Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Interview with Kara Bartley

Marie: Are any of the characters in your books based off people you know?
~Yes, many of them actually. With my first novel, ‘The Siamese Mummy’ most of the characters were based on my family and friends. The names were changed but I kept (in most cases) the first letter of my family’s names. For my other three novels including ‘Habock’ I continued to do that, while inserting parts of myself as well. Many of my characteristics and behavioural traits can be found within each female lead. Doing that gave me a closer vantage point—as if I were writing the books from the inside out.

Marie: Do you listen to music as you write? Why or why not?
~Usually I don’t. I find that I get too distracted by music. To me, music is another form of communication—words in the form of notes. And I love music, I’m a pianist. But I find that when I try to listen to music while writing—it’s like someone trying to read to me and I can’t do both. Sadly, I’m not very good at multi-tasking. And yet I can listen to music while doing everything else hmm...I haven’t figured that one out yet....

Marie: What do you do when you get a 'mind block'?
~My ‘blocks’ come in days rather than at certain points of writing. When I sit down to write, I can’t stop. I just keep on going. I have to physically close my computer to stop myself. My ‘blocks’ come to me when I wake up. There are certain days when I open my eyes to the morning and say ‘I just can’t write today’. For whatever reason, those days do happen. Maybe it’s my mind and body telling one another that they need a break. But eventually that passes and I return to my writing.

Marie: Time and money aside, what would you rather be doing?
~If I weren’t writing, I’d be knee deep in dirt and rock. I’d be happily digging up my next fossil. Paleontology is in my blood—that lust for the past will never leave me. It’s what inspired me to write and what keeps me grounded—literally!

Marie: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you
Bring with you, and why?

 ~If I were stranded on an island, hopefully it would be off of the coast Costa Rica. Then I could bring my two favourite novels ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘The Lost World’ and use them as guides to finding dinosaurs and paleo-worlds. Thirdly, I would bring as much Coca Cola as possible to make my desertion thoroughly enjoyable.

Marie: What is your favorite genre to write, and why?

~ Up until now, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing mystery and thriller as with my first three novels. But with ‘The Moon In Habock’s Mirror’, that changed somewhat. I fell in love with fantasy. There was a creative freedom that came with it. Talking animals, awakening the cosmos—there was something very exhilarating about it. I guess I’m torn now, I love mystery but I also adore fantasy. I’ll stick with those and see where they take me.  

Marie: Could you tell us three random things about yourself?

 ~Hmmm...I guess I’d have to say that— 1. My favourite colour is orange. 2. I have a smiling clown fish named Herbit—he’s not real but adorable just the same. My three Siamese cats won’t allow me to keep any edible pets in the house. He’s made of paper mache and sits in a glass fish bowl, looking happy all the time.  3. I have a brown belt in karate.

Marie: How long have you been writing?

~I used to write little books when I was little, mostly about family pets and whatnot. I remember collaborating with friends in elementary school to write a magazine we called ‘The Hairy Canary’. We had big plans, boy did we ever. We were going to bribe everyone in the school to buy one. But alas, our plans did not work.  Creative writing then disappeared from my life when I went off to school in pursuit of science. The funny thing is, that when I was digging fossils in Kansas in 2002, writing found me again. And definitely when I least expected it. And I’m glad that it did. It seems that my life has always been this strange mix of science and creativity. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

Marie: In an average week, how much time do you spend working on your

~I’d say about three or four days. I try to get in as much writing as possible. I work full time elsewhere so sometimes that’s difficult.  I usually write at night—I’m definitely a night owl. And sometimes those nights turn into days and that’s when I have to stop myself and take a break.

Marie: What is your favorite part about being an author?

~As simple as that question might seem—it’s a hard one to answer for me. There are so many facets to writing and being a Libra and all, I have a hard time choosing just one. I think I might have to say—self-expression. I love so many things about writing but using myself as a portal to the written page would probably be what I like the most. The words are born through my mind, driven through my body and translated through my fingers. The result is a part of me donated to others, in the hopes they might appreciate it.

Marie: Can you tell us anything about a current project you are working on?

~I am currently working on the sequel to my first novel ‘The Siamese Mummy’, and I’m having a lot of fun working on it.

Marie: What is the first thing you do when you get a new story idea?
~I just start writing before I forget it. Sometimes it’s at the beginning and sometimes it’s further in. But as long as I write it down somewhere so that my brain doesn’t accuse my fingers of losing it!

 Marie: How do you decide if an idea you have for a story is worth keeping?

 ~I try to keep all the ideas that I have. If one doesn’t work out a certain way, then I just pluck it out and rewire it to work in another scenario. Usually I can find a home for any idea that I have, I just have to change the neighbourhood sometimes.

Marie: What obstacles would you warn beginning authors of?
~I would warn them of taking too much on. Don’t overwhelm yourself with everything that has to be done. It’ll all get done in time, your time and no one else’s.  

Marie: Which scenes did you find the most fun to write?
 ~For me it would have to be any of the scenes that included dialogue. I love writing dialogue. It could be adventure scenes or emotional scenes, just any part that lets the characters speak out and embrace their external voice.

Marie: What question have I not asked that I should, and what is the answer?
~Maybe, what is your advice to other authors? And my answer to that would be: Do not be afraid to fail. To me, success and failure go hand in hand—each one helps the other improve. They each lend a helping hand to each other.

No comments: