Barnaby becomes young adult author

Publishes new fantasy book, ‘Witches’ Quarters’

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Laura Barnaby, an attorney in Fort Dodge, flips through “Witches’ Quarters,” a young adult fiction book she recently wrote. The book is in the fantasy genre.

A local attorney recently wrote her first novel, a young adult book inspired by her love of fantasy novels.

Laura Barnaby, who is a partner with the Johnson, Bonzer and Barnaby law firm, of Fort Dodge, called her debut novel “Witches’ Quarters.”

Barnaby, who wrote the book under the name Laura M. Snider, which is her husband’s last name, was inspired to write after her niece started reading the “Harry Potter” series.

“I love ‘Harry Potter,’ and I had already read all of the books twice,” Barnaby said. “Her and her mom were reading it together, and so I was reading it too, so whenever I saw them, then we could talk about it.”

The mutual love of fantasy books that Barnaby and her niece shared made her realize that she could write her own fantasy book.

“Witches’ Quarters” is about four siblings who find an enchanted coin bank and a bag of quarters.

To distract one of their siblings from what Barnaby called “family strife,” the kids tell the youngest one to put some quarters in the bank.

“She does, and the first quarter she draws is the North Dakota quarter, which has the bison on the back and the plateau,” Barnaby said. “When she drops the quarter in the coin bank, the four siblings are taken to this other world that’s on the back of the quarter. Every quarter they use takes them to the scene on the back of it.”

The siblings then end up in this fantasy world and find out there’s a war going on between the witches and the natives.

“They have to decide whose side they want to be on,” Barnaby said. “Whose protection to seek, who to trust, who not to trust.”

But she added that both the characters and readers will soon discover that not every side is completely good or completely bad.

Barnaby originally wrote the book for her niece, and said if she never got it published, she was planning on giving it to her niece as a Christmas gift.

But then she visited a writers’ conference in Kansas City, where writers had the opportunity to pitch their manuscripts to literary agents.

She ended up finding Stephanie Hansen, with Metamorphosis Literary Agency, and sent the manuscript to her.

“A couple weeks later, she emailed me and said she wanted to represent me,” Barnaby said, adding that she ended up signing with Hansen.

She eventually signed a contract with Clear Fork Publishing, and “Witches’ Quarters” was published on Oct. 9.

Since its publication, Barnaby said she’s been promoting the book. Her husband, Christopher Snider, a journalism professor at Drake University in Des Moines, has recorded four podcasts about her journey to get published.

The first one is about the book itself, the second features an interview with Barnaby and her agent, while the third one features Barnaby’s publisher and the fourth her editor.

The podcasts can be found on her website, laurasniderstories.com, where people can also find more information about Barnaby’s book.

She said that fantasy is her favorite book genre, and especially young adult fantasy.

“I just love fantasy books, and I love (young adult) books,” she said. “Even though I’m not technically in that age group that should be targeted at. That’s mostly what I read.”

“Witches’ Quarters” can be purchased at Barnes and Noble, IndieBound and on Amazon.

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