Author Dr. Paul Thornton | Between The Covers…
By day, Dr. Thornton is an Executive Director of Continuing Education at Florida Gulf Coast University but still makes time to pursue his passion of writing. His soon-to-be-released non-fiction book, “The Joy of Cruising” is a compendium of real stories from people about their favorite hobby: cruising!
This book is not Dr. Thornton’s first non-fiction book to hit the market. However, it is a fun book I imagine written with much more ease than his first release.
In Dr. Thornton’s first book, he describes hearing these words, “You’ll be dead in six months.” In a memoire called “White Man’s Disease” – which was not about race, but rather a serious and potentially fatal health condition, the reader learns affects only mostly older, white men. When Dr. Thornton received this devastating diagnosis, it put this father and husband on a terrifying path where no one knew what the outcome would be. This book went on to win several awards because of his raw, poignant, funny and compelling writing style.
Dr. Thornton wrote that book to help other people. And he has a long history of doing that. He was raised in Brooklyn and Long Island, New York where he worked at a VA hospital in high school. He knew then that he would pursue a career in the military so he could continue to help soldiers. At 17, he enlisted in the army and trained to be a mental health specialist. He was stationed at a mental health clinic in Fort Benning, Georgia, where he worked with psychiatrists, psychologists, and other professionals.
Working with these well-educated colleagues, encouraged Dr. Thornton to take college classes on nights and weekends. He earned his Bachelors degree around the time he completed his 3-year enlistment. But he didn’t stop there. He then earned a Masters degree in business and joined a large corporation where he enjoyed a successful career as a financial executive. Years later, Mr. Thornton earned an EdH from the University of Delaware.
He has had some interesting things happen in his career. He owned a chain of retail stores, briefly served as a mayoral appointee in city government, and moved into higher education–first as a college professor and then as an administrator. Because of his own journey of being educated as an adult, his passion is to see other adults get educated too. Dr. Thornton knows it’s never too late to get your education and he hopes his journey inspires other people to go back to school.
Since his first book didn’t come out until 2016. I asked Dr. Thornton what finally inspired him to write it. “I was moved to write my first book after delivering a speech at my daughter’s wedding. I found the experience of speaking about some intimate truths for the first time in public to be incredibly liberating. I decided to write a book expounding upon what I spoke about and found it cathartic.”
Since Mr. Thornton was set on a path of helping others at such a young age, I asked him why he felt he needed to tell his story.
“For the first book, “White Man’s Disease,” it was a release – it was therapy. It was about telling a story that I felt needed to tell. I also think it was important for readers who ever dealt with trauma because it takes a traumatic event and portrays it in a mostly upbeat, at times humorous, glass half-full way. It also was very provocatively titled – although not a provocative book – and it was important for me that readers get it. Surprisingly, the first time I heard the term “White Man’s Disease,”
which I talk about on the first page, it was used by a white man in context having nothing to do with disease. Furthermore, there were several heroes in “White Man’s Disease” – all but one were white men. The only man who wasn’t a white man was Muhammed Ali, who touched my life in a small but poignant way.”
I was curious what made Dr. Thornton shift from a serious, life-changing memoire to then write a book about people taking cruises!
“For “The Joy of Cruising,” I felt there was a void and an opportunity. There are a number of general cruise industry books, guides, or behind-the-scenes, but not much from the perspective of individuals who act on their passion for cruising. I wanted to tell their stories.”
Dr. Thornton’s Facebook page is filled with fun stories and even some videos of people enjoying their cruise vacations! He even has some well-known bloggers and world travelers on his site. If you’re a fan of cruising or if you are a first-timer, you’re definitely going to want to check out his new book!
Dr. Thornton gave some advice for aspiring authors. “Ensure whatever you choose to write about, ensure you are passionate about it. Thoughts and words will come so much more naturally, and making time to write – instead of looking for time to write – will become a priority.”