Updated: Oct 8
LaTrobe Barnitz Front Cover Art
LaTrobe Barnitz’s First Fantasy Novel Set for Release
Foxburg’s Library Director, LaTrobe Barnitz, has published his first fantasy novel. After a few years of writing the novel Barnitz, contacted several publishers and was chosen by Private Dragon, a small publisher based in Salt Lake City, Utah that specializes in fantasy and science fiction.
The book is now ready to be published with a release date scheduled for October 31st, which is earlier than expected.
Barnitz tells us his book, “Soul Crystals: ARC of the Amuli”, takes place in a modern setting that has a different history than our world. A few decades before the start of the story, magic crystals were discovered that gave certain people superpowers. Those superhumans then had the power and influence to rule the world behind the scenes. The book picks up with a teenager named Paul Engel who inadvertently becomes a type of superhuman called an Amulus and joins up with a shady organization called A.R.C. Over the course of the book, Paul adjusts to his new life, trains his new powers, and undertakes difficult missions.
Barnitz says he really wanted to focus on giving Paul a realistic mental state that reflects his unnerving and strange situation in the story, so there are many psychological aspects to the story. He also wanted his story to be realistic as possible as he thought about what might happen if people with superpowers suddenly emerged in modern society.
Fantasy and science fiction have always been LaTrobe’s favorite genres. When he was 3 or 4, his dad started showing him the Star Wars movies, and his mom started reading him the Harry Potter books. So, his interest in fantasy started from a young age and never ended. He has written other genres before, but he loves the creativity you can put into fantasy and science fiction. He said, “I think that when you don’t have to be realistic or write situations that follow real-world physics, then you break down any creative obstacles. It is like giving someone a peek inside your mind or dreams”.
LaTrobe has many people to thank. He starts with his mother, he said, “My mom is the one who really got me interested in reading, and my dad has always supported me in all my creative pursuits. I had a lot of great teachers along the way. There was Miss Hynes from St. Stephen School who drilled me with the rules of the English language. Mrs. Eckert and Mr. Slider at Venango Catholic really made me see my potential as a writer and always gave me interesting things to write about. An then there is Dr. Phil Terman at Clarion University helped my writing mature while I took one of his creative writing classes.”
He continued, “Another group of people I want to thank are the members of the Writers’ Forge writers’ group at the Oil City Library. They always gave me excellent and constructive feedback on my writing. They were actually the first people to read the rough drafts of my novel. I especially want to thank group members Lena Wheeler, Jessica Palmer, Dennis McMasters, and Paul Adomites”.
Barnitz will be doing a few things at Foxburg Free Library to promote his book and the library itself. On October 16th at 7:30 PM, he will be doing a reading via a live-stream on the library’s Facebook page. Anyone can watch. After the book comes out, he will be selling a limited number of signed copies in the library as a fund-raiser.
On October 31 (the day of the book launch), Barnitz is going to be doing another live-stream reading on the Foxburg Free Library Facebook page. He will be talking about the book and also reading two of his spookier short stories: “The Half-Remembered Cave” and “Small Screen Terrors.” Those two short stories are also going to be published in Private Dragon’s Goblin Fest 2020 short story compilation at a later date.
The book will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and privatedragon.com web sites and apps. His publisher is still undecided on the retail price.