Southern Pines, NC - Pinecrest High School and UNC – Chapel Hill graduate, Emily Hughes Johnson will be signing copies of her published novel, “Bird of Paradise,” at The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, from 5:00pm.
In 2021, Mrs. Johnson released her first work of fiction, “Bird of Paradise,” to considerable acclaim. The book was co-authored with her mother, Marilyn Anne Hughes, who began writing “Bird of Paradise,” in 1995, when she was diagnosed with advanced stage cancer. After spending over 15-years writing, Mrs. Hughes passed away in 2011, leaving the novel unfinished. Shortly after, Mrs. Johnson found a letter from her mother with a copy of her partial manuscript and a request that she finish the story for her. Eight-years later, Mrs. Johnson finished the novel and shortly thereafter was offered a publishing contract by Write Way Publishing, a hybrid publishing company located in the Triangle.
“Bird of Paradise” follows the close-knit Heywood family who has lived all over the world, but it is their Island that always calls them home. When seventeen-year-old Arianna Heywood finds that her childhood crush no longer looks at her as his little sister, she is eager to step over the threshold of womanhood with him by her side. But as is so often the case, we cannot control what happens to us in life. Embarking on a decade-long journey of self-discovery, Ari works to find her place in the world, torn between the pull of her Island and the possibility of what lies beyond. But an unexpected encounter in the city of her dreams may change it all again.
This highly rated novel has received great praise from readers who have fallen in love with both the book and the story of its origin, with one reader commenting: “I have read a lot of books in my life. This was an experience and an exceptional journey to many wonderful places with a family of wonderful traditions! It made you feel like you were watching in person as their story unfolded! I cried at some parts and that doesn’t happen often. This book is right up there with Marie Force and Barbara Freethy! What a great book!” Others have described to the book as “captivating,” “movie-like,” “inspiring,” and “perfect for any book club.”
Mrs. Johnson was born in Aspen, Colorado, moving to Pinehurst at the age of 13 and attending The O’Neal School before graduating from Pinecrest High School in 2001 as a member of the Women’s Golf Team. She went on to UNC-Chapel Hill where she received a degree in Journalism and Public Relations and a secondary concentration in Archeology. She began her career in the marketing department of the PGA TOUR before moving back to North Carolina and settling in the Raleigh area. She spent several years working in the Development Department of Raleigh’s professional ballet company, Carolina Ballet. Today she enjoys working as a freelance marketing consultant with clients from around the world and spending time with her husband and seven-year-old son.
“Bird of Paradise” will be available for purchase locally from The Country Bookshop during the event and after. You can meet Mrs. Johnson in person at The Country Bookshop on October 18th from 5:00pm where she will be signing copies of her work, as well as answering questions and sharing what it was like to finish her mother’s lifetime legacy. This event is free to attend.
The Country Bookshop
140 NW Broad Street
Southern Pines, NC 28387