Marilyn was born in Southern California but spent her formative years 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 she was diagnosed with breast and advanced ovarian cancer. She began writing Bird of Paradise as a life gift for her daughter, Emily. She passed away in 2012 leaving the novel unfinished – for Emily to complete.
Marilyn and Emily
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 played competitive golf and was a member of the Nike All-American Junior Team. She attended UNC-Chapel Hill and graduated with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. From a young age, Emily was fascinated by Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius leading her to an intensive study of Mediterranean Archeology while at UNC.
After graduation, Emily began her professional career in the Marketing Department at the PGA TOUR before moving on to agency work. She eventually moved back to North Carolina where she began writing grants for a professional ballet company before starting a freelance marketing and consulting business.
Emily currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and son and enjoys playing golf, running, kickboxing, reading, hiking, travelling, and spending time with her family.
Emily Hughes Johnson
Bird of Paradise