BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Johnnie Bernhard was in a familiar setting at St. Patrick's Catholic High School on Monday. She's the author of "A Good Girl". But before she became an author, she was an English teacher.
Monday morning, she was back in the classroom, sharing her passion for writing with students.
"Imagine me being the author, and being able to come into that same setting and talk about the literary elements in the book and enjoy the students," Bernhard said.
Students read the book during winter break, and many were excited to meet the award-winning author.
"It's really cool that we got an author that has been published that can come speak to us and stuff because we don't really get that type of experience living in a small town like this," said student Amelie Million.
Part of Bernhard's book takes place in South Mississippi, an area she knows well. She lives in Ocean Springs.
The novel follows the life of a young girl learning to be her true self.
"Its a very important lesson for teenagers. Because they are bombarded with many, many things, pulling them in different directions, that may be keeping them from being who they are meant to be or who they're comfortable being," Bernhard said.
It's a message she hopes will stick with students, along with another important life lesson that goes beyond the book's plot: Bernhard was 51 when she reached her lifelong goal of finishing her first novel.
"It's never too late. I hope those students took that message in that it's never too late to begin a goal or to complete a goal," she said.
"A Good Girl" is available in bookstores and Amazon. Bernhard's second novel "How We Came to Be" will be published in May.