Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The (YA) Bookcase Interviews John Coy

A couple weeks ago The Bookcase was at the Children's Book Breakfast, a breakfast for librarians, teachers, and book lovers to meet authors and buy their books. We had tons of authors on the panel--and lots of good books! Among some of the outstanding authors, was John Coy. I met him at the checkout counter, (I was 'the Runner'), and he was nice enough to check out our blog and agree to an interview! 

Here is a little bit about John Coy 

John Coy has won many awards for his pictures books, and middle grade and young adult novels. In his interview he talks about Box Out and Crack Back, which are his young adult works. He's a sports enthusiast and his books appeal to athletes, sport lovers, and reluctant readers. 

4 on 4 Series
Coy's young adult novels

John Coy Interview

BC:  You've written for so many age groups, what is the best part of each of them?

JC:  The delight on the faces of young children when a picture book is read to them is a treat. Even if they have heard the story before, many of them act like it is brand new. Picture books are designed to be read by an adult to a child and it is a great gift to provide something that can result in such sharing.

The 4 for 4 middle grade series has been a lot of fun because this is the age when many students are deciding how much they like reading. To provide books that connect with their genuine interests is cool and having someone really connect strongly with a character is rewarding.

YA novels are so much fun because teens let you know when they like something. I get so many letters and emails from students who have connected strongly with CRACKBACK and BOX OUT and I appreciate every one. Teens are also great about telling their friends when they like a book, and this is a great help in getting the word out.

BC:  Have you always been an athlete? Is writing books with sports natural for you? 

JC:  Yes, I grew up running and playing and chasing balls. It’s deep in the fiber of my body and I love writing about sports. I write books that I would have liked to read, and I wish there would have been the broad range of sports books to read that there are now. We have some excellent authors who know what they’re writing about when they write about sports. We still could use more women writing about girls and sports, though.

BC:  Of all the characters you've created, which is your favorite to write?

JC: I’ll take James in STRONG TO THE HOOP. He gets into a game with the older kids and has to find out if he’s ready. The story is a nice metaphor for all kinds of things and I’ve been surprised how strongly little kids are drawn to it. I also had to do a lot of research on that book. That meant I could go play basketball every day and justify it as research.

BC:  Have you ever encountered writer's block? Or have you always had a book to write? You have so many!

JC:  This is one of the joys of writing in different forms. If I’m stuck on a novel, I can work on a picture book manuscript or the other way around. Working on different things helps expand my view and allows me to see new possibilities.

BC:  Do you see yourself venturing into other genres? Mystery, romance, fantasy, even writing for adults, etc? 

JC:  Yes, part of what I love about writing is trying new things. I wouldn’t close the door on any of these and hope to surprise myself about what I choose to work on in the future.

BC:  What is something we could find you doing besides writing?

JC:  Taking a yoga class with Ben Lee at the Midtown Y in Minneapolis or Joy Laine at Ramsey Junior High in St. Paul. Both are outstanding teachers who I learn so much from them. 
I’m off to class now.

Thanks John for your wonderful interview! We definitely hope to see more books from you in the future. Especially more young adult and middle grade! 

To learn more about John Coy and his books, visit his official website, here
Read a review of Love of the Game (one of Coy's middle grade novels) from one of our own reviewers! 

Happy reading! 
Rachel, age 16

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