A GOOD GIRL
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A Bible’s family tree and an embroidered handkerchief hold the key to understanding the past as six generation Texan, Gracey Reiter, prepares to say goodbye to her dying father, the last surviving member of the Walsh-Mueller family. The present holds the answer and the last opportunity for Gracey to understand her father’s anger, her mother’s guilt, and her siblings’ version of the truth.
The Walsh-Mueller family begins in Texas when Patricia Walsh leaves the famine of nineteenth century Ireland, losing her parents and siblings along the way. She finds a home, love, and security with Emil Mueller in a German settlement near Indianola on the Texas Gulf Coast. They begin their lives on a small cotton farm, raising six sons. From the coastal plains of Texas, five generations survive hurricanes, wars, The Great Depression, and life, itself.
An all-encompassing novel that penetrates the core being of all who read it, A Good Girl pulls back the skin to reveal the raw actualities of life, love and relationships. It is the ageless story of family.
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PRAISE FOR A GOOD GIRL:
*2017 Kindle Book Award Finalist*
*Over 50 5 Star Reviews*
One of 2017’s best will surely be A Good Girl by author Johnnie Bernhard, who as much as any writer since Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy, offers a breathtaking tour of the human heart in conflict with itself, desperately searching for grace and redemption in the face of unremitting loss. Bernhard’s sentences are filled with the stuff of what blues and country music singers refer to as “soul” and “high lonesome.”
–Jim Fraiser, The Sun Herald Newspaper
Relatable and real, A Good Girl speaks to the heart of what it means to be human and that generations come and go, but love binds us together.
–Kathleen M. Rodgers, author of The Final Salute, Johnnie Come Lately, & Seven Wings to Glory
A Good Girl is a raw, real, and relatable gift to the soul on every level. Ms. Bernhard’s writing is so descriptive, reading this book is truly a visceral experience. One cannot help but reflect on their own family legacy and life journey. Prepare to be riveted by this heartbreaking, yet healing story about family, self-discovery and learning how to love.
–Eva Steortz, SVP, Brand Development, 20th Century Fox
A beautiful debut novel across oceans and time, with a clear, objective yet poignant Southern voice. A timeless voice much like Doctorow’s Ragtime, A Good Girl is a true Southern American story. A story of one family spanning generations, dealing with love and loss, despair, and redemption, that leaves its readers with a timeless lesson.
-Kathryn Brown Ramsperger, Author of The Shores of Our Souls and Moments on the Edge.
I have found Johnnie Bernhard’s book to touch a powerful chord in my heart. Masterfully written with deep insight into the journey of family and forgiveness, I’m a better person for having read this book.
-Cynthia Garrett, The London Sessions & The Mini Sessions (airing regularly on TBN Network), Author of The Prodigal Daughter
Sales benefit Port Lavaca, Texas! Much of the setting of A Good Girl, a six generation Texas saga, is set in Port Lavaca, Calhoun County. During the Lone Star Book Blog Tour, all author’s royalties will be donated to the Calhoun County Museum of Port Lavaca in its recovery effort after Hurricane Harvey. Texas Proud! Port Lavaca Strong!
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Author Interview: Johnnie Bernhard
How has being a Texan (or Texas) influenced your writing?
The novel’s plot and characters are a combination of Texas history and the people I’ve met in Texas. Our cultural history is rich in diversity. It is the immigrant story, the pioneers, who suffered greatly to forge a place as spiritual and beautiful as Texas. This is the story of every day men and women. It is the story of how people endure the hardships life often brings. It is the story of family relationships. Ultimately, it is the story of family, forgiveness, and faith – these are the things that sustain us.
Why did you choose to write in your particular sub-genre?
I love history and I love Texas history. The beautiful images from Texas history are the faces of many cultures, immigrants, cowboys, pioneer women, and the working class. These are the courageous people who worked to make it the Lone Star State, and there is nothing in this entire world that compares to the people and the spirit of Texas!
How long have you been writing?
I wrote a lot of awful poetry in high school. However, during my senior year, I won the VFW Voice of Democracy essay for Jackson County, Texas! I got a great patch for my letter jacket and a nice meal at the VFW Hall!
What kinds of writing do you do?
My writing career began many years ago as a student at the University of Houston in the early eighties. I worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Cougar. I have written for magazines and newspapers since those early days. I particularly enjoy writing creative essays. A Good Girl is my first novel. I have recently finished a second novel, How We Came to Be.
What cultural value do you see in books, writing, and reading?
Books are the recorded creative history of a people. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand for me. I’ve had the privilege of reading great authors my entire life. To be an author and have someone interested in my work is an honor!
How does your book relate to your faith?
It took a life time, nearly fifty years, to have the maturity and life experiences to write a family saga like A Good Girl. While faith is an important element in the book, this is not a judgmental or preachy book. It’s the opposite. It is through faith we learn to forgive others, as well as ourselves.
Johnnie Bernhard, a former AP English teacher and journalist, is passionate about reading and writing. Her works have appeared in the following publications: University of Michigan Graduate Studies Publications, Heart of Ann Arbor Magazine, Houston Style Magazine, World Oil Magazine, The Suburban Reporter of Houston, The Mississippi Press, University of South Florida Area Health Education Magazine, the international Word Among Us, Southern Writers Magazine, Gulf Coast Writers Association Anthologies, The Texas Review, and the Cowbird-NPR production on small town America. Her entry, “The Last Mayberry,” received over 7,500 views, nationally and internationally.
A Good Girl received top ten finalist recognition in the 2015 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, as well as featured novel for panel discussion at the 2017 Mississippi and Louisiana Book Festivals. It is a finalist in the 2017 national Kindle Book Award for literary fiction and a nominee for the 2018 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize.
Her second novel, How We Came to Be, is set for publication in spring 2018. It is a finalist in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition.
Johnnie is the owner of Bernhard Editorial Services, LLC, where she writes book reviews for Southern Literary Review, as well as assists writers in honing their craft. Johnnie and her husband reside in a nineteenth century cottage surrounded by ancient oak trees and a salt water marsh near the Mississippi Sound. They share that delightful space with their dog, Lily, and cat, Poncho.
Johnnie will be on the road with A Good Girl at the following locations:
October 26 Southern Bound Book Store, Biloxi, MS, 5 p.m.–7:30 p.m., http://southernboundblog.net/index.html
October 27–28 Louisiana Book Festival, Baton Rouge, LA, state capitol, http://www.louisianabookfestival.org/
November 4 Peter Anderson Festival, Ocean Springs, MS, Poppy’s on Porter, Washington Avenue, http://www.peterandersonfestival.com/
November 13 Live on KSHU Radio 1430 AM, Houston, Texas, 8 a.m.
November 16 Calhoun County Historical Museum, Port Lavaca, Texas, 5 p.m. http://calhouncountymuseum.org/
November 18 River Oaks Book Store, Houston, Texas, 3–5 p.m., www.riveroaksbookstore.com
December 6–8 Words & Music Literary Feast, New Orleans, LA, www.wordsandmusic.org
December 10 Barnes & Noble, New Orleans, noon–2 p.m.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
One lucky winner gets a signed copy!
October 26–November 4, 2017
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
|26-Oct||Excerpt 1||Hall Ways Blog|
|27-Oct||Review||Texan Girl Reads|
|28-Oct||Author Interview||Reading by Moonlight|
|29-Oct||Guest Post||Tangled in Text|
|31-Oct||Notable Quotable||Texas Book Lover|
|2-Nov||Scrapbook Page||Forgotten Winds|
|3-Nov||Excerpt 2||StoreyBook Reviews|
|4-Nov||Review||The Librarian Talks|