By Amy Wenk
Buckhead resident Paul Weathington has a stressful day job.
As a defense attorney in medical malpractice cases, the 48-year-old deals daily with tragic cases.
“We defend the doctors and the hospitals,” said Weathington, who has practiced law for 24 years. “Every case that we get … is some sort of tragedy for someone. There are amputations. There is paralysis. There is death, and there are childbirth injuries. You might take the deposition of a mother who has lost a child.”
In addition, Weathington runs his own law firm, The Weathington Firm, P.C., which adds pressures to his daily schedule.
“I started my own law firm three years ago,” he said. “We have 11 lawyers and 30 employees. I’m handling upwards of 100 lawsuits at any given time.”
It is no wonder then that he sought a creative outlet from the legal business. Last spring, Weathington started writing children’s books in his spare time.
“I’ve always been good with words,” said Weathington, who attended The University of West Georgia on a full debating scholarship. “I knew I could make cute rhymes. I also thought I could have some subtle prose and illustrations that would appeal to parents, as well as the children.”
Inspired by his own seven children and many years reading bedtime stories, Weathington began composing clever and educational stories for young audiences based on night time themes.
“I have been trying to get kids to sleep for 23 years,” said Weathington, whose children range in ages from 5 to 23. “In reading books to the kids at night, I just thought ‘I can do that,’ and ‘I can do that better.’”
Just a year later, Weathington has authored about 20 stories, three of which are now in production through his publishing company, JuneKat Books. The company was started this January and is named after his two youngest children Paul, Jr., “June,” and Katherine,“Kat.”
The first book published was “Bed Bugs Don’t Bite,” which is based around the common bedtime phrase told to children. In this story, children learn that, in fact, bed bugs don’t bite, “they party all night.”
“I’ll go places and kids will recognize the book, and they still recite that line,” said Weathington.
Weathington’s other two published books, “Counting Sheep Doesn’t Make Me Sleep” and “Where is the Man on the Moon,” also draw upon familiar bedtime notions. “Counting Sheep” is a rhyming tale about a child’s attempt to go to sleep by counting sheep. Instead of seeing sheep, he sees many of his favorite things and has a restful night’s sleep. The “Man on the Moon” book tells the story of a young girl trying to spot the man who lives on the moon.
All three books are early reader books, meant for ages two to eight. They are all illustrated by Jonathan Bass. In the future, Weathington said he intends to use different illustrators to keep his books diverse.
“It is quite an undertaking actually to get three of them to hardcover as we have already done,” said Weathington. “I hope to have two more in hardcover by the end of June.”
Weathington also has plans to release a series of chapter books called “The Amazing Adventures of Ned Neddington.” In the stories, Ned travels to a variety of locations and in the process progresses from a nerdy introvert to a young Casanova.
So far, Weathington said his books are being well received by teachers, librarians, classrooms and locally-owned shops, as well as his readers.
“I think that coming at this as a very humble novice in the children’s book world, I have been very excited at how people who have seen the books have received them and the commercial outlets which carry the book,” he said. “We had a book signing recently, and I would say there were more than 100 people there. We sold upwards of a hundred books at that book signing.”
Weathington said he is pleased to have launched a side career as a children’s author.
“It’s extremely rewarding to realize you are producing some sort of literary work that other people are reading and enjoying,” said Weathington. “It is a nice diversion for me from the stress of the legal business.”
“Bed Bugs Don’t Bite” is available at the Children’s Prep Shop in Peachtree Battle Shopping Center and The Learning Express at the corner of Roswell and Wieuca Roads. “Counting Sheep” is in stock at The Children’s Prep Shop in Buckhead. The books can also be accessed at the libraries of public and private schools in the area, said Weathington.
For more information, visit JuneKatBooks.com.