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Sophomore writes first fantasy novel

Charitha Isanaka | Monday, October 3, 2011

Sophomore Katie Mattie has loved writing for years, but recently took her passion to a new level.

Mattie wrote a young adult fantasy novel that brings different stories from ancient Greek mythology to the context of modern day life. She currently has a literary agent and is working on getting her novel published.

“It is going to be a trilogy,” she said. “I’ve completed the rough draft for the second book, and I am working on the third.”  

Mattie, who is from Ypsilanti, Mich., said she began writing the book in December 2007, when she was just a sophomore in high school.

“When I first started writing, I had the beginning and ending in mind. So [I] just [needed] to fill in the middle,” she said. “I needed to figure out what happened to make the characters get to where they did.”

In Mattie’s novel, a great war occurs between the Olympians and the Titans. The Olympians are banished from Earth because of an ancient curse, and live on Mount Olympus on planet Jupiter. Their arch enemy, the Titans, were imprisoned in the underworld — Pluto — for 3,000 years, but have just escaped back to Earth.

When the Titans arrive on Earth, they try to take over the planet.

Since the Olympians can’t come down to Earth because of the curse, they send their powers to five humans — Melanie who has “super speed” power, Alice who can generate a force field, Jenn who is “super smart,” Izzy who can fly and turn invisible and Colleen who is “super strong.”

The first letters of the five main characters’ names create the acronym, MAGIC.

Members of MAGIC go on a quest through different dimensions of the universe, completing tasks to unleash a secret weapon that will destroy the Titans.

Mattie said the seventh Harry Potter book inspired her to begin writing her own story.

“The seventh Harry Potter book came out in July 2007 and I didn’t want to pick up another book because I loved Harry Potter so much,” she said. “I thought I could entertain myself by writing my own book.”

Mattie said she did not let anyone read her first draft, but after doing some editing, she allowed her father and a few friends to read it.

“There were times when I didn’t feel like I wanted to continue writing the book, but I [had] told 50 friends I was writing a book and I had to finish it,” she said.

Eventually, Mattie said, everything in her story fell into place. She sent out query letters to 50 literary agents, but only four of them showed interest.

“Writers House, a huge literary agency in New York, [sent a] rejection letter, but said I had potential,” Mattie said. “I knew I was close.”

Publishing groups like Little Brown and Company and Bloomsbury USA looked at Mattie’s manuscript, but turned it down.

Mattie said the key to success in the publishing world is not to take rejections personally.

“Persistence is the key when it comes to getting books published,” Mattie said. “I just had to find someone who believed in [the story] as much as I did.”

She said the manuscript is currently ready to be published, and she will continue sending her work out.

Mattie said she has enjoyed the writing and publishing process thus far, despite the letdowns, and will continue working to get her novel published.

“What stuck out to me the most was how fun it was,” she said. “Writing it, I felt like it was in the characters’ hands to unfold the story. I needed to get to know who they were to tell the story the right way.”