There’s a New Author in Town!
2 September 2019
You guys, I have to tell you about my new favorite author! It’s my 12-year-old daughter, Mary Ann Jensen! She has written & illustrated her own book called The Lost Mermaid. It is available now in my Etsy store or at The Printed Garden in Sandy, Utah.
About the Book
The Lost Mermaid is the story of a mer-princess, Merlea, who was kidnapped by humans on the day she was born. For the past 11 years she has been living in a tank at the FantaSEA Research Facility. On her 12th birthday, she makes a new friend named Cooper. Join Merlea and Cooper as they try to escape the evil Dr. Devon, explore the mermazing underwater Kingdom of Aquaria, and discover their love of frozen burritos!
About the Author
Mary Ann has been writing and illustrating short stories practically since she could hold a pencil. As she was writing The Lost Mermaid, she dove deep into her love of under-the-sea-puns, and made sure to give all of her close friends and teachers a cameo appearance. Her illustration style is inspired by her favorite TV series, Lizzie McGuire.
Her book didn’t just happen overnight. For the past year she has been diligently writing and editing her story, creating illustrations of her favorite characters, and learning to type along the way. Here is a little behind the scenes look at her creative process:
• Christmas 2018 •
Back in December, she had completed writing the first half of her book and wanted to give everyone a copy of The Lost Mermaid as a Christmas present. My wife helped Mary Ann type her handwritten story and patiently went through countless edits with her. Then I scanned in all of her illustrations and typeset her book in Adobe InDesign.
The finished “book” was printed on 8.5 x 11 paper, folded in half, and “bound” with a cover made of mermaid scrapbook paper.
Needless to say, her handmade books were a hit! Her friends absolutely loved her original story and have been talking about her characters ever since. Her English teacher even read the book out loud to the class to inspire her classmates to start writing.
• Valentine’s Day 2019 •
In February, we created a FantaSEA Research Facility Valentine Box together. It featured an illustration of Merlea swimming inside the tank, based off one of her favorite illustrations in her book.
Meanwhile, Mary Ann continued writing her story about Merlea, telling her friends that The Lost Mermaid: The SEAquel would be coming out soon.
• Summer 2019 •
Planning birthday parties is a family affair! Each year we select a theme based off their suggestions and current interests. Some of Mary Ann’s party themes have included The Greatest Showman, High School Musical, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs! Can you guess what the theme was for this year’s party? The Lost Mermaid, of course!
I mean, how many of us can say we had a birthday party based off of our own original story and characters?!?
Another of Mary Ann’s interests is making pop-up cards. I worked with her to create a custom pop-up invitation featuring her illustrations from the book.
• Mary Ann’s Birthday 2019 •
With Mary Ann’s birthday approaching, my wife thought we should have her books professionally printed so they could be her party favors. We decided to combine her original short story with her newly written SEAquel and epilogue.
After a lot of research into online publishers, we decided to self publish her book with LuLu.com. We were so impressed with the quality of her finished books and their fast turnaround time.
Her finished books arrived on her birthday (we couldn’t have timed that any better!) And as you can see from this photo, Mary Ann could hardly contain herself when her final books were delivered.
• Birthday Party 2019 •
Mary Ann’s birthday pool party was the perfect time to officially “launch” her first book! We all toasted our favorite author with SAND cakes, frozen burritos, and FANTA soda (the official drink of the FantaSEA Research Facility) before heading down the street to jump in our neighbor’s pool!
PICK UP YOUR COPY OF THE LOST MERMAID TODAY
• ETSY •
Mary Ann will sign any book purchased from my Etsy store. Just tell me who she should personalize it to at checkout.