passed so it’s not fresh anymore. That way I will be reading what’s written and not what I remember should be written. It helps catch typos and errors. Another part of this course is the beta reader’s addition. With Beyond the Code, I managed to gain some fantastic beta readers that were instrumental in making the book better. It’s always valuable to get another eye on your work to get that fresh perspective. 

Fifth Course: The Final touches. Like a dessert, this stage can be very sweet and satisfying for an author. It’s when you get to read your book fully and let the story flow over you. You get to see your hard work at its peak and notice minor imperfections along the way that you can change. This stage is also where you get the highest feeling of accomplishment.

8. What random writing quirks do you have that are unique to you?
When writing on Microsoft Word, I used to make a big deal about needing to write in New Times Roman at 12 point font. Also, when I’m thinking of a scene or story arch in my head, it plays like a movie. I think that’s why some people say my writing has a bit of a cinematic feel to it.

9. What inspired you to write Beyond the Code?
A crescent moon pendant and a cool dress I bought. These things sparked the initial idea of Aurora and the raw story blossomed from there. To help fill the cast, I asked some of my friends to pick a superpower and a fighting style and I made characters from those original decisions. It was pretty fun.

10. How can people connect with you to get to know you a bit beyond your code? :D
I have a facebook page for Beyond the Code that you can use to get in touch and you can message me through Inkshares as well. Here are some useful links:

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I’d like to once again give a huge thanks to Kelsey for joining us here. To learn a bit more about Beyond the Code, click the link or read below.



Beyond the Code:
To the common world, Aurora Fallon is merely the pampered daughter of a rich and influential family. But to the secret world of the Order, she is Luna, the powerful and formidable warrior Knight, under the rule of her Master, Cole Iver. Together, they strive to bring down Damon Lexus, a wicked Master who uses her Knights in cowardly and dishonourable ways for her own selfish desires. But when they obtain evidence that may bring Damon Lexus under the judgement of the Orders ruling power, the Hand Council, Damon makes a rash decision and orders the assassination of Cole Iver.

By pure coincidence, Luna catches Damon’s Knight in the act but is too late to save her master and kills the assassin in a moment of grief-stricken rage. Luna knows the one with her Master’s blood on her hands is not the one she killed—she seeks the Master. But after a failed attempt at revenge, Luna is pulled from the depths of her dark anger and put on a better path by the Hunter who was ordered to kill her. Together, they will work to break away from being mere tools for the powerful and become heroes.

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