Verbena resident releases book

Published 9:13 am Thursday, January 28, 2021

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

A journey to create a family history about her uncle led Verbena resident Myra Jones to write “Never Give Up: as told by Drolan Chandler.”

The book was released in December, and Jones recently presented a copy to the Chilton/Clanton Public Library.

Jones began working on the book in 1985. She worked on it off and on until 2020.  In the 1990s, Jones started thinking about releasing it as a book after friends found the stories she shared to be interesting.

“In the last two years, I really focused on wrapping it up,” Jones said.

She fully focused on finishing the book in the last two years after she retired.

The book is written in first person from Chandler’s perspective.

“I wrote this in a manner that it would be understood by military and non-military people, and I included over 200 pictures,” Jones said.

The book also includes maps, so the reader can understand the geographical location where the stories are taking place.

As a child, she was “so curious” about Chandler’s life because he would tell stories to the adults at Christmas, but the children were never allowed to listen in.

“He had a good sense of humor,” Jones said. “I would hear them laughing and talking about it and get snippets of it. As I got older, … I decided that I wanted to write it for the family, but as I got into it and (the) research, I saw that so many people could benefit from his courage and strength and his determination that he would survive.”

She said the story would be “inspirational to them in bad times.”

Chandler was a World War II veteran from the Pacific Theater, who was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines.

“He was actually in three different prison camps,” Chandler said.

He was taken to Japan and made to work in mines there.

“For two and a half years, his family didn’t even know he was alive or what had happened to him until they got a postcard from Japan,” Chandler said.

Jones recorded several interviews with Chandler about his life. She also researched the places and events that he was talking about by calling museums and, when it became available, on the internet. She said she was able to get a lot of helpful information as well as permission to use photos and artwork depicting places and things talked about in the book.

Jones said several people were helpful in getting information, and some gave permission to use images that are not usually released.

When she began to gather all the information to get in the right order and polishing the writing, Jones began attending the Shelby County Art Council, Writing and Critique group, where she received input, encouragement and help with proofreading. Jones said Deb Kemper in the group became her mentor and helped her with self-publishing.

Jones said she liked this process because it gave her control over the project.

Completing the book brought “the elations of completing a life-long dream,” Jones said. Family members have also been pleased at seeing the finished result.

Jones said she wishes she had been able to finish it before Chandler died.

The book is available at as well as on Amazon.

A discount of $2.99 is being offered for the book through BookBaby with the coupon code 9VPUZ8.