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Relationship Novelist Inspires High School Students to follow their Dreams

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By Lea Michelle Cash

 

On March 9, 2012, twenty special students at Bob Murphy Community Day School in Rialto received an inspiring visit from guest author Sheryl Mallory Johnson coordinated by the nonprofit organization The Brightest Star, Inc.

The student’s visit began with a roundtable discussion on dream building.  There were several dreamers in the room with aspirations of becoming an astronaut, a doctor, a psychologist, a musician, hairdresser, teacher and horror film screenwriter.  But, the precious moments belonged to the aspiring writers to which there were several in the room.   They listened carefully and sent a myriad of questions to the relationship novelist who was excited to share her story and life experience with the kids.

Johnson took the long route through life to accomplish her dream of becoming a writer.  She was a good student, graduated from high school, and went to college.  She received a Bachelor and a Master’s degree.  She became a social worker and worked in the San Diego Child Welfare division for many years.  However, something was missing in her life.  Something that gave her passion and drive—something that gave her purpose. So she returned to her childhood dream—that delivered all those things.   She turned simply to writing.

At first, she just wrote screenplays then she made the switch to writing fiction novels.  Novels that explored the human spirit and the things African American people do in relationships.  In time Johnson wrote several popular books and has become a creative voice in contemporary fiction, providing book coaching and novel writing to aspiring authors.  She loves to speak with high school students. In 2009, she wrote a young adult novel, “L.A. Summer” which she discussed with the students.  Last year, this young adult novel was voted by Conversation Magazine to be the best top 50 summer reads for teens.  The novel explores three teenagers. One dying to escape from small town living in Texas and gets the opportunity to spend the summer in South Central Los Angeles with her rowdy and protective best friend.  The third best friend in the trio has freedom issues with a mother who gives her no freedom.  The teen’s collaborative efforts lead to a summer unlike no other, providing life changing experiences they will remember forever.

The Bob Murphy students held onto Johnson’s every word. The teens asked repeatedly “where can we get the book?”  At the end of the visit, Johnson surprised the students with their own personal copy of “L.A. Summer.” The current novel written by Johnson for adult readers is Love & Regrets.   This novel exposes the relationship struggles of commitment and the human capacity to rise above hatred and revenge, and the power of love and kinship.  This novel can be found at Barnes and Nobles or ordered on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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