Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My Super Tuesday!


Former St. Thomas resident reaches out to young adults with first book, by Ayesha Morris, The Virgin Islands Daily News.

First-time author Mahlena-Rae Johnson weaves the story of a 20-something-year-old television junkie turned Hollywood executive assistant preparing for her trip back to her childhood home of St. Thomas for a high-school reunion.

Bianca, the main character of "Steve the Penguin," must face her anxiety about being judged by her former classmates, and her fear of being the only one to show up without a boyfriend in the 189-page novel self-published by Mr. J Media.

Johnson draws on a bit of her own life story in the book. She was born in Arkansas, and moved with her mother, Edith Ramsay-Johnson, back to St. Thomas where she lived from age 4 to 17.

The 26-year-old went to V.I. Montessori School and was nominated vice-president of her sixth-grade class. She then attended Antilles School, where she was named "Most Likely to Kidnap a Backstreet Boy."

After graduating with a degree in film and television from Loyola Marymount University, Johnson decided to stay in Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming a television production executive in Hollywood.

Thoughts about her upcoming high school reunion next year and watching movies on the subject inspired her to write the novel.

"I've always enjoyed writing. I just didn't stick to it that much," she said.

The book was also an extension of her website, www.stevethepenguin.com, which contains Johnson's commentary on everything from pop culture to politics.

"It comes from a passion to see people better represented," she said.

"The message I want put out is that it's OK to be yourself. One of the reasons I ended up publishing the book is that there are not many novels about people in their 20s who are just normal," Johnson said. "I wanted to create a more realistic, diverse cast of characters." . . .


The article goes on from there. Look at me: I'm famous!

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12 comments:

Chrissy said...

So very fabulous!

Stephanie said...

THAT IS AWESOME!!

Mr. J said...

Thank you!

Magen said...

Well now I know you have made it big if you are in the Daily News!!. My dad linked to it on our new family blog. He is interested in obtaining a signed copy of the book and is willing to write a review because he is tired of sharing his copy with my sister.

Samara Leigh said...

How exciting! Thanks for sharing your good news. It is also an excellent reminder to a yet-to-be-published author to glue my butt cheeks to the chair and WRITE.

Carrie said...

Congrats!!

Mr. J said...

magen, that's super! Email me your dad's mailing address and I can send him a copy. Then let me know when he posts the review so I can link to it.

samara and carrie, thank you! The butt chair glue is optional.

Lara said...

Super Tuesday indeed! In other news, MrJ for President!

Lara said...

Super Tuesday indeed! In other news... MrJ for President!

Mr. J said...

Double post, hooray! And thank you! No presidency for me. I'd rather run Viacom.

Daisy said...

Congratulations on your book! Great article, too! :)

Mr. J said...

Thank you, daisy!