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Bruce Coville: An Illustrated Biography

I was born in Syracuse, New York, on May 16, 1950. Except for one year that I spent at Duke University in North Carolina, I lived in and around central New York until September of 1990, when I moved to New York City, where I lived for two years. Now I am back in Syracuse.

Bruce then Bruce now
Then and now. The infamous raised eyebrow, perfected at age one.

I grew up around the corner from my grandparents' dairy farm, which was three miles outside of a small town called Phoenix. As a child I loved Mary Poppins and Dr. Dolittle, and I can remember getting up ahead of everyone else in the family so that I could huddle in a chair and readThe Voyages of Dr. Doolittle.

I loved snow days!
I loved snow days!
I also read lots of things that people consider junk (Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, and zillions of comic books). My only real regret is the time I spent watching television, when I could have been reading instead. (After all, mind is a terrible thing to waste!) The first time I can remember thinking that I would like to be a writer came in sixth grade, when our teacher, Mrs. Crandall, gave us an extended period of time to write a long story. I loved doing it. I started working seriously at becoming a writer when I was seventeen.

Like most people, I was not able to start selling my stories right away. So I had many other jobs along the way to becoming a writer, including toymaker, gravedigger, cookware salesman, and assembly line worker. Eventually I became an elementary teacher, and worked with second and fourth graders.

Teaching in the fall of 1978
Teaching in the fall of 1978

When I was nineteen I married Katherine Dietz, who lived right around the corner from me. She was (and is) a wonderful artist, and we began trying to create books together. However it was not until 1977 that we finally sold our first book, which was called The Foolish Giant. We did two other books together—Sarah’s Unicorn and The Monster’s Ring

Kathy and Bruce
Kathy and Bruce

Kathy and I have three children: a son, Orion, born in 1970; a daughter, Cara, born in 1975; and another son, Adam, born in 1981.

Though we lived apart for many years, Kathy and I are now sharing a house again and happily working on new projects, such as the Moongobble And Me series. Sharing the house with us are two cats—Dickens, a large bundle of white fluff, and Mo, a sweet tabby cat who came to us via Tammy Pierce. I also have a cat named Perdita living in my office, which is in a separate building. “Perdita” was the lost girl in Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale, and this Perdita was also a lost girl, so the name seems to fit.

Kathy and I have done many more books together, including Goblins in the Castle, Aliens Ate My Homework, and The World’s Worst Fairy Godmother

I feel like a very lucky person. From the time I was young, I had a dream of becoming a writer. Now that dream has come true, and I am able to make my living doing something that I really love.