Dreams are often filled with goals that might seem unattainable. For many being a published author is one of those “maybe someday” dreams. But for Charlotte Meert being a published author is a dream she attained only a few months after graduating from high school.
Meert, a 2013 St. Mary’s High School graduate, published her first novel, The Cause, during the summer before starting her freshman year of college. She began writing the story while in high school after wondering what would happen if spies came to the United States posing as high school exchange students. From there the characters sprang to life for her.
“The plot follows a team of young Russian spies who pretend to be exchange students in the US in order to fulfill a mysterious mission,” Meert said. “Of course, everything disintegrates rather quickly and their world and their beliefs are challenged as never before.”
The rough draft took about seven months to write. Meert credits her high school English teacher, Mrs. Bills, with pushing her in her writing and encouraging her along the way. For many writers the writing is the easy part, while getting accepted by publisher is the hard part. But for Meert the next step came easily. One day she was bored and looking around the Internet when she decided to submit the manuscript to a random publisher.
“I submitted my manuscript online and waited, never thinking that they would take me,” she said. “I was ecstatic when they said they wanted me! I have to admit, being published feels rather wonderful! It was always my dream, and to have that come true so quickly was a truly amazing experience. It’s rather scary at the same time, since I’m always nervous about people not liking my work, but it’s part of the thrill too.”
Once she had a publisher, the editing began. It included three months of editing with a professional and another six months of editing and formatting the book with the publisher. The book was published in the late summer under the name C.M. Meert, and now Meert waits to see how the book will be received and that it sells.
“I just really want to give people a book they will love,” Meert said. “It’s a bit presumptuous, I know, but I want my characters to be known and loved because through them, I feel known and loved too.”
In August, Meert enrolled at Carroll College in Montana, majoring in psychology. While that might seem a strange major for a published author, Meert said her psychology classes help her write realistic characters, especially villains. While college life is busy, Meert is working on a new book; a new story line that she’s really enjoying.
Her advice to budding writers is to have passion about your ideas because that passion comes through in the words used.
“If you love what you’re writing, if you’re so head over heels for your characters that you think about them constantly, and every moment away from your writing is torture, then I guarantee that no matter what you write, it will be wonderful,” she said. “If you don’t like what you’re writing, no one else will either. If you’re bored, readers will be too. You really, really have to love it. And if you love it, you can be published, simple as that.”
By Amy G. Partain, Communications Associate
St. Mary's High School
Below, Charlotte Meert, center, held a few book signing events in the Springs for her book The Cause before she started college in August.