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Author Biography: Jo-Ann Mapson, a third generation Californian, grew up in Fullerton as a middle child with four siblings. She dropped out of college to marry, but later finished a creative writing degree at California State University, Long Beach. Following her son's birth in 1978, Mapson worked an assortment of odd jobs teaching horseback riding, cleaning houses, typing resumes, and working retail. After earning a graduate degree from Vermont College's low residency program, she taught at Orange Coast College for six years before turning to full-time writing in 1996. Mapson is the author of the acclaimed novels Shadow Ranch, Blue Rodeo, Hank Chloe, and LovingChloe."The land is as much a character as the people," Mapson has said. Whether writing about the stark beauty of a California canyon or the poverty of an Arizona reservation, Mapson's landscapes are imbued with life. Setting her fiction in the Southwest, Mapson writes about a region that she knows well; after growing up in California and living for a time in Arizona and New Mexico, Mapson lives today in Cosa Mesa, California. She attributes her focus on setting to the influence of Wallace Stegner.Like many of her characters, Mapson has ridden horses since she was a child. She owns a 35-year-old Appaloosa and has said that she learned about writing from learning to jump her horse, Tonto. "I realized," she said, "that the same thing that had been wrong with my riding was the same thing that had been wrong with my writing. In riding there is a term called `the moment of suspension,' when you're over the fence, just hanging in the air. I had to give myself up to it, let go, trust the motion. Once I got that right, everything fell into place."
Set amid the sprawling suburbs and the wild canyons of Southern California, Loving Chloe is the story of a pair of seemingly mismatched lovers: he, a solitary scholar from a staid family; she, a former foster child eking out a marginal existence.
Chloe Morgan, full-time waitress and part-time horse trainer, is called to help a mare through a troubled labor. Despite Chloe's efforts and the ministrations of the vet she calls, the mare dies. The horse's owner takes Chloe to his community college office, where she borrows a shirt from another professor, Henry "Hank" Oliver. This encounter is the beginning of the unlikely relationship between rough, independent Chloe and reserved, settled Hank. When Hank visits Chloe's home, a shack in a squatter's community, she takes him into her arms--and, more reluctantly, into her life. Shortly after Hank and Chloe begin their relationship, Chloe's home is raided. She is injured and arrested, and her beloved dog Hannah runs off. Hank hires a lawyer and brings Chloe to live with him while she recovers.
As the novel chronicles Hank and Chloe's relationship, it explores love in its myriad forms, including the pair's unresolved relationships from the past and a brooding passion for the besieged landscape.