Bruce Coville (Who Wrote That?)

Bruce Coville
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Home Bruce Coville. Bruce Coville Move your mouse over image or click to enlarge. Bruce Coville. Author of the Magic Shop series and The Unicorn Chronicles , Bruce Coville has captured the imaginations of young readers for more than 20 years with tales of talking toads, Shakespearean spouting … See Below for Full Description. SKU: IB Add to Wishlist Add to Compare Share. Details Author of the Magic Shop series and The Unicorn Chronicles , Bruce Coville has captured the imaginations of young readers for more than 20 years with tales of talking toads, Shakespearean spouting skulls, and dragon hatchlings.

Further reading. Box features. Web sites. Available Formats Print. The Vietnam War was escalating, the Civil Rights movement was in high gear, and the "counterculture" of hippies and flower children was beginning to make the evening news. I ignored most of this during the summer between my junior and senior years. I was working on my first novel, which started as a short story but spun out of control so that it was two years and pages before I was able to write "The End.

It was filled with vigorous story telling energy—but nowhere near ready for publication. Senior year started and so did my political awakening.

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Kevin Mack, a good friend who came from a Quaker family, started feeding me information about why the war was wrong. Protests against the war were escalating. The presidential campaign started and a man named Eugene McCarthy electrified students across the country with his clear stand against the war. That spring Martin Luther King was assassinated. A few months later, it was Robert Kennedy. Nothing seemed to make sense any more.

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We had lurched from the world of Leave it to Beaver to the world of Easy Rider and no one seemed to know how we got there. Some time during my junior or senior year I read an article about operating your own trading boat in the Windward Islands a string of islands in the Caribbean and began dreaming of doing that. At the same time I was making plans to go to college, and was accepted at Duke University. Graduation came. I was salutatorian—an honor that prompted my mother to remark that if I had only tried a little bit harder I could have been valedictorian. As salutatorian, you are expected to make a speech at graduation.

Inspired by all that was going on at the time, I wrote a passionate speech about social justice. But when I submitted it to my advisor, she told me I could not deliver it. So I wrote another speech.

go to link It was approved, but I had no intention of giving it. This was the age of protest, and I was going to protest the attempt to keep me from making the speech I had earned the right to give. For a time I planned on doing something very dramatic: I would hold up the speech that had been approved, tear it up, talk about what had happened, then give the first speech that I had written.

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I figured I would be hustled off the stage before I could finish, but I wanted to let everyone know what was going on. But as I thought about it, I realized something that has become one of my guiding principals: I had to choose between making an emotionally satisfying scene or trying to accomplish what I really wanted, which was to give the first speech I had written, telling people what I thought and believed. In the end, I simply went to the podium with my original speech and delivered it. I don't know for sure what would have happened if I had tried to make a big deal out of it.

I do know that by doing it this way I didn't give anyone an excuse to stop me; if the advisor or the principal had tried, they would have been seen as the ones causing a disruption. I was delighted when one of the other senior class advisors, who had not been aware of the censorship attempt, sought me out after the ceremony and pumped my hand, saying, "That was a hell of a speech, Bruce! This was my first experience with the excitement and power of public speaking. It would be many years before I came back to it, and grew comfortable with it.

Bruce Coville: The SCBWI Team Blog Pre-Conference #LA11SCBWI Interview

To my considerable surprise, speaking is now one of the most important strands of my professional life. At my graduation party I received many gifts, including enough cash, I realized, to get myself a ticket to the Caribbean.

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I had to work that summer to earn money for college, my parents were adamant about that. So off I went.

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Branches whipped through the forest. As I was lying in bed, in the spot halfway between waking and sleeping, I saw an image of a princess dressed in a beautiful gown. Bruce Coville is often asked how he names his characters. Authors, American—20th century—Biography— Juvenile literature. One of the things you have to do on your way to becoming an author is write your way through all the other authors who have influenced you—write past them until you find your own true voice.

This was not a well planned adventure. I headed for New York City, figuring that since it was summer it would be off season for a tropical paradise and I would have no problem buying an airplane ticket to the islands. As it turned out, I couldn't get a reservation for two weeks, though the airlines told me I could check on standby every day.

What I had really wanted to do was work my way down on a boat. But I got laughed at down at the docks, where they told me I'd have to join the union and unless I had a relative who was already a member, the waiting list was years long. Two strikes, and an important lesson for a writer: do your research! Having no intention of going home at this point, I was stranded in Manhattan. In the lobby was a table where you could sign up for temporary work, and I took advantage of it, not wanting to draw down my little bankroll any more than necessary.

I ended up washing dishes in a seafood restaurant, where I scrubbed away grease that seemed to have accumulated for years.

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They must have thought I did a good job because they gave me a fabulous meal in addition to my pay. The next night I got a job bussing tables at Dubrow's cafeteria in Brooklyn. I was renewing my room at the Y on a daily basis, always hoping that I would be able to get my flight to the islands on the next day.

One day I was standing in line to renew my room when two older men came along the line, asking if anyone wanted to share a double room they had rented, as one of them was moving on. Sharing rent on a double was cheaper than a single, so this appealed to me. The gentleman I was now rooming with, Ramlakan Panchu, was from Trinidad—not far from where I was aiming to end up—and we struck up a pleasant friendship.

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This change of rooms had an unforeseen side effect. My memory was that on my last phone call to my parents I had told them I would call again when I got to the islands. They believed I had said I would call every day until I got to there. So when I did not call the next day, or the next, they got worried. Even worse, when they called the YMCA they were told I was no longer staying there this was not true, but it was what they were told. Not surprisingly, they panicked.

I continued in New York, exploring the city, bussing tables at Dubrow's, waiting for a flight out, blissfully unaware that my parents, my grandparents, and my friends were all convinced I had been killed, or worse. Mom and Dad called the Y every day probably several times a day. Finally a more alert clerk put them in touch with me.

About the Author

Grade Engaging cover portraits introduce readers to these prolific writers. Wide margin space results in a clean, neat appearance and ease of reading. Bruce Farrington Coville is an author of young adult fiction. Enraptured with reading novels at a young age, Coville was first published in and has over

I suspect they did not know whether to rejoice or to take a flight down and kill me themselves. Not long after, I got my flight out of town: first stop, Puerto Rico, where I was to spend the night and then take one of the little island hopper planes over to St. What I had not been dreaming of was the wave of loneliness and homesickness that overwhelmed me when I got there. For someone thinking of himself as a lone wolf and a bold adventurer, it was somewhat embarrassing.

I had traveled all over New York City for two weeks, often returning from Brooklyn in the middle of the night, and had never had a problem. I was walking up a hill to a hotel where I planned to ask for a job, when I was grabbed from behind. Someone jabbed a knife point at my back and demanded my wallet.

I pulled it out.