Another one in the books for Bartley

By JOHN LAW, NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW

 

When she was getting her masters degree in paleontology, a professor once told Kara Bartley to “tone down” her thesis. It wasn’t dry enough.

“He said it was way too colourful,” she recalls.

Good advice for her paleontology career. Bad for her writing career.

So instead of stiff but factual stuff you’d find in a textbook, she chose the world of boogey men and bumps in the night. And while she’s still waiting for the big pay day, she doesn’t regret it one bit.

“I know there’s a market out there for this,” says Bartley, whose releases her fourth book, The Moon in Habock’s Mirror, April 30 at the Niagara Falls Public Library on Victoria Avenue.

“What it comes down to is, you have to believe in yourself. Not everybody’s going to like it, and that’s fine.”

Going the self-publishing route means Bartley isn’t faced with stacks of rejection letters from publishers while her manuscripts sit in a desk. The stories are out there now, making fans in small doses. She’s especially gratified speaking to classrooms, watching students hang on her every word.

Using the Kitchener firm Volumes, Bartley can publish her own work for under $800, printing only as many copies as she needs. It’s also a tool to help land an agent, a requirement in order to land with a name publisher.

“It’s all part of the ball game,” she says. “It’s the path I’ve got to take.”

In the meantime, Bartley is filling her private book shelf with tales of mummified creatures, prehistoric monsters, and gothic ghost stories. But her fourth book steps away from the scares in favour of fantasy. Habock’s Mirror follows a rebellious teenage girl born with a heart condition. One day her parents punish her by making her clean the attic, where she discovers some surprising documents and a portal allowing her to see what the future has in store.

“Things go very wrong in the future, of course.”

The story is her most youth-oriented, with different types of trauma.

“I really loved writing fantasy, and as I’m coming out of this novel I realize that’s where I fit in.”

Saturday’s launch is a duel celebration with her friend Tammy Dunlavey, who illustrated the cover. An MS sufferer, she’ll have artwork for sale at the show.

The two friends met in university, where they were known as the “paleo twins.”

Though neither pursued paleontology full-time, they’ve both used it in their writing and artwork over the years.

Bartley is already halfway finished her next book, a sequel to her first novel, The Siamese Mummy.

The book launch runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The book sells for $15.

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