author interviews

Inspirational Journeys Presents: Bird of Paradise with Emily Johnson

This week, my special guest describes how she honored her mother and kept her legacy alive by completing her novel and getting it published.

INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEYS PRESENTS!

Bird of Paradise with Emily Johnson!

Hello:

I’m proud to announce the following guest for your listening pleasure.

Please be sure to read onward after the following message to learn how you can be my guest here on INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEYS.

Thanks for listening and do write to let me and my guest know what you thought of this presentation.

WHO?

Emily Johnson

WHEN?

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

WHERE?

YouTube video

Podcast episode

MORE ABOUT GUEST AUTHOR Emily Johnson and her mother…

Marilyn was born in Southern California but spent her formative years in the San Francisco Bay Area with her parents and older sister.  She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Sociology and received an advanced degree in Elementary Education.  After moving with her husband to Aspen, Colorado Marilyn spent the next 20 years as a public-school teacher and elementary education consultant and lecturer.  She and her family moved to Pinehurst, North Carolina in 1996 and shortly thereafter was diagnosed with breast and advanced ovarian cancer.  She began writing The Bird of Paradise as a life gift for her daughter, Emily.  She passed away in 2012 leaving the novel unfinished – for Emily to complete.

Emily was born in Aspen, Colorado where she enjoyed skiing, dancing ballet and playing golf.  At the age of 13, she and her family moved to Pinehurst, North Carolina.  She attended UNC-Chapel Hill and graduated with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations.   She currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and son.  Emily enjoys playing golf, running, kickboxing, reading, and spending time with her family.  Finishing her mother’s work has been one of the greatest honors of her life.

The book Emily finished for her mother is entitled Bird of Paradise.

Description:

Marilyn was born in Southern California but spent her formative years in the San Francisco Bay Area with her parents and older sister.  She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Sociology and received an advanced degree in Elementary Education.  After moving with her husband to Aspen, Colorado Marilyn spent the next 20 years as a public-school teacher and elementary education consultant and lecturer.  She and her family moved to Pinehurst, North Carolina in 1996 and shortly thereafter was diagnosed with breast and advanced ovarian cancer.  She began writing The Bird of Paradise as a life gift for her daughter, Emily.  She passed away in 2012 leaving the novel unfinished – for Emily to complete.

Emily was born in Aspen, Colorado where she enjoyed skiing, dancing ballet and playing golf.  At the age of 13, she and her family moved to Pinehurst, North Carolina.  She attended UNC-Chapel Hill and graduated with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations.   She currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and son.  Emily enjoys playing golf, running, kickboxing, reading, and spending time with her family.  Finishing her mother’s work has been one of the greatest honors of her life.

Purchase link

Excerpt:

She remembered that day clearly, how she left the cool, jade-blue waters of the lagoon behind and followed after Grandfather and Mem and Mama and Papa as they snaked in and out of view on their daily ascent to the bench. She remembered the arduous climb and how hot and breathless she felt, and how, when she finally reached the shade of the plateau, the cool damp of the jungle floor on her bare feet renewed her. She could almost hear the bits of laughter and easy conversation that had reached her ears long before she was in sight of the bench and how, when she finally arrived there, she found the couples already lounging comfortably, sharing a bottle of Grandfather’s chilled Island wine, red-cheeked and smiling and, as always, demonstrably affectionate. She could hear them speaking, even now, about that day and many before it in no particular order, just a random collection of remembrances, which together fashioned a collage of their family history, or at least a small part of one.  

They were recalling some of the special places to which Papa’s work had taken the family – the funny little attic bedroom in London, and the marble floors in the Paris apartment where she and Emma played Ice Capades in their stocking feet, and the big house that perched on the peak over Hong Kong where she held little James up to the telescope on the veranda so he could watch the ships come into port. When Mama looked up and saw her approaching, she didn’t seem surprised. She just smiled and said, “I’ve been waiting for you,” and without further comment, handed her a half-filled goblet of wine, her first, which had been well diluted to a pale pink color by the numerous ice cubes that clinked against the glass.

She remembered exactly how everyone looked that day. Grandfather sitting at one end of the bench, his arms wrapped around Mem except when he was expounding with animated gestures on the great mysteries of life; Mem, whose gentle expression on her still beautiful face belied the depth of her wisdom—a wisdom that came from just living life, not over-thinking it; Mama, whose extraordinary elegance was evident even in bare feet and a sarong and hair still wet from her afternoon swim to the reef. And Papa, sprawling lazily next to Mama, smiling and relaxed, a million miles from the corporate world that loomed just off-shore. His sandy brown hair and blue eyes looked so incongruous next to the black hair and green almond eyes that filled the rest of the bench.

That was the day she began imagining the man with whom she would share her own sunsets, peering up at Mem and that expression she wore when she looked at Grandfather, as if she were seeing him for the very first time, and finding that same expression reinvented on Mama’s face, like a fashion trend that was repeating itself with a slightly different twist. And as young women often do, she began molding the image of him in her mind and it acquired detail and depth until finally, one day, she imagined him into reality. The sunsets they shared were everything she knew they would be—wet, warm bodies and cool Island breezes, lusty red wine and Van Gogh skies. But even her wildest imaginings couldn’t prepare her for the sunrises and how she would feel each time she awoke beside him, listening for the changes in the pattern of his breathing, and watching the slight shifts of his body as he dreamt, waiting for that moment just before waking when he would stretch and roll and reach out for her. “Arianna,” he would whisper and nothing more.

The sun was in its descending arc over the western headland now. It was an artist’s sun, all big and orange, spreading its sepia light over the Island, transforming it from brilliant contrasts to silhouetted images against a vibrant sky. There was a light trail that extended across the lagoon and out to the open sea, a golden touch she had called it when she was very young. But first she needed to cry the tears she had been suppressing all that day. It wasn’t a moment of weakness. She just needed to leave the tears behind. And when the last one had descended her cheek and dissolved into the fabric of her linen shirt, she knew she was ready. So she resettled herself on the sleek wooden bench that Grandfather had lovingly crafted out of a single koa log all those years ago, and into which he and Mem had carved their names and Mama and Papa after them. Then she followed the light trail as far as she could see and searched the horizon until she found what she was looking for—the ferry that was sailing away with everything she loved most in this world. She stared at it for a very long time, watching it grow smaller and smaller. Then she closed her eyes and tried to remember what her life had been like before Michael.

Connect with Emily at the following links: https://twitter.com/elhughes01

https://www.instagram.com/ejohnson2014/

http://emilyjohnsonwrites.net

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21371186.Emily_Hughes_Johnson

BE A GUEST…

As authors, creative artists and entrepreneurs, we often find it hard to stand out above the constant chatter on the internet. If that sounds like you, I’d like to help you boost the visibility of your brand. My name is Ann Harrison-Barnes and I run a podcast called Inspirational Journeys. On my podcast I post solo episodes of value to my listeners, led by the Holy Spirit. I also talk to authors, creative artists and entrepreneurs who want to share their inspirational journeys with the world. If you’re interested in being a guest on my show, please send an email to annwrites75@gmail.com with Inspirational Journeys in the subject line of your email, so I can send you my featured book questionnaire.

 Thanks for listening to Inspirational Journeys and have a Blessed Day.

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