Candice Harris is living two lives.
In the first, she is the administrative assistant for Campus Planning and Development at the University of South Florida, Lakeland. In the other, she is the author of Prince, the Future King, the first book in a series about the relationship between a boy and his father.
Harris wants to send a positive message to children, especially those whose parents are separated: Their fathers can be loving and caring, too.
“I have a friend who really is just wonderful with his kids,” Harris said. “To observe them when they’re unaware they’re being unobserved is very tender and beautiful.”
Harris, who is 35, unmarried and has no children, gained inspiration from watching the men around her interact with their children.
Balancing two professions can be difficult, Harris said. Even with a busy work life, Harris still finds time to write.
“I usually write between 4 to 6 a.m., because I’m a morning person,” Harris said. “It’s very difficult. I do work full time. I’m not the kind of person that writes from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.”
In addition to writing around her schedule, Harris also spent a great deal of time getting her work to the presses.
“When I presented (Prince) to a mainstream publisher, they said the focus was too narrow to publish,” Harris said.
Harris submitted her book to another publisher before she decided to self-publish.”I don’t like rejection,” Harris said. “Two was more than enough.”
Not that self-publishing was easy. Harris said that the investment cost her $20,000.While Prince is the first book for children that Harris has published, she has written ten others and published a novel.
“I had 500 copies printed up, and I sold them,” Harris said. “I don’t have plans to re-release it any time soon.”
Harris prefers to write for a younger audience because of the freedom it allows her.
“With adults, you’re only going to appeal to a certain market,” Harris said. “With children, it’s more universal.”
At the very least, Harris has learned some valuable lessons about the book trade.
“I’m learning that it is very important to network and get connected,” Harris said. “It’s very difficult.”
The difficulties may soon pay off if interest in the Prince series continues. Harris’ book is available online, and she is negotiating to get it into bookstores.