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Michelle Harrison Michelle Harrison

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Ten Years Later

Posted on February 13, 2018, tagged as Anniversary, getting published, ten years

On February 13th 2008, I got on a train from Oxford and met my agent in London. We had a meeting with Simon and Schuster, one of three publishers who wanted to meet with me after reading my first manuscript, The 13 Treasures. After almost four years of working on this story and with numerous rejections under my belt, I still couldn’t quite believe I had an agent, let alone meetings with actual publishers who wanted to talk about my writing – despite this being the very thing I’d dreamed of for so long.

I could almost hear my nerves rattling. Julia (my agent) and I had already met with one publisher earlier in the week, and the meeting hadn’t gone as well as I’d hoped. They’d liked my story, but wanted a lot of changes; more than I was prepared to make for fear of losing the essence of the story. This second meeting was vastly different. They asked me what I was going to write next. A sequel, I suggested, written from the perspective of another character. They were keen. Upon leaving, they told my agent they would be making an offer to buy two books from me.

I was going to be a published author.

Ten years . . . it’s a long time! Yet in some ways it feels so recent. Much has happened within that decade. The high of being a published author was the first of many: holding my book for the first time; seeing it in an actual book shop; winning the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize; being translated into sixteen languages, as well as selling rights in the USA.

Since then, there have been another five novels (six counting the one that’s written and next to be published)! I gave up my job in publishing to write full time, and later became a parent. And of course, with life’s highs must come the lows. My wonderful mum – who was my biggest fan – died last year from cancer, followed only four months later by her partner, whom I thought of as my dad (also from cancer). I’m thankful they got to see me achieve my dream of making writing my career, and of how proud they were. Equally, I’m devastated that they will never get to read any more of my books or, more importantly, get to see my son grow up.

So, what a decade it’s been: both cruel and kind as is the tricksy, unpredictable way of life. If you are reading this, thank you for sharing it with me. I’m excited about what the future holds and all the stories yet to come – and I promise I’ll try to write faster!

4 comments on “Ten Years Later”

  • Lynne Arrol says:

    Thanks for sharing your lovely post which is very encouraging and, at the same time, extremely moving.

    I love your writing style and was rooting for you to succeed, thrilled that you have succeeded to do spectacularly well, delighted that your lovely Mum and her partner were there to cheer you on and saddened that they were both so ill and tragically died.

    I am sure that they will be watching over you and your son cheering you both on, reading your future stories, there for you through the ups and downs of life and delighting in your successes.

    I loved your 10 years on post to Julia Churchill which came up on my email stream today. Your writing style made me feel like I know you and the image and story behind it hooked me and made me want to read your books. I have a 4 year old granddaughter and a 6 year old grandson and I am sure they will love your books when they are old enough.

    Love and hugs,

    Lynne xx

    • Lynne Arrol says:

      Hi again Michelle,

      Sorry for typos in my previous message. I have a new mobile and my fingers are a bit big for the buttons so sometimes hit the wrong keys. I should have taken the time to check the spelling but had to rush off when I was needed to help measure up for fitting a false ceiling and didn’t want to lose my post to you. You don’t need to put either of my messages on your website. I just wanted to reach out to you to tell you that I am very happy for your great success and very sorry about the loss of those you love and am thinking of you.

    • mm Michelle says:

      Dear Lynne,
      Thanks so much for your kind words, it’s lovely to hear that you connected with this post and found it encouraging. Blogs can sometimes feel like writing into the void – you’re never sure whether anyone is reading them or not! I saw a tweet by Shannon Hale yesterday along similar lines which made me realise (along with your message) that people are out there, taking in these words. Thank you.

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