Teri Harman is the author of The Moonlight Trilogy, a witch fantasy series, and the upcoming magic realism romance, A Thousand Sleepless Nights.
For many years, she’s written about books for ksl.com, reviewed books for The Deseret News, and contributed book segments to Utah’s number one lifestyle show, “Studio 5 with Brooke Walker.”
Her fiction won first place in the “Romance Through the Ages Contest” in 2016 and Kirkus Reviews called her work “unusual and absorbing.” She has taught classes and workshops for writers all over Utah.
Teri is also a certified yoga instructor (RYT-500) and has a degree in exercise and sport science from the University of Utah. She lives in Utah with her husband and three children.
My journey as a writer
I tried to stop writing
In the chilly, gray days of early 2017, I decided I’d had enough of trying to be a novelist. I had three published books that no longer had a publisher, two new books no one seemed to want, and time stacking up in front of me with no clear path of what to do with it.
Where were the blissful hours of creation in my gorgeous library/office, the New York Times reviews, the hefty royalty checks?
After almost ten years of the battle, I saw only one option: quit, move on. So I signed up for a stained glass art class. Then I cleared everything off my desk. Computer—gone. Binders of novel notes—gone. Idea/inspiration cards—pulled down and shoved in the closet.
All of it, put away, hidden
Then I bought all this stained glass equipment. If I couldn’t write then I’d make art some other way. That made sense. I took 500 hours of yoga instructor training. If I couldn’t write, I could breathe and bend and teach. Perfect sense.
But the words. Oh, the words. I couldn’t box them up despite my best efforts. My journal soon filled with all these little essays and poems. Words everywhere. Even some about that empty desk.
An Empty Desk
I took everything off my desk
because I don’t know what to do.
In this place of creation, I’ve
lost my art.
So my desk is empty.
It waits for my decision.
Every time I went in my office, I felt something dark, unsettling. Something not right. Even my sweet husband said, looking at my empty desk, "I don't like this. This feels wrong."
I sent in one more submission
So quietly, without telling my desk or my shelf of books about writing or my novelist heart, I sent in one more submission. I put my computer back on my desk, but didn’t open any new documents. I pretended not to wait.
And in the meantime I started applying to go back to school.
The day I was gonna email the school counselor about old credits, I got the email I really wanted. I got a yes from Cedar Fort Publishing about a gorgeous little book about grief and love and everyday magic.
A chance to start again
That book is A Thousand Sleepless Nights and it’s not only my fourth book, it’s a fresh-cut-summer-grass kind of chance to start again. To do better, to reign in those expectations, to take a deep breath, to laugh at the crazy publishing world, and to write and write and write. Because what’s the world without some good old clean romance infused with magic realism?
I know my world isn’t complete without it and neither is my desk, which is now a delicious mess, again.
- Teri Harman