Posted on 10/15/2018 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Epiphanies come in all forms.

In author Cara Bartek’s case, that form was the sleep deprivation she endured as a new mom.

While holding a crying baby one night, Bartek found herself imagining all the possibilities that stretched out in front of her daughter and contrasting that potential with what she herself hadn’t achieved.

One such missing accomplishment was writing a book.

As a youngster, Bartek loved to read and write, but like many of us, she drifted away from her childhood passions and followed the path she felt she ought to take.

That path held its own rewards, in many ways. For example, as a trainer/educator at an oil and gas company, she had the opportunity to watch countless people excel after simply having been given a chance and some support.

And helping your husband form an agricultural company that focuses on research and testing, global seed brokerage, consultation, and breeding and genetics might not be easy, but it’s certainly impressive and exciting.

But when you have all that under your belt, why not give writing a shot? You just might succeed.

And Bartek did. Her middle-grade series, Serafina Loves Science!, is ready to launch with two books.

On that happy note, she found some time to chat with us about her journey to publication.

SADYE: How did your background influenced your writing?

CARA: The Serafina Loves Science! series is about science, but it is also about little girls. 

My experience being a professional in technical industries has shown be me the importance of STEM education in preparing professionals. 

You can’t do the job without the critical knowledge, skills, and abilities for the position, but you also can’t perform the job without the love and support of countless people in your past, present, and future. 

What I mean by this is that getting the knowledge is only part of the equation. Empowering people actually unleashes that talent. 

This is what I am trying to do for little girls. I want to unleash their talent and potential in my very own small way. 

SADYE: What in particular inspired you to write the Serafina Loves Science! series?

CARA: My daughter’s school is pretty small and relies upon active parental involvement. 

I am not great at party planning or making those really adorable Pinterest desserts that only Michelangelo himself could actually make, so I worked toward my strengths and volunteered for science-related things. 

I searched the net and stretched my brain for new and exciting ways to introduce what can be dry and boring material.

I did the typical activity-based science activities everyone is familiar with, but I felt like I was in a rut.

A low point was when I made a kindergartner cry by saying the head massager I was using would change my DNA by shocking my brain. I knew I needed a new and exciting way to engage their little minds.  

One morning I had an idea to write a few short stories to embed scientific concepts into a fun storyline. I figured it would allow me to practice my writing skills, as well as create some learning material.

Upon finishing, I realized that the story was kind of cute and pretty fun! I had a few of my friends read it, and they seemed to like it as well.

I began to polish and write more of the little stories about a girl named Serafina. And her story was born!

SADYE: Have your daughters read the books?

CARA: I have two daughters, one that is seven and one that is three. The oldest can read these books, and she does enjoy them.

What she likes the most are the totally corny jokes. I am a master of the corny joke! Anything fart- or booger-related, and she can be found rolling on the floor.

They both are into the girl power vibe as well. They love stories about girls, and the Serafina books are no exception. They enjoy having a female hero, and I enjoy reading those stories to them.

My girls have even learned a thing or two while listening to my stories. My youngest is currently enjoying a novel I am working on about dinosaurs and class elections.

SADYE: What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of writing and publishing?

CARA: The most challenging is certainly the landscape of publishing itself.

This industry is saturated and competitive. The legitimacy of self-publishing has further upped the ante. I was and am intimidated by the sheer amount of books and talented authors.

Having said that, this is a fear I have to face every day. I realize that if I am going to do something I love I can’t give up before I even begin.

That’s where the rewarding part comes in. Writing itself has so many rewards. It engages my brain in a way that is deeply satisfying.

I read this gorgeous Carl Sagan quote about books:

What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

His words spoke to my soul! Being a writer is the highest level of achievement my little book-loving self could ever achieve.

Waking up every morning and putting my own thoughts and words on paper allows me to be a tiny piece of that beautiful history of books.

Writing books allows me to exist with other people in one of the most intimate ways possible, in their minds.

SADYE: What is your favorite area of science?

CARA: I love physics. It’s fascinating to understand the most basic building block of our universe.

I read The Universe in a Nutshell when I was in college and remember my brain cramping.

From the black holes to the superposition of quantum particles, our universe is much more strange and wonderful than we could ever imagine.

Physics is proof that our world and our lives are an actual miracle.

* * *

Learn more about Cara Bartek on her website, where her books can also be purchased; like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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Categories: Author Interview

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