Karen Harrington

Karen Harrington - Editor

Dallas, TX, USA

Freelance writer and editor, Karen Harrington is the award-winning author of SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY, MAYDAY and more.

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I'm the author of several books for middle-grade and young adult readers, some of which have been translated into five languages. My passion for collaboration led me to become a mentor editor at Arizona State University's "Your Novel Year" writing program for two years, where I helped young writers shape and deepen their stories. In 2020, I was a contest judge for the 2021 Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult Book prize.

Most recently, my short story work has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (Boo Radley College Prep) and Pulp Modern (Fame At the Mini-Mart).

One of the things I'm most proud of in my professional career is that I've been called a natural, easy-to-work with editor. I LOVE the collaborative process and how each revision gets the writer closer to closing the gap between "Hey, I have a wonderful idea!" to "Here is a compelling, complete story!" I would love to help more writers move their stories forward.

I live, write and enjoy life in Texas with my family and quirky rescue dog, Sam. A constant companion in my writing room, Sam has heard me read ALL my drafts out loud. He remains a gentle critic, only running off in the presence of too many adverbs.

I hope we'll connect on a project, but until then, use the time-proven BIC method of writing. (Butt In Chair).

Some favorite authors include:

Harper Lee
Gary D. Schmidt
Elizabeth Strout
Louis Sachar
Judy Blume
Kate DiCamillo
Anne Lamott
Jerry Spinelli
Stephen King
Linda Urban
E. Lockhart
A. S. King
Elmore Leonard
Elizabeth Berg

English (US)
Coming of Age
Middle Grade
Short Story
Young Adult


  • Parents Choice Award
  • Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book (2016)
  • Texas Lone Star Reading List
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Nominee
  • Georgia Children's Book Nominee
  • Air & Space Magazine Best Children's Book of 2016

Work experience


Little, Brown
January, 2012 – Present (almost 10 years)

My first middle-grade book, SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY, began as a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project. I feel that NaNoWriMo is a huge learning tool that helps writers fearlessly get the idea onto the page.

COURAGE FOR BEGINNERS and MAYDAY were published soon after, all through Little Brown Books for Young Readers.


Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
January, 2021 – Present (11 months)

Short stories are a unique experience - to read and to write. Long ago, one of my first short stories received an Honorable Mention from the Lorian Hemingway Short Story competition. Recently, I've started writing short stories again and was thrilled to have my story, Boo Radley College Prep, accepted by EQMM in 2020. This story is a condensation of one of my unpublished novels.


ASU's "Your Novel Year" Writing Program
January, 2016 – January, 2018 (about 2 years)

As a mentor and editor, I had the honor of working with many young writers as they honed and developed their young-adult novels. Each writer was paired with a mentor for a 6.5 week period for the purpose of getting an editorial read from a writing professional. I helped writers edit and polish, prepare knock-out query letters and set a course to navigate the publishing world.

Portfolio (5 selected works)

Sure Signs of Crazy

Harrington, Karen


Harrington, Karen

Courage for Beginners

Harrington, Karen


Harrington, Karen

Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, January-February 2021

Steve Hockensmith, Sheila Kohler, Susan Dunlap

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