By Carlotta Mohamed
Mary Johnson hopes women find their strength and voice after reading her novel entitled, “Hello, My Name is Jannie.”
The Bayside resident was joined by friends and family Oct. 20 to celebrate the release of her first fiction novel at The Bourbon Street restaurant, located at 40-12 Bell Blvd.
“As we experience the ‘Me Too’ movement, it is clear women will no longer remain silent. Like many of us, the main character, Jannie, is attempting to find her voice as she fights for her independence and self-worth,” Johnson reflected.
Johnson’s 184-page novel, published by Page Publishing, is available online at Amazon for $13.95, as well as the Apple iTunes store, Google Play, and Barnes and Noble.
The fictional tale is an emotionally driven account of a conflicted woman married with children on a search for her purpose in life.
The book stems from true emotions and experiences of many women — sharing the struggle of dealing with inner dilemmas that often leads to neglect and destroys interpersonal relationships with loved ones, according to Johnson.
“She [Jannie] always tried to do the right thing by everybody and she did,” said Johnson. “She didn’t have any individuality… she was always someone’s mom, daughter, wife… And when she went somewhere it was never just, ‘Hello, My name is Jannie.’”
Johnson, an avid fan of writing and poetry, said it took her a year to write the novel.
“I started writing the book in 2013 and when I was writing all I wanted to do was live in the story,” said Johnson.
The titular character finds herself in Brazil in a place called Bahia that she had never been to and doesn’t know a soul. Exhausted and drained, an emotional break opens the door in which Jannie walks through. She mentally checks out from her current situation with a clear path to welcome new experiences.
“I want readers to understand that no matter what your obligations are, you matter. We all matter and as hard as we take care of other people, we have to take care of ourselves too because we deserve it,” said Johnson.
Close friends and family expressed admiration on Johnson’s journey to completing the novel.
“I have seen this book being worked on, and I didn’t know how far she was going with that idea but I’m happy that idea is being done,” said Matthew Johnson, Mary’s brother-in-law.
Johnson’s sister, Tiffany, who read the book, said she was able to connect with the character.
“I took the message that you should stay strong in a situation that doesn’t completely make you happy,” said Tiffany. “You should find happiness. For some people it’s love, finding inner peace… I think it’s about finding whatever makes you happy.”
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha