Sixteener Victoria J. Coe recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener David Fulk about his MG contemporary fantasy adventure, RAISING RUFUS (June 9, 2015 from Delacorte Press).
About the Author:
David Fulk is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and director, and (now) novelist. He grew up near Chicago and has lived in Missouri, Louisiana, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Belgium, and Wisconsin. He currently lives near Boston with his pet T. rex, Rosie.
About RAISING RUFUS:
Martin Tinker, a shy, studious eleven-year-old, has his small-town world turned upside down when he discovers an ancient, frozen egg in a quarry―and when it thaws and hatches, he finds himself surrogate mom to a baby T. rex! It’s all Martin can handle to keep his fast-growing pet a secret, and he soon realizes he’ll have to uncover his inner hero to save Rufus—or maybe the town?—from a very unhappy fate.
Victoria: I loved this book, David. You had me at T. rex! Seriously, who hasn’t wondered what it’d be like to raise a dinosaur? In secret!
David: First, thank you! I like to think of RAISING RUFUS as an adventure that will play to those kinds of fantasies for boys and girls both.
Victoria: Adventure is the word, all right! This story is full of action, starting with the opening scene.
David: Yes, Martin is out on one of his daily adventures in the wild space behind his house, ready to snag an interesting bug for his collections. He’s so focused on the hunt that it’s not until the bug escapes that he realizes he’s in a quarry. And at first he doesn’t notice the danger signs.
Victoria: And you mean that literally. There are actual posted signs that say “Danger! Keep out!”
David: Right. But instead of realizing he shouldn’t be there and running the other way, Martin’s fascinated. He sees ice mixed in with the rock in the quarry wall and it’s melting in the sun and he’s mesmerized.
Victoria: Until the rocks start falling and he’s trapped below ground!
David: Amazingly, he doesn’t get crushed. He’s stuck in a small opening, sees a narrow passageway, and starts to crawl up. That’s when his knee bangs against an oddly shaped stone…
Victoria: But it’s NOT a stone.
David: Which he learns very quickly! He brings it back to the barn that he uses as a lab. Of course, the “stone” hatches and out comes the baby T. rex he names Rufus.
Victoria: Who imprints on him…
David: As any self-respecting young dinosaur would! Naturally, Martin is forced to keep his growing and very hungry T. rex a secret.
Victoria: What could go wrong?
David: Not a thing. Except for everything that could and does.
Victoria: RAISING RUFUS is a great read!
David: Thanks! I’m glad you can channel your inner middle grader.
Lightning Round Questions
Was the character of Rufus based on one of your pets?
Well, all we had was birds, turtles, and fish, so connecting that to a T. rex would have been a bit of a stretch. I like to think of Rufus as a big, unruly St. Bernard.
Favorite book as a kid?
Surprise! All About Dinosaurs by Roy Chapman Andrews.
Why write for middle grade?
It’s a great genre for heroes who go on adventures they never could’ve imagined.
About the Interviewer:
Victoria J. Coe lives with her family in a one hundred year old school-house on the outskirts of Boston. Her debut middle grade novel, FENWAY & HATTIE (Putnam/Penguin, Feb. 9, 2016), is told from the point of view of Fenway, Hattie’s Jack Russell terrier, and focuses on the pair’s adjustments to their move from the city to the suburbs.