Local author releases fictional haliburton thriller

Local author Michael Barnes decided to venture into a new medium to publish his latest novel, The Haliburton ISIS Blow Down, as an e-book on Amazon.  The 84-year old author has published more than 40 books since 1973, most recently with the now closed General Store Publishing House (GSPH) in Renfrew. But for his latest story – a thriller about the terrorist organization ISIS within Haliburton County – he decided to publish online, releasing a version Sept. 18.  This is the first time the Order of Canada author has self-published. Barnes said this story breaks out of his usual fare in more ways than one.  “This is the first adult fiction I’ve done,” Barnes said. “I started with a premise that Haliburton is very big and very quiet and there are lots of places where the hand of man has never trogged. In other words, it would aid someone that wanted to be lost in the crowd.”  Barnes said he did not want to give too much away about the story, which stars an ex-British special air service member. But he added the locality of the story is important.  “Thrillers are a very popular genre. The fact that it is set in Haliburton, and over towards Bancroft as well, would interest people from this area,” he said.”  The book is the first Barnes has had published since 2014, the longest gap between his published books since 1985. He said this is a result of the end of GSPH, which closed in January 2015.  Tim Gordon originally founded GSPH and was publisher at the time of the closure. He said when the parent company of GSPH was bought, new ownership started shutting down the publishing house. Authors were given the option to take and buy back the stock of books at a reduced price, or else have them recycled.  Gordon said seeing the company end that way was “completely devastating.”  He added Barnes 2014 book, Scoundrels and Rogues – The Canadian Connection, was one of the last the publishing house put out.  “That was the nature of the beast,” Gordon said. “I published a lot of books with Michael Barnes. We did really well with most of his books.”  “It’s very sad,” Barnes said. “So that set me back, and romancing a publisher takes time.”  Since then, Barnes said he has been doing other writing with magazines and newspapers. When it came time to write his newest story, he said it took 12 months.  Publishing the story online after that was a simpler option, Barnes said.  “When you don’t have a publisher all of a sudden, you’re out in the cold,” Barnes said. “This is relatively easy, to get it onto an e-publisher.”  The Kindle version of the book is available through search on Amazon.ca for $5.20.

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