“It was very fun to write Roza because she makes her own rules and she has certain boundaries and in other ways she doesn’t have any boundaries at all, she’s very intimidating. I started to write this book was really to explore my "shadow parts" those are the parts of ourselves we repress, usually when we’re young. And for women and girls a lot of those parts have to do with anger, aggression, sexuality…and when we do experience those feelings it can bring a lot of shame. So I wanted to really focus on a character who feels no shame.” ―Julia Bartz, Interview, She Wore Black Podcast
What booksellers are saying about The Writing Retreat
- You know how sometimes you think ,”If someone would just make me do this, I’d really knock it out and do great”… well be careful what you wish for! This twisty novel of mind games and winter weather will leave you gasping. Loved that it was as much about the craft of writing as it is an unsettling thriller.
―Susan Williams from M. Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, SC | Buy from M. Judson, booksellers
- OK, I thought this was going to be a particular type of thriller with a predictable albeit revamped plot- dear lord was I incorrect. Halfway through, I’m reading a passage about drug induced sex with a demon with kaleidoscopic eyes. Heck yes! More of this! More of these terrifying, queer, uncomfortable books. I am so delighted and surprised. And this is a debut? Isn’t it kind of hard to write a successful mystery? Let alone, an expose on queer shame, toxic relationships, and social nuances? Dang, Julia. When this book comes out, it’s going straight to my staff picks.
―Aimee Keeble from Main Street Books (NC) in Davidson, NC | Buy from Main Street Books
- The Writing Retreat explores what happens when Alex, a horror writer experiencing a wretched bout of writer’s block finds themself at their idol’s estate for an amazing chance of finally being published. Oh yeah, did I mention her ex-best friend and source of said writer’s block is also in the house? A wildly imaginative psychological thriller that explores the question: who do our stories and memories really belong to?
―Eden Hakimzadeh from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL | Buy from Oxford Exchange
- Nightmares, sleepwalking, poisons, drugs, dark basements, ghosts, secret passageways, hauntings, and dangers await talented young women as they step into the mansion Blackbriar for a month-long writing retreat. Roza Vallo, a successful feminist horror writer, is the owner of this magnificent mansion and promises that in the month one of these participants could win a million dollars and fame and fortune for writing the best story. What would these women do to become wealthy and realize their dream of being a famous writer? Beginning with the mysterious necklaces, these women become discombobulated as they dwell in Blackbriar and face terrors and secrets and dangers in the spooky, horrifying situation. No reader will forget this thriller or easily put down this shocking story until the last page.
―Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA | Buy from Bookmiser
About Julia Bartz
Julia Bartz is a Brooklyn-based writer and practicing therapist. Her fiction writing has appeared in The South Dakota Review, InDigest Magazine, and more. The Writing Retreat is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @JuliaBartz and Instagram at @JuliaBartz.