Doug Fulton, coach of the Hamilton High Panthers, is certain that transfer student Chris Patton can lead the team to a championship, but a tragic accident has made Chris decide to never play basketball again.
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In His Own Words...
"I can't remember when I first started writing fiction. it was shortly after I began reading fiction, I'm sure.
"I've been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember. As a teenager, I read a lot of the same kinds of books I'm writing-the John R. Tunis sports stories, for example. I also read a lot of history when I was young-and I still do now. It's always fascinated me.
"When I was a high school senior, I was offered two jobs, both of the apprentice sort. One was in a commercial artist's studio, on a recommendation from my art teacher. The other was in the sports department of the local newspaper, following work on the school paper. I took the sportswriting job.
"For four years I worked for the Arkansas Gazette while attending the University of Arkansas, first at Little Rock and then at Fayetteville, covering football, baseball, basketball, boxing, golf, tennis-everything that made up the sports page. After graduation, I joined the Associated Press as a newsman at Little Rock and later worked in AP bureaus in Detroit, Birmingham, and New Orleans. Eventually, I was Chief of Bureau in Little Rock, Indianapolis, Chicago, and Tokyo, Japan. I retired from the Associated Press in 1993 and now live in Evansville, Indiana.
"For me, writing fiction is fun, relaxing, and satisfying-an enjoyable change of pace, a recharging of the batteries.
"My first young adult novel, Running Scared, got started one night in a motel room in Champaign, Illinois, when I had nothing else to do. Before long, the story had me in its grip. The creation of the thing was a fascinating experience. I liked the characters. I liked leading them through their problems to their triumphs. I kept going until one day it was finished.
"I did not set out to write for young people. Looking back, I think it was something of a blessing that 1 did not. As I wrote Running Scared, I imagined the reader as an adult, but after it was finished, it seemed more appropriate for young readers. The result, I think, was that the story did not talk down to teenagers. In every book I've written since, I've tried to keep the same approach."From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-9-Small-town high school basketball coach Doug Fulton needs a good center. He notices a tall, athletic-looking transfer student named Chris Patton and wonders why he's not interested in playing. Some investigation reveals that the boy was involved in an unusual accident that left an opposing player with a damaged eye. Eventually, Chris decides to suit up and the Panthers excel. However, another accident causes him to quit, and it is only after some scrabbling on the part of Fulton and the team manager that Chris is convinced that the injuries caused by his flying elbows are not his fault. At the novel's end, the Panthers seem ready to win a conference championship. This is a fairly common plot from old-fashioned boxing stories-boxer hurts man in ring, etc.-folded into a basketball setting. It's somewhat original in that it is told from the coach's perspective and not a player's. Because of this, Fulton is the only character readers get to know very well. Yet, he's certainly a nice guy and sports fans will appreciate seeing how he tries to mold his team. Although a simple story, it is well told, and readers will appreciate the straightforward plot and action.
Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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