Hard to write in beautiful Laguna, but write she does

Canadian young adult fiction writer Lisi Harrison has been a beachside local since 2007.

April 14, 2011|By Joanna Clay,
  • Author Lisi Harrison has written a series of popular teen books, "The Clique," "Alphas" and "Monster High." She came to Laguna after working at MTV in New York.
Author Lisi Harrison has written a series of popular teen… (Don Leach, Coastline…)

Growing up in Toronto, Lisi Harrison could care less about labels.

Although her classmates made sure that Ralph Lauren graced every tee, she enjoyed a shopping spree at Kmart.

She wasn't a rich bully or hiding a monster beneath her designer duds. No, those are her characters.

The best-selling author of the "Alphas," "The Clique" and "Monster High" series didn't truly consider the competition that surrounded her until she reached her 20s while working at MTV in New York City.

Her newest installment of the "Monster High" series, "The Ghoul Next Door," came out this month.

Working her way up from the bottom, the Laguna Beach resident was head writer and eventually senior director of development for the network.

"MTV did remind me of middle school at the time," she said. "It just reminded me of everybody wanting to be cool, everybody wanting to fit in and wanting to be popular. Everyone was friends but there was this underlying air of competition."


Harrison spent her days developing TV shows, such as "Room Raiders." She even cast "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County," but left before the show aired.

After leaving work at 9 p.m., Harrison would stay up until 3 in the morning typing away her first novel, "The Clique."

"I didn't think it would be successful, but I really wanted to try my hardest," Harrison said.

She was told when she signed her contract that she would receive a bonus if she sold more than 100,000 copies. The odds weren't in her favor, the publisher told her.

Her "Clique" series has sold more than 9 million copies.

In 2004, Harrison left her job at MTV to focus full time on writing.

With her other two series — "Alphas" and "Monster High" — Harrison has finished 27 books and has two in the works.

In 2007, Harrison moved to Laguna Beach with her husband, Kevin Harrison, and her son Luke, now 5. A year after moving, she had her daughter, Jesse.

A big change from the Big Apple, Harrison said it isn't always easy to stick to her schedule and feel the angst that fuels her writing.

"It's harder to write here. It's too nice," she said with a laugh. "There's no reason to be pissed off."

"The Clique" tells the story of upper-class girls who are at the top of the food chain at their New York private middle school. "Alphas" is a spin-off of the series, showing readers what would happen if all the "it" girls attended the same super-exclusive boarding school.

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