Pint-sized interviews that also leave you smiling.
I’m so proud to begin this new addition to my blog with an interview with author Bruce Coville. I had the pleasure of meeting Bruce at the SCBWI-Oregon Silver Falls Retreat and he generously agreed to answer my questions. He’s written over 90 children’s books, including middle-grade and YA novels, and picture books, amongst others. His most current project is Full Cast Audio, a company he founded to create unabridged, full cast recordings of great books for young readers. Maybe we should re-define the term, “Jack of all Trades” to “Bruce of all trades.”
What is the number one piece of advice you would give to someone who is just getting into the field or writing for children?
Join the SCBWI! Really, the networking, the information, the connections, the conferences all make for a priceless resource. I should make a disclaimer: I’m on the Board of Advisors. On the other hand, it’s not a paid position. I serve there because they save me so much time, since whenever someone comes to me for advice I ask if they’ve joined, and if they haven’t I say, “Join the SCBWI, read all their material, and if you still have questions come on back and we’ll talk.” But no one needs to come back, because it’s all there.
What advice would you give to a newly published author?
You mean other than “Don’t quit your day job?” Basically, it would be to be patient and don’t take anything too seriously. Some people rocket to the top, but most careers are built slowly (and painfully) one book at a time. Also, learn to negotiate. Most people are shy about this, but there are books and recorded programs that will help you learn this essential skill. You’re trying to create art, but this is also your business, and don’t forget that!
What’s your favorite children’s joke?
Well, I already told you my favorite one, but it’s so dependent on visual and sound effects that it doesn’t work to write it down. After that it’s probably:
Q. What’s the difference between roast beef and pea soup?
A. Well, anyone can roast beef.
(Now, that’s way too funny!)