Former Jackson County resident Johnnie Bernhard, who graduated Ganado High School in 1980 as Johnnie Fritz, has been an English teacher and a journalist whose talents graced the pages of both the Edna Herald and Ganado Tribune. Now, she is a historical fiction author, something she wasn’t always sure she could accomplish.
“I’ve always loved literature and writing, and always dreamed of writing a book,” she said, adding that her responsibilities as a wife and mother, as well as a full time job as an English teacher, made her believe she wouldn’t have the time.
“I could do little sketches, short stories, some really bad poetry,” she laughed, “but I never could immerse myself in writing.”
As her children grew, Bernhard found more time, and a gig writing a column got her in the groove of writing every day.
A Good Girl, published by Texas Review Press, follows Gracey Reiter as she makes peace with her family history, through the writings of her grandmother. Bernhard takes a real location and a fictional family and highlights relatable problems that transcend generations, income brackets, and lifestyles, making A Good Girl a story for anyone and everyone.
For Bernhard, its a dream realized, and proof that sticking to her guns can pay off. The book had already been rejected once, because, according to Berhnard, there was “too much God in it.”
“I wasn’t willing to sacrifice the faith element in the book for more money,” said Bernhard.
The novel is one of William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition’s top ten finalists.
While A Good Girl is Bernhard’s first novel, her literary accolades are many. She’s penned pieces that have appeared in publications around the globe, including The Mississippi Press, The Suburban Reporter of Houston, Word Among Us, Heart of Ann Arbor Magazine, and more. Her Essay “Ignorance or Innocence” won her Equal Runner-Up honors in the Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Essay Competition.
Currently residing in Mississippi, Berhnard is a literary agent and speaker whose life’s work is not only to write, but to assist aspiring writers in reaching their goals.
A Good Girl, which was compared by Biloxi’s Sun Herald to the writings of Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy, can be purchased on Amazon, or in bookstores, or from Bernhard’s website, www.johnniebernhardauthor.com.
Berhnard’s second novel, a story about a single mother of a teenager in Houston, is almost finished.