LOCAL AUTHOR OFFERS HOPE
Inspired by her sister’s occupational therapist stories from the oncology unit at a major metropolitan hospital, Lafayette resident Gail Perry Johnston sought a unique way to reach out to vulnerable people who were facing the loss of a loved one. “My sister would tell me amazing stories about being with people during their last days on earth,” said Johnston. “I wanted to connect with these people at this surreal time in their lives when everyday things don’t seem important. I wanted to meet them with empathy, encouragement, hope, and give them tools for finding forgiveness and peace.” Johnston envisioned a book that was not a typical “how-to” guide, but something that was gentle and kind. With this goal, A Rumor of Angels, Quotations for Living, Dying and Letting Go came to be. The simple paperback gracefully and intelligently addresses the realities of death with a collection of sentiments from philosophers, poets, literary masters and everyday people. “Grief experiences differ greatly,” mused Johnston. “Readers of my book will not be told how they should feel or what they should do; instead, they will be comforted by others who have been there.” In A Rumor of Angels, quotes flow logically from one to another, so that the reader is led through his or her emotions toward a place of release.
Continuing with the successful formula of collected quotations, Johnston found herself addressing the other end of life’s spectrum in The Wish and the Wonder: Words of Wisdom for Expectant Parents. Inspired this time by a pregnant friend who ceased reading books about pregnancy altogether, due to comprehensive coverage of all that could go wrong, Johnston sought to create a joyful collection of insightful quotations celebrating the wonder of pregnancy and birth, while offering sound information. The Wish and the Wonder offers perspectives from literary greats, celebrities, doctors and parents on everything from conception to childbirth to the very nature of love itself. The uplifting tone and humor appeal to men and women alike.
Both books offer uniquely honest, insightful and affirming looks at their subject matter, in a simple format. “My books register with readers because quotes are non-threatening; the quotes reveal varied emotions and experiences, so a reader can invariably connect with passages in the collections. And quotes are easily digestible, even for a grieving person who has a hard time focusing,” says Johnston.
Two major publishing companies originally published Johnston’s books years ago. With the publishing rights returning to Johnston, she capitalized on her 25 years experience as a graphic designer and illustrator to form Cupola Press in order to republish the books and present them with more sophisticated design. Her simple illustrations, scattered throughout the pages, add lightness and grace to the content. “I've helped many companies launch their businesses or launch new products and it occurred to me that I could launch my own,” said Johnston. “One of my favorite quotes included in The Wish and the Wonder is “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” Last year, I realized it was time I applied that quote and courageously republish my books. It has been a difficult process, but it’s wonderful to see that the books are already impacting people, supporting them through the biggest transitions of their lives.”
Causes Gail Johnston Supports
The Stephens Ministry The Siena Maternity Home Young Life International