Karen Harris Tully (Photo by Lisa Shell)

Sunlight fills a quaint little coffee shop, Elixir. Karen Harris Tully sits in a chair by the window sipping her tea; writing. It’s here on the docks alongside the Willapa River that the award-winning author opens her journal, jots down a few thoughts and crosses off a couple of tasks on her to-do list.

Karen, 42, who moved to Raymond in 2005, creates intricate stories with strong female protagonists for the young adult science-fiction reader.

She authored the trilogy, “The Faarian Chronicles,” which follows protagonist, Sunny Price, 15, as she is forced to move from Earth to her mother’s home planet. The first book in the series, “Exile,” published in 2015, took Karen more than 10 years to write.

Her book’s release party happened around the same time as the birth of her second child. But all that time writing paid off.  Two years later, that first book earned a finalist spot – one of the top five in the nation – from the 2017 Kindle Book Awards! This summer Karen and her “smart, handsome and supportive husband” Mike stayed busy with their kids’ sports, baseball, tumbling and soccer, and still made time for gardening, berry picking and keeping the kids happy with chocolate chip cookies. And Karen has also continued a prolific writing career, including a recent stint as a regular columnist at The Daily World in Aberdeen, reflecting on the effects of the coronavirus on day-to-day life. 

In her young adult fiction, Karen creates fantastical foreign worlds with humans and aliens, and brings it all together in coming-of-age adventures. She says she uses her bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Western Washington University daily “to inform my world-building.”

Karen’s fire to write for the young adult sci-fi reader was ignited after having some strange fantastical dreams, which she began crafting into adventure tales. She says her influences include “Harry Potter,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Trixie Belden” and “The Hunger Games,” as well as her love for science-fiction cinema and television sci-fi series. “I remember watching ‘ET’ in the theater. My mom and I watched ‘Star Trek’ when I was little, and I watched ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’ ” she says, “I loved it; I watched every one of them.” When they read her books, her readers travel faster than light speed to distant stars.

“Imagine being based on Jupiter, at the dawn of the next age,” Karen says, “when humans are about to venture off to a new galaxy to explore and settle a new planet like Alpha Centaur, which is a real star system made up of three stars, Proxima Centauri, Beta Centauri, and Alpha Centauri AB.”

Writing Partners

Along the way, Karen was introduced by a mutual friend, to fellow authors J.M. Phillippe, and Bethany Maines. They all went to the same college, but Karen didn’t meet them until after college. They collaborate, share writing, and critique each other’s work. The trio communicates a lot by text and email. But once Covid-19 hit, they began to meet every two weeks via Zoom. They came up with a goal, to write three books that fit into a trilogy. “Soldier, Princess, Rebel, Spy” is Karen’s contribution to “Galactic Dreams Volume 1: A Sci-Fairy Tale Anthology” published by Blue Zephyr Press.

The three writers continued meeting together to produce “Galactic Dreams Volume 2.” Karen authored “Little Nebula” for that anthology. Currently, they are working on the next series of Galactic Dreams. “I enjoyed it, she says, “We all wanted to write different fairy tales with the timeline working together. The universe is the same. Each book has different characters and different stories, but they link up.”

And as a group, they went through all of the stories from “Hans Christian Anderson Tales” and “The Grimm Brothers” for the Volume 2 books. Each author chose a fairy tale to base their book from in the series. Karen picked “The Little Mermaid.” “I enjoyed writing about the ocean, but the ocean in space. The main character in my book is a nebula. I’ve enjoyed using my imagination and figuring out how to make my story work in space.”


Hidden Dragons

In addition to good news for her current readers that “Galactic Dreams Volume 3” is due out before the end of the year, Karen shares good news for dragon fans. She’s currently creating tales with all types of dragons.

“There are dragon myths in nearly every culture,” she says, “flying feathered dragons, lake dragons, with healing powers, two-legged dragons from all over the world. Humans tell dragon myths all over the world,” she says, “but what do the dragons think of that?” She hopes to explore that question as she continues her writing career, which keeps her busy full time as she creates, edits and markets her stories.

Karen’s books can be purchased from Amazon, as well as at Grays Harbor Farmers Market in Hoquiam, Alder & Co. in Raymond, Pacific County Museum in South Bend, and North Cove Treasures, Treats & Trinkets. To follow her journey as a writer, check out her website at karenharristully.com; follow her on Facebook as Karen Harris Tully, or @KHarrisTully on Twitter and khtully on Instagram.