Happy #MerMay, everyone! Who's ready for an underwater adventure filled with sea creatures, magic, and everyone's favorite mermaid? #SeasonsOfKidLit is thrilled to have the incredibly talented Ashley Franklin on the blog today sharing her new mer-mazing book from Disney: The Little Mermaid - Make a Splash (illustrated by Paul Kellam). Ashley's book follows Ariel, a little mermaid, who saves Prince Eric from a shipwreck. She soon makes a deal with Ursala, the sea witch, for a chance to spend time with Eric on land only, things don't quite go as planned. Want to know more about Ashley and her new book from Disney, PLUS want a chance to win some mer-mazing treats in May? Read on...
Q: Hi, Ashley! Welcome to #SeasonsOfKidLit. We’re thrilled you can join us and share your new Disney book with us, The Little Mermaid: Make a Splash! First, for those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you, can you share a little bit about yourself and how you started your writing career?
A: Like many, I spent a lot of my early writer days trying to figure out how to navigate what was absolutely new territory to me. I gained confidence thanks to #PbPitch, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic course, and more.
My career has been a mixture of original and IP work across various reading levels, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve always tried to write things that have an element of joy to them. This business can be tough. Writing what you love makes it easier.
Q: Your book, The Little Mermaid: Make a Splash follows Ariel as she explores the human world, saves a prince named Eric from a shipwreck, and makes a deal with Ursula the Sea Witch. As we know, Ursula had a few devious plans up her tentacle-filled sleeves.
This is a story so many of us grew up watching and loving!
What was it like writing about such a well-known character and adapting a popular Disney Cartoon (and now Movie!) into a book? Was it easier or more challenging than you expected?
A: Initially, I was intimidated. However, it was easier than what I’d expected. They gave me the actual script to work from, so that was exciting. I’m not going to lie. It was really cool, lol.
Q: I recently saw a picture you posted on Instagram of HALLE BAILEY reading YOUR BOOK at THE WHITE HOUSE!! (Sorry for the CAPS, but seriously, how amazing is that?!). Did you know she was going to read your book for Easter? Can you describe what it felt like to see the picture of her holding your book?
The Instagram link to this picture can be found here.
A: I found out when everyone else found out! So, for anyone who squealed in delight, that loudest squeal was me.
I think it just goes to show that you never know where your story may end up and who may read it. I was star-struck and humbled all at once.
That's so true, and such an important thing to keep in mind when writing, Ashley!
Q: What message or inspiration do you hope young readers take away from your book and your writing journey?
A: I hope that young readers realize that while they will lose and gain many things as they grow older, they never have to lose their childlike wonder. I don’t care how old I am, I will never stop loving happily-ever-afters.
Q: What other books of yours can we look forward to reading ASAP? And what can we expect to see in the near future?
2023 has been a pretty good year to me. Immediately, the paperback version of NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE is scheduled to release on May 16th. My newest picture book, THE MASJID KAMAL LOVES, will be available June 20th. Oh, and on August 1st, you can expect the Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow picture book.
Thanks for sharing! We can't wait to check out all your books (I personally adore Not Quite Snow White and highly recommend it).
Readers, please leave a comment below and thank Ashley for stopping by!
Mer-Mazing #MerMay Giveaway!
Hi, readers! We have a special treat. Comment on each #MerMay post in May and be entered into a drawing to win one of three manuscript critiques or 20-minute ask-me-anything zoom meetings from Heather and Lynne Marie!
About Ashley Franklin:
Ashley Franklin is an educator and author-mom who is committed to capturing moments of joy in the lives of Black and Muslim children. She’s found Arkansas to be her perfect place for adventures and collecting treasures.
For more about Ashely, visit the following links:
To purchase Ashely's books on Amazon, or to leave a review for them, click here.