A retired teacher who grew up in Highlandtown has been using her golden years to take advantage of the golden opportunity of self publishing.
It has paid off. Chloe Jon Paul’s third book and first work of fiction, This Business of Children, has won the bronze medal in the general fiction category of the Readers Favorite Book Awards.
Jon Paul—who has taught elementary school, middle school, high school, inmates, adult education, and more—drew on the experiences of her working life for the novel.
“I wrote the book to celebrate good teachers everywhere,” she said. “I’m not in this for fame or fortune.”
The main characters of “This Business of Children” are four teachers, two male and two female.
“It tells the story of how their lives turned upside down, professionally and personally, during the course of the year,” said Jon Paul.
It’s the same year that the space shuttle Challenger came apart soon after launch, killing all seven crew members. The Challenger tragedy is an important event in the story, and when a screenwriter wrote a screenplay-version of “This Business of Children,” the Challenger Center for Space Science Education had to be contacted.
Jon Paul had a phone conversation with the widow of Francis Scobee, the commander of the ill-fated mission.
“She read the book, loved it, read the screenplay, and gave it two thumbs up,” said Jon Paul.
“Did I ever dream any of this was going to happen when I was writing it?” she said. “Not on your life.”
Jon Paul says she retired early from teaching because teachers were forced to “teach to the test.”
“I couldn’t do that,” she said.
So, Jon Paul found something else to do.
“My philosophy in life is to find a need and fill it,” she said.
That’s what led her to write “What Happens Next? A Family Guide to Nursing Home Visits.”
“The hardest thing I have had to do in life is place both my parents in long-term care on June 16, 1997,” Jon Paul said.
Through her own experience, she found that many children of adults in nursing homes don’t know where to go from that point.
“They spend a lot of time searching for a place, but they don’t understand what happens afterward,” she said.
Jon Paul has also moved to fill the needs of aging women—but not with ant-wrinkle cream. Her book “Entering the Age of Elegance” helps maturing women avoid the traps of Hollywood and marketing.
“These people are laughing all the way to the bank while women’s self-esteem goes down the tubes,” she said. “I like these wrinkles; I’ve earned them.”
Jon Paul’s books are available on Amazon. Find her on the web at www.chloejonpaul.com.
by Erik Zygmont