Welcome to the Guestbook!

I’m always eager to read your comments about my books and stories, so please feel free to pitch in. Here are a few things for you to know:

1) I answer the messages here personally.

2) No message shows up here until I actually answer it to prevent spam and other inappropriate postings. So there will sometimes be a delay before your message posts, especially if I am traveling.

3) Teachers, a gentle request: Please do not have multiple children send me variants of the same message. A group email is much easier to respond to and not such a drain on my time. My thanks in advance for being alert to this.

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897 entries.
Eric wrote on March 26, 2021
Hello Mr. Coville! Serious question here. I was wondering how you deal with readers (mainly parents) who feel scandalized by the frank portrayal of homosexuality in The Skull of Truth. As a kid myself when I first read the book back in 1999, I admit I was made uncomfortable by that aspect (it just wasn't a cultural conversation we were having at any kind of mainstream level at that time), but ultimately it shook me out of my complacency and made me examine my biases. I'm glad art exists to make us uncomfortable sometimes. For my part, I wish I could explain to those sorts of parents that they don't do their children any favors by hiding them from the truths of the world.
Reply by Bruce Coville
Hi, Eric -
Many thanks for this message. I'm quite delighted to know how SKULL OF TRUTH impacted you, personally. It was one of the first middle grade novels to acknowledge that gayness exists, and I take a great deal of pride in that. Some people have said it was brave to included that, but it never felt brave to me. It just felt as if that was what should happen in the story. (Every time someone says that something I have written, or said in a lecture, was brave, my feeling is I was either too dumb or too cranky to be afraid!)
I got less pushback than I expected, though I am sure that there are things that I don't know about - most especially schools and libraries that simply never bought the book because of it's content, despite it being part of an extremely successful series. The only specific penalty I've paid for my "bravery" was having four "Christian" schools drop out of a tour I was doing in Korea when someone read the book and felt scandalized.
So I really haven't had to deal with much direct confrontation on the book. When it does come up, my response varies with what I can sense about whoever is complaining. Is this person amenable to reason? Can I have a conversation? Or am I facing a mind that is locked and closed. The basic point I want to make if I have someone I can have a conversation with is that this is simply an acknowledgment of reality, and a situation that many, many families will at some point find themselves face to face with. Pretending it's not real will not make it go away!

Many thanks for this message. I truly appreciate it.
BC
Daniela from Hanover, Germany wrote on March 24, 2021
Hello!
At age 16 or so I saw the first book of your unicorn chronicles series and I absorbed it immediately. To be fair, it was a bit silly at the time, seeing as how I was already 16 years old but still reading about unicorns and what not! Unfortunately I lost the name of the book for years but thanks to a lot of googling I found it and bought a copy two years ago! Whenever people see it they ask about it and why it looks in near-perfect condition, assuming that I've had the book when I was younger. I really can't explain why I grew so attached to your book (haven't read the others yet, I'm sorry! School and work is a mess right now!) at that age, I guess I just felt safe? Anyways, thank you for writing the book, truly, it was really nice to read it. Greetings from Germany! Auf Wiedersehen!
Reply by Bruce Coville
Hi, Daniela -
Well, you would have to work hard to convince ME that there is anything silly about continuing to find unicorns fascinating, but I suppose I constitute an unusual case . . . ;>
Anyway, I'm delighted to know that you continue to have a fondness for that first book. Thanks for taking the time to let me know!

All good wishes.
BC
Navya wrote on March 22, 2021
Dear Bruce,
I have read The Monster's Ring it was AMAZING !
I really LOVE to write and your book has inspired me so MUCH!
I had a few questions since I've wrote a few books my self but..... little problemo I do NOT know how to publish my spectacular books!! Can you tell me how you got your thrilling books out and into public?
Thank You,
Navya
Reply by Bruce Coville
Dear Navya -
I'm delighted to know that you liked THE MONSTER'S RING so much . . . and even more delighted to know that it has inspired you to start writing on your own.
As far as getting your books published . . . that is such a big topic that there are entire books written about the matter! I do know one terrific book for helping young writers improve their work. It is called SPILLING INK and it is by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, two terrific writers themselves. I highly recommend it.
My own single most important piece of advice for young writers is NEVER GIVE UP! It took me seven years from the time I started trying to write to the time that I sold my first book. If I had given up . . . well, I wouldn't be writing this message to your right now! ;>

Wishing you the best of luck with your writing,
BC
sally M wrote on March 22, 2021
hello Bruce,
I am a big fan of all your books! You really inspired me to write books of my own( I really LOVE writing) !!
Reply by Bruce Coville
Hi, Sally -

I'm glad you love my books, and I am quite flattered to know that they have inspired you to write books of your own. It's great that you are enjoying the process. Best of luck - and never give up!

BC
gr.3Hum from Calgary wrote on March 22, 2021
Dear Mr. Coville,
Our class really enjoyed reading The Monster’s Ring. It was extraordinary and humourous. It started as realistic fiction and quickly became a fantasy story. Here are some questions that we have about this story.
-Will you write another book about The Monster’s Ring? Will Russell appear inanother book?
-Did you write books as a kid? Can you tell us about any stories you wrote as a kid?
-What made you want to become an author?
-We are interested in publishing stories too. Can you tell us about the process and how you published this book?
-In your other books, did you write about other students? (you mentioned in your author’s note that Russell and Eddie were modeled after read students)
-Are any of your character traits in this story? (especially, character traits of Russell)
We enjoyed the twist of the story! You really inspired us with this story! We think you should write part 2 of this story!
Mrs. Hum’s grade 3 class
Reply by Bruce Coville
Ahoy, Mrs. Hum's Class -
Lovely to hear from you. I am delighted that you enjoyed THE MONSTER'S RING so much. It was the very first novel I published, and it thrills me that people are still reading it.
My goodness, you do have a lot of questions!
Will I write another book about Russell? Probably not. I wanted to write a sequel when it was first published, but my editor was not interested. But I loved the Magic Shop too much to let go of it, so my next idea was to do a book of short stories about the shop. Except I tend to get carried away, and most of the times when I tried to write a short story, it turned into a book instead. That's why there are now FIVE Magic Shop books!
Russell and Eddie are the only characters I have based completely on my students. Characters in my other books are made up, but I use a lot of what I learned about kids from (a) being a kid myself and (b) working as a teacher for seven years.
The first time I wanted to be a writer was when I in 6th grade. Other careers appealed to me, but the desire to write never went away.
As far as getting published, that is a huge topic, so big that whole books are written about it! The best book I know for kids about HOW to write better is SPILLING INK by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter. I highly recommend it.

Thanks for writing - and keep reading!

All best,
BC
Mrs. Jana Hodson and her Grade 3's from Calgary, Canada wrote on March 15, 2021
Dear Mr. Coville,
We just finished reading "The Monster's Ring". We loved it! It was funny and adventurous and cool. But we want to know more, so here are some of the questions we came up with. Did Eddie and Russell become friends? Did Russell change into a monster every full moon? How did he hide it from his mom and dad? What happened to the ring, did it fall off or did he absorb it? Was the full moon monster the same monster that Russell had turned into? Does Russell wake up naked every time he turns into a monster? We know that the magic shop makes 5 more stops, will there be anymore? We are about to start our individual novel study of Jeremy Thatcher, We can't wait to find out what happens next in the magic shop!
Mrs. H. and the Grade 3's
Reply by Bruce Coville
Ahoy Mrs. Hodson's Class -
Thanks for your message. I'm delighted to know that you enjoyed THE MONSTER'S RING so much. You might like knowing that I wrote the first version while I was teaching 4th grade, and Russell and Eddie are both based on real life kids I had in my class!
You asked some good questions. Russell and Eddie definitely became friendly, but I am not sure they actually became real friends.
Russell does indeed become a monster every full moon. How he hides it from his mother and father would be one of the main points of the story if I were ever to write a sequel. Since I haven't written a sequel, I never really worked that out!
I believe Russell absorbed the ring.
The "full moon monster" would be something else that I would have to work out if I wrote a sequel. For example, it might be that it is a cycle - he becomes the first monster on the first full moon, the second monster on the next full moon, and the mega-monster on the third full moon. And then it would start all over again. He only loses his clothes with the third transformation, but once he knew it was coming, he would probably strip first and put his clothes in a safe place so he could get back into them once he turned back in the morning.
Wow! That's more that I've thought about what would happen next than I ever did before. Great questions!
I hope you'll enjoy the rest of the Magic Shop books. There are no plans for another one right now, but you never know . . .

Your friend,
Bruce Coville
Petrina M. from Everett wrote on March 12, 2021
Hello,
I have greatly loved reading the Unicorn Chronicles and recently have been looking to purchase all of them for my own collection and was wondering when The Last Hunt would be back in print? It's currently really hard to find and I know there's an audio book for it but I would really like to have a hard copy. Thank you for this series!
Reply by Bruce Coville
Hi, Petrina -
So . . . about THE LAST HUNT. Here is a rather lengthy answer: First off,
I am very sorry about the situation. For reasons I have never understood, Scholastic failed to release a paperback edition. I'm still upset about that, and felt it was a great betrayal of my readers.
On the good news side, I have regained the rights to the books and I am working on bringing them back in print myself. The plan is to split up the totally-out-of-proportion third and fourth volumes (split DARK WHISPERS in half, and THE LAST HUNT into 3 parts) to make a seven part series that is more evenly divided.
The first half of Book 3 is now available as ENTER THE WHISPERER, and just a few days ago I sent the second half, which will be called SECRET OF THE DELVERS, to the designer. I am hoping to have it available on my website and at Amazon in the next 5 or 6 weeks.
So now it's on to THE LAST HUNT! I am hoping it will move faster than SECRET OF THE DELVERS, which required substantial revisions. (It has FIVE new chapters about Lightfoot!) My goal is to have all three volumes out before the end of the year, in the first uniform edition the series has ever had!

All best,
BC
Lee P from Wigan, UK wrote on March 11, 2021
Wow, a guestbook! So 90s, I love it. Thanks for writing the "My teacher is an alien" series. I adored them growing up and it's a topic I've been fascinated with ever since. Led to a lot of knowledge! <3
Reply by Bruce Coville
Hey, Lee -
Glad you have such fond memories of the MY TEACHER books. It's always a great thing to find that someone who read them as a kid still thinks of them with pleasure as an adult! Thanks for checking in here.

90's guy,
Bruce Coville
Amy from Columbus wrote on February 10, 2021
Hello Bruce,
I wanted to let you know that your unicorns are the most powerful and beautiful ones that I've read in fiction. I've held them close to my heart while growing up, and they still feel the most... real somehow, the most true to themselves. I was wondering if your personal conception of what a unicorn really is, at its core, has changed over the course of your writing career.
Reply by Bruce Coville
Hi, Amy -
I can't tell you how much I appreciate this message. You got exactly what I was trying to do with the unicorns of Luster - and the message makes me feel that I succeeded.

My second book, way back in 1979, was a picture book called SARAH'S UNICORN. I tried in that book to be completely true to unicorn myth and legend. I think working from that starting point my conception of unicorns has not so much changed as simply grown richer and deeper as I have had the good fortune to continue writing about them.

I will confess that (being old and cranky) I get pretty annoyed at glittery, sparkly, silly, pink unicorns. UGH!

Again, thanks for the kind words. Stay safe, stay well . . . and keep reading!

BC
Mercedes Logsdon from Vancouver wrote on February 2, 2021
I found some old music that took me back to reading the unicorn chronicles however I could not remember the name of books for anything. After 3 hours of searching goodreads I finally found them. Thank you so much for this series. It helped get me through one of the hardest parts in my life. Thank you so much for bringing the books back! I'm waiting to receive the first three books to read them to my children.
Reply by Bruce Coville
Hi, Mercedes -
Thanks for this lovely message. You are not the first to tell me that the Unicorn Chronicles helped during a difficult time in their life. It is one of the greatest honors I can think of to know that my books have done this.

All good wishes,
BC