By Erin DuBois ’11—For Frankie Mallis ’09M, writing a novel began as a dream, literally; but after two and a half years of painstaking labor, she is finally ready to send her first young adult fantasy novel to an agent. During the months of drafting and revising, she discovered that writing is more than just a dream—for her it is a necessity.
“I have to write—I can’t not write,” she says. “I feel like I am supposed to tell this story.”
After dreaming one night of a girl walking in the woods, Mallis began wondering about the girl—what was she searching for and who were the other girls that she found buried alive under a tree? The idea for a novel took shape and grew into a series of five books about seven sisters who all have magical powers—except for the youngest. The youngest sister wonders why she is left out, but readers must wait to learn the secret until the first novel of the Rose Lily series is published.
Mallis credits Adjunct Professor of English Gretchen Haertsch’s Writing for Children class with giving her the practical knowledge to pursue publication. In class, Mallis learned how to write a query letter and how to pitch a novel to agents. Haertsch encouraged her to join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, providing Mallis the opportunity to meet agents in person and to discuss her novel with them. By the time the class was over, Mallis felt that she had gained both the courage and the knowledge she needed to move forward.
Mallis recently moved forward into another aspect of her writing life by beginning to teach writing. She taught EN 101.9 Thought and Expression at Arcadia this past fall.
“Because this was my first semester and first class, everything was a challenge—creating my lesson plans, deciding the best way to teach a concept,” Mallis says. “However, I found it extremely rewarding to have an outlet to express and share my passion for writing.”
She enjoyed getting to know her students and was thrilled every time they became excited about writing, whether about assigned writing for class or dreams of writing in the future. Mallis hopes to continue sharing this excitement with students.
“I'd love to soon teach creative writing, focusing on writing for the young adult market, and exploring genre writing like fantasy and romance,” Mallis says. To read more about Mallis’ young adult series, along with her reflections on various aspects of writing, revising, and preparing to submit her novel to agents, check out her blog, called “Frankie Writes.”