Get ready for Part 2/2 of Chloe Jon Paul M.Ed's second part of the VBT# celebrating her book "The Business of Children " as I the Phantom Paragrapher host an Interview with the author herself.
Interview with the Author:
1)Tell us about your book ?
Vera Harriss, Deidre Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are elementary school teachers in the fictional town of Blevins, Maine whose secret, private lives change dramatically as you read.
Vera, who is about to retire, vents her anger during a Board of Education meeting with a speech that brings the audience to its feet. Why does Deidre, an exceptional teacher, leave the job she loves to become a corporate trainer down South? Then there is Mark, the perennial job hunter looking for a corporate position with more prestige and pay but then turns down the perfect offer when it finally comes through. Stu, one of the most popular teachers in the school, struggles with a deep, dark secret that he can only share with Deidre. What causes Stu’s untimely death?
Vera Harriss, Dee Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are eager to share their intriguing secrets and entangled lives with you.
2)What type of genre do you enjoy working on and reading ?
This book is actually my first novel. I have been writing non-fiction. As far as what I enjoy working on, I must admit that creating characters that readers can identify with is quite enjoyable – and challenging! When I get time to read fiction, I enjoy literary fiction. I have had to read a lot of non-fiction in connection with background research for what I’ve written.
3)What gives you the innovation to write a particular genre?
For my first 2 books, it was actually a “call” if you will in relation to my philosophy of life: find a need and fill it. In both cases, I had spoken with countless people who expressed a need for the kind of information these 2 books provide.
“What Happens Next? A Family Guide to Nursing Home Visits…and More” provides answers to pressing concerns for people who have a place a loved one in a long term care facility.
“Entering the Age of Elegance: A Rite of Passage & Practical Guide for the Modern Maturing Woman” provides midlife and Boomer women with a “road map” to help them navigate the period of transition they find themselves in.
As for the novel, that too, in a sense, has filled a need: that good teachers be celebrated.
4)Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family?
Not at all! My characters are basically figments of my imagination – although I must admit that there is probably a bit of me in both female characters: Vera and Deidre.
5)Did you experience writers block? If so, what did you do to get rid of it?
All writers experience writers block and I’m no exception. When I have experienced times when I couldn’t really get anything down on paper, I have used that time to research something in connection with what I was working on.
6)What are you working on now?
At the moment – nothing. I have 2 manuscripts for children’s books that need illustrations and I’m exploring the ideas of having my novel turned into a screen play.
7)What is your favorite scene in your book?
I think my favorite scene is where Deidre (Dee) realizes that she must break her relationship with Mark. Another favorite scene is where Dee and Stu, the closet gay in the story, share a motel room.
8)Were there any scenes that were cut in the editing process you wish had made it into the book?
Nothing has been cut from the original manuscript. I decided on a couple of word changes and I took out a couple of sentences but that is all.
9)Can you give us one fun fact we might not know about your book ?Something about the story itself or the writing process?
I think the quirkiest story I can share is that I actually trashed this novel after I wrote it. My good friend Helene retrieved it saying, “You are NOT throwing this away!” So I took it back, shelved it somewhere, and practically forgot about it until last year when I began seeing things in the news about teachers that are actually in my novel that I wrote back in 1991. I said to myself: “Wow! Everything I’m reading is actually in my book!
10)How did you get into writing? Did you always want to become a writer?
Even as a child, I loved to write but I never really thought about doing it seriously. As an adult, I wrote occasional articles for small magazines and newspapers. Then back in the late 80’s, early 90’s, I started toying around with writing fiction – short stories,poetry,and another novel that I trashed completely.
11)If you were stranded on a desert island, what are three material things you couldn't be without?
Aha! First of all, because I’m a Third Order Carmelite, I would definitely need my Liturgy of the Hours book so I could recite the Divine Office which we do every day. I would want a supply of writing materials, of course. Hopefully, I would have a pair of sunglasses with me.
12)What are you reading now?
I just finished Melissa Foster’s “Chasing Amanda” which is wonderful! I haven’t picked out the next book yet…much too busy right now!
13)Which author has inspired you most and why?
I can’t limit it to one author so here is a short list: Maya Angelou, Paulo Coelho, Mitch Album, and of course – the Gospel writers.
14)What advice would you give aspiring authors?
My advice is simply this:
* Identify your target audience.
* Network with like-minded people.
* Prepare an outline of what you want to accomplish.
* Set a date for completion.
* think POD: persistence,organized, determined
15)As a Quotes Person I always like to ask To finish off, do you have a quote or poem that has stuck with you over the years and what is the story behind it?
This isn’t exactly a quote or a poem but it certainly is something that has taken root and shaped my life. I refer to it in the Epilogue of “Entering the Age of Elegance”:
A wise Indian guru once described humans as being a house with four
rooms: the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. He said that we tend
to spend most of our time in only one of those rooms and that it would be
in our best interests to visit each room daily.