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The Mermaid Book

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Lisa Madigan, who, at a very early age, was bitten by the writing bug.

First she honed her skills by re-visioning fairy tales – one of which was called THE THREE DAUGHTERS, and was highly derivative of “The Three Little Pigs,” except the main characters were three beautiful (but poor) daughters.


Alas, although young Lisa was adept at stringing words together, she possessed no talent for drawing.

Eventually, she branched out into original fiction, ultimately penning (er, penciling) a 78-paged manuscript entitled MERMAIDS FUN. It was Lisa’s first novel! The main character was a mermaid named Seaweed, who had a younger sister named Sea-Sea, who, at one point, goes missing. (Passive aggressive wish?)

The rest of the story is below the cut.

If you’d rather skip my self-indulgent trip down Memory Lane, here’s the happy ending:

In 2010, my second novel will be released … it’s a contemporary YA fantasy tentatively titled THE MERMAID’S MIRROR.

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Even mermaids have to go to school.


About a year ago, my first reader – my mom – had a beautiful shadow box made for me, documenting my journey from aspiring author to grownup owner of a two-book deal with Houghton Mifflin.


My first query letter! I seem to have set it aside and never finished it. (It’s a good thing I didn’t know how many query letters were in my future. I might have given up right then and there.)

Back to Lisa’s story:

She grew up and married a great guy, who loved her enough to let her sit alone for hours at a time in imaginary worlds, pounding away at a keyboard. He even bought her her first computer.

About eight years ago, Lisa took a summer school course called, “Writing for Children.” She planned to write picture books. But one day, over lunch, she told her husband about an idea she had for a novel. She described it vividly enough that he got tears in his eyes at the ending. By the end of the summer school course, Lisa was writing the novel. It was about mermaids.

Lisa’s husband read all her books. His favorite was the mermaid story.

Okay, fast-forward to this morning, when I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself because of a dodgy stomach, hoping I didn’t have swine flu, when I saw that I had an email from my editor.

She loves my mermaid book! It will be published next year!

To say that this makes me extremely happy is a bit of an understatement.

My husband was with me when I got the email. I guess my joy was infectious, because I’m pretty sure I saw tears in his eyes as he hugged me.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go call my mom. I want to tell her the mermaid book is finally going to be published.



( 67 inscriptions — Inscribe a note )
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May. 8th, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
OH! It's so cool to have the full story now! I'm so happy for you!
May. 8th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
Thank you, SoniaG! Thanks for keeping the faith. xo
(Deleted comment)
May. 8th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
Thanks, Sara!
May. 8th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
What great news! And what an amazing journey to publication...!

May. 8th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
Thanks, Sarah!

I share a genre with you now!!
May. 8th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
Yaaaaayyyy!! I love the whole story. So sweet.

I'm so excited for you, Lisa! Par-tay!!
May. 8th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
Thanks, Erin!
May. 8th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
So, so wonderful! Congratulations!
May. 8th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
Thank you!!
May. 8th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Congrats, I can tell just how happy you are!
May. 8th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
Thanks, Julie!!
May. 8th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
Congrats!!! I love mermaid books -- even have one myself with Llewellyn. What a great success story! So happy for you!
May. 8th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
Thank you, Linda Joy!
May. 8th, 2009 12:59 am (UTC)
This is awesome - yay for you and mermaids!! The shadow box just about made me cry. Also, I SO love your illustration of all the mermaids at their desks! Congrats, Lisa!
May. 8th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Thanks, Kate! I see that I showed my teacher some love by giving her a cameo in the story - I loved Mrs. Kassner.

May. 8th, 2009 01:01 am (UTC)
What a great story! Congrats, and I'm glad your mermaids are finally getting their book! And what a neat shadow box your mom made for you, too. :)
May. 8th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Thanks, Alison!
May. 8th, 2009 01:02 am (UTC)
Yay -- congratulations, Lisa!! Yay!!!
May. 8th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC)
Thank you, Sheela!!
May. 8th, 2009 01:02 am (UTC)
That's a great story. ( I'm sure the mermaid one is too.) Congrats!!
May. 8th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC)
Thank you, Stephanie!
May. 8th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
What a wonderful story. Both of them. Congratulations, Lisa!
May. 8th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
Thanks, Tracy!!
May. 8th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
YAY!!! A very happy ending to a great story!! Thanks for sharing (and btw, you were the cutest little girl!!)
May. 8th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
Aww, thanks, MB.

May. 8th, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)

I love this. Just love it all. :-)
May. 8th, 2009 03:18 am (UTC)
Thank you, darlin'!

May. 8th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
I knew you were being a tease on Twitter earlier!

I am so, so, so, so happy for you! SQUEEEEEE!!!!

Also? That shadowbox from your mother? Made me teary-eyed.
May. 8th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
Re: SQUEEEE!!!!!
My mom. *mimble*

She's very happy for me.

What if she hadn't encouraged me all those years ago? What if she'd been dismissive? I'm so lucky she was such a terrific mom.
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