1. What drew you to young adult fantasy writing?
A. Oh, gosh – a variety of things. I suppose the biggest factor was that most of my favorite books that I’d read fell into that category. Essentially, I wanted to write the same kind of thing that I most enjoyed reading. Which only makes sense – why try to write the kind of thing you don’t like to read? ;>
One aspect of YA fantasy that I especially love is that it gives you license to write about big ideas in a way that is sometimes constrained in contemporary fiction – things like Honor, Truth, Duty (with the capital letters intended).
2. You’re so accomplished in your writing career; do you have a favorite main character that you love to bring to life?
You do understand that’s a little like asking me to state which of my children I love the most, don’t you? ;> On the other hand you phrased it better than most folks do. “Which do you love to bring to life?” is considerably different than simply “Which do you love the most?” which is how this kind of question is more typically phrased.
So, thinking of it your way, I would have to say that Medafil, the crotchety gryphon from “The Unicorn Chronicles” is one of the most enjoyable characters to write. Coming up with new cuss phrases for him to sputter is always fun.
To broaden that idea, I would say that as a general rule “sidekick” characters are almost always the most fun to write because they can have broader personalities, and don’t usually have as serious things to deal with as the main characters. Medafil, the Squijum, the Dimblethum, and Grimwold from the Chronicles were all a blast in that regard (though in the later books the Dimblethum does have serious issues to deal with.)
For the same reason Urk the Toad in the “Moongobble and Me” series is fun, as was Igor in Goblins in the Castle.
3. Do you have a favorite fantasy writer? Do you have any authors that you would recommend?
I love fantasy so much, and have read so much of it, that naming a favorite author is difficult. Still, if pressed to the wall, it would almost certainly be J.R.R. Tolkien, who was the greatest of us all.
My personal hero as a writer of fantasy for children and teens is Lloyd Alexander. I read his “Chronicles of Prydain” series over and over, and found it hilarious and ultimately deeply moving every single time. Lloyd’s combination of high adventure and low humor, great characters, fabulous action, and deep moral dilemmas is just about perfect.
Other fantasy writers I greatly admire include Susan Cooper, Natalie Babbitt, Tamora Pierce, Patricia McKillip, Jane Yolen, and Phillip Pullman.
Read the rest of the interview here: http://www.yafantasyguide.com/author-interviews/bruce-coville-interview.htm