We have some incredibly talented members of the community in our area, and it never fails to fascinate me. Local Hillsborough author Anna Jean Mayhew (who goes by AJ to friends and family) is one of those talented people. She is 79 years old (these photos were coincidentally taken on her 79th birthday!), and was first published at the age of 71. She’s been writing since her 40s, and also held an incredibly varied career. One of her favorite past jobs was when she managed the opera in Charlotte, but she was also a court reporter where she picked up on an incredible gift she had for dialect. Her job as a court reporter helped shaped a lot of the ways her characters speak in her first book The Dry Grass of August (and I’d say it worked – her book is highly reviewed and rated on Amazon). Kensington, her publisher, offered her a two book deal, and her second book, Tomorrow’s Bread, will be out soon. She is absolutely fascinating. She is kind, outgoing, and has a penchant for wearing lots of jewelry and incredible glasses (her signature). She’s a fan of cats (and was quite accommodating when I needed to reschedule our session due to a sick kitty of our own), and traveling with her Swiss husband who is an expert on author Jules Verne. All of her family seems artistic and talented, and she worn earrings made by her sister, and a sweater and scarf made by another sister. It was a great honor (and a ton of fun) to go around Hillsborough with her, photographer her author headshots, and learn about her life. If I grow up to be half as accomplished and interesting as AJ, I’ll be set.