Interview with Author Nikki Barthelmess!

In 2019 our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. Follow us this year as we pick the mind of the 2019 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, twitter chats and more! 

Today on the blog, we have an interview with 2019 debut author Nikki Barthelmess, author of The Quiet You Carry! So without further ado, let's get into it!

About the Author

Nikki Barthelmess is a journalist and author of young adult books. She entered foster care in Nevada at twelve, and spent the next six years living in six different towns. During this time, Nikki found solace in books, her journal, and teachers who encouraged her as a writer. She graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, and has worked as a maid, cashier, newspaper reporter, and event coordinator, among other odd jobs. Nikki lives in Los Angeles with her husband and her pride-and-joy Corgi pup. Her debut novel, THE QUIET YOU CARRY, will be published by Flux Books in Spring 2019.

Author Interview

What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always been a writer, even though I didn’t know it at the time! I started writing my own (not-so-good) songs about being lonely when I was five years old, and I would sing them to my dogs. (I know that sounds really sad, but I’m smiling as I remember it because at least Lucky and Blade were an eager audience!).
I continued writing as a way to deal with my feelings. I wrote poetry (again, it wasn’t great) when my mom was dying of cancer. I wrote in journals throughout my time in foster care. Writing out my feelings helped me cope.
I started writing seriously, if you could call it that, when I was 20 years old. I wrote a very bad attempt at a memoir, and I geared it toward a young adult audience, because YA is what I liked to read at the time (and still do!). After that, I got an idea for a YA science fiction/dystopian story, and I wrote my first novel. Even though that novel never got published, that’s what got me started on fiction writing.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Writing this book forced me to sit with some pretty traumatic memories. As I like to remind people, Victoria’s story isn’t based on mine, but there are similarities. And to get her feelings on the page involved me sitting in darkness: the darkness of a character who hurts Victoria – trying to get inside his head and show the circumstances that bring a family to fall apart. Victoria’s emotions, from feeling abused and abandoned to wanting freedom and to hold her life together, are all feelings I had. At times, it was painful reliving those.

Who is your favorite character and why?
 Christina is probably my favorite character, because she was my favorite to write. I love how fierce she is, how strong and loyal. She’s the friend I wish I had/the friend I aspire to be!

 What was your main inspiration for the story behind this book?
 I grew up in the Nevada foster care system, living in six different towns in the six years I was in foster care. I didn’t know much about foster care and neither did the kids around me at school. At times, people—even the adults who were supposed to help—judged me, like it was my fault I was in foster care. Like I was a “bad kid.” I felt so unwanted and, sometimes, even hopeless.
As I grew up and started volunteering and mentoring foster youth, I realized I wasn’t alone. There were so many of us. And though our experiences varied, we had a lot in common. We were used to people making wrong and often negative assumptions about us, based on poor representation via the news, TV, movies, books, you name it. I wanted to write a story where a foster kid struggles, yes, but also one where she doesn’t give up. One where she refuses to become that negative statistic us foster kids are so often being told we will become. 

In what way are you looking for readers to react to The Quiet You Carry?

Although The Quiet You Carry is a story about a girl who enters foster care, I think it’s so much more than that. It’s about a person who has been treated terribly by the people who were supposed to care for her, yet she finds her true family in those who choose to love and support her, no matter what. I hope readers can have empathy for kids in foster care, but also for people who have been abused in the most heinous ways. I hope readers can walk away feeling that no matter how bad things may get, there’s always hope. The Quiet You Carry is a survivor story, one of struggle, sure, but most importantly, it’s about resilience.
About the Book

Title: The Quiet You Carry
Author: Nikki Barthelmess
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: March 5th, 2019

Summary: Victoria Parker knew her dad's behavior toward her was a little unusual, but she convinced herself everything was fine—until she found herself locked out of the house at 3:00 a.m., surrounded by flashing police lights. Now, dumped into a crowded, chaotic foster home, Victoria has to tiptoe around her domineering foster mother, get through senior year at a new school, and somehow salvage her college dreams . . . all while keeping her past hidden. But some secrets won't stay buried—especially when unwanted memories make Victoria freeze up at random moments and nightmares disrupt her sleep. Even worse, she can't stop worrying about her stepsister Sarah, left behind with her father. All she wants is to move forward, but how do you focus on the future when the past won't leave you alone?

We'd like to thank Nikki Barthelmess for being awesome enough to stop by the blog and let us host this interview! If THE QUIET YOU CARY sounds like something you're interested in, then don't forget to add it to your Goodreads TBR, which you can do by clicking the Goodreads button above! 


  1. Great interview! I'm going to definitely be looking into the author. The Quiet You Carry is absolutely going onto my TBR/wants list.


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