About Kara Bartley
Kara Bartley has always been interested in animals, so it comes as no surprise that her world is surrounded by them in both her life and imagination. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biology/Earth Science, a post-graduate diploma in Geographic Information Systems and a master’s degree in Vertebrate Paleontology. In the spring of 2002, she began writing her first novel The Siamese Mummywhile on a dig for fossils in Kansas. The book was later released in 2006.
Kara is also the author of The Unearthlings and Call of Adhara. She lives in Niagara Falls with her three Siamese cats—Apollo, Achilles and Agamemnon. Her horse Dapplynn is her biggest companion, and anxiously awaits the day that she too will have a guest appearance in one of her mother’s books.
You can visit Kara at http://karabartley.blogspot.com
From Shovel to Pen
It all began when she found the bones.
There were a lot of them. Ripped apart. With bite marks. Some had even been gnawed.
It was up to her to solve the mystery. Who did this? What had killed them?
It wasn’t easy. The case was cold. Very cold. About 9.1 million years cold.
Enter Kara Bartley, vertebrate paleontologist. That’s a big word for a person who studies fossils of animals with back bones.
The 32-year-old Niagara Falls woman was working on her masters thesis a few years back when she unearthed the bones at a dig site in Kansas. She was working alongside her instructor from the University of Buffalo at a site where paleontologists had found bones once upon a time. It had been abandoned.
But they decided to resurrect it and take another look.
They began by prospecting, walking around looking for telltale signs of fossilized life. They found bone chips. Dug a big hole with shovels. Then discovered the bones.
Rhinoceros bones, a Teleoceras to be exact. Picture a creature that looks like a rhino, but with shorter legs and wider body.
“I was very excited,” Bartley says.
In all, they found two rhinos. One about six months old, the other, a year and a half.
It was quite a discovery. Yet, Bartley still had more questions than answers.
Why did they not find any adults? And what happened to them?
Present-day rhinos have no predators except for man. But these ones were different. They didn’t move so fast and the bite marks seemed to indicate they were prey to some hungry carnivore.
Maybe a sabre-toothed tiger or some wolf-like creature.
It was all so very exciting.
But as this mystery was unravelling in front of her, there was another developing. One that involved a mummified cat. A panther-like creature. And a whole bunch of people who kept on disappearing.
That mystery, Bartley created in her mind.
When she didn’t have a shovel in her hands, she had a pen. In her free time, unbeknownst to pretty much everyone, she was writing her first novel.
The Siamese Mummy, a mystery, involves a mummified cat that arrives at a museum in Wichita, Kan., at the same time a panther-like creature starts preying on townsfolk. It’s a good read even for young readers, she says.
Her second novel was released this summer. The Unearthlings is a scientific action-adventure thriller novel. Paleontologists around the world unearth some strange fossils that mysteriously disappear. The central character, essential to solving the mystery, is what else but a vertebrate paleontologist.
“I like scaring the pants off people,” she says. “I totally unleash in this one.”
Bartley is one of 29 authors who will be featured during this year’s Niagara Reads series.
The region-wide event, organized by the St. Catharines Public Library, is a celebration of reading and literacy. It promotes authors and poets who live in Niagara, come from Niagara or who write about Niagara, says Lilita Stripnieks, library CEO.
The series runs throughout October, Canadian library month, and is free. Every library branch from Fort Erie to Lincoln and Port Colborne to Niagara-on-the-Lake has lined up a series of authors. They will do a reading and be available for questions and book signings.
Authors include fiction and non-fiction writers, local historians, journalists, poets and an illustrator.
“We have a lot of talent here,” Stripnieks says.
“We don’t have to import people. We can promote our own.”
Bartley has put a hold on any more bone digs while she works on developing a career as an author. She works at Starbucks on Lundy’s Lane and in her spare time is writing two more novels, a ghost mystery and a fiction story that’s a diversion from her usually genre. It’s a tale about family members facing trauma in their life. She’s considered returning to school to complete her PhD, but for now is content to weave her education into her books.
“Writing found me when I least expected it,” she says. “I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t write. It’s just in me.”
About The Moon in Habock’s Mirror
THE MOON IN HABOCK’S MIRROR, follows the life of Scarlett Cavanaugh, a golden-hearted but reckless fifteen-year-old. Although born with a hole in her heart, she has learned to live life without limits—in contrast to her twin sister, Gwendolyn. A few weeks before the girls’ sweet sixteenth birthday party, Scarlett is punished after breaking curfew with a school boy. In lieu of a weekend with friends, she is instead banished to the attic in her house, to clean. It is there that Scarlett discovers a mysterious diary, a mirror with secrets, and a pet’s unnatural mother tongue.
A newly-acquainted friend named Habock, leads Scarlett into the future through an unsuspecting portal. In his attempt to show how her life has changed, they accidentally become trapped in another time and their journey soon diverges. With a little guidance from a celestial spirit, each learns the truth about the past as they both encounter new friends and enemies along the way. In the hopes of finding one another, Scarlett and Habock instead become part of a deceptive plot, devised by those who wish to destroy their family lines.
A jumble of truth, deceit, fear and illusion, we watch as Habock and Scarlett take us on their rollercoaster adventure.