A prince with animal magic. A princess who only loved her hound. A fantasy young adult series full of creatures and witchcraft, which played with the fantastical while crafting real relationships. It would take a creative author, an author meant to write, to pull off such a series.
For author Mette Harrison, the writing bug hit early. Her childhood was spent writing novels – and when she wasn’t writing novels, she was writing fanfiction for Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek. As she got older, she queried and started a small stack rejection letters.
Then schoolwork took over her life. For 10 years, she was focused on other goals. Only when she was pregnant with her first child did she dive back into serious writing – but things started off rocky. She wrote short stories while maintaining an adjunct professor position at Brigham Young University.
But after a few years, she couldn’t ignored the siren call any longer and quit to focus on novel writing. She joined a writing group. She set a strict schedule for when she could write. She found the time and made the effort.
“Over the next couple of years, I wrote 20 novels, mostly young adult or middle grade, and each one got better,” said Harrison.
Two years after quitting her job as an adjunct professor, she received a request for a full manuscript. With other agents still considering her, Harrison moved quickly. She called all of the agents with samples of her manuscript – including Barry Goldblatt. Things weren’t quite what Harrison expected. With four young children of her own, and often babysitting for two more, she was always busy.
“I remember talking to [Goldblatt] while locked in the furnace room of my parents’ house,” said Harrison. “He offered me representation, and we’ve been together ever since.”
But being an agented author with a book on the way didn’t flip some sort of magical switch.
“I did not feel like I was now a ‘real’ author,” said Harrison. “No one recognized my name or had ever heard of my book. My financial status improved, but it had nothing to do with my writing.”
A year later, her first novel hit shelves.
Since then, Harrison settled more into the life of a published author. While her neighbors might be unaware of her day job, that’s alright by Harrison. She’s okay with being seen as the crazy neighborhood triathlete instead. Besides, her writing community is where she feels most at home, with authors who face the same highs and lows, the same struggles and successes.
“A community is a great thing for a writer’s heart and soul.”
Want to learn more about Harrison? She talks about the decision to self-publish the last books in her Princess and the Hound series in a special guest article here on YA Interrobang.