Fuqua, Jonathon Scott 1966-
FUQUA, Jonathon Scott 1966-
PERSONAL: Born March 26, 1966, in Frankfurt, Germany; son of William Claiborne and Mary Cary (a psychologist; maiden name, Monet; present surname, Johnston) Fuqua; married Julie Ann Lauffenburger (an art conservator), September 18, 1993; children: Calla Grace. Education: College of William and Mary, graduated, 1990. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Episcopalian. Hobbies and other interests: Running, history, travel, hiking, reading.
ADDRESSES: Home and offıce—2209 Lake Ave., Baltimore, MD 21213. Agent—Robbie Anna Hare, Goldfarb and Associates, 1501 M St., Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20005. E-mail—jonathon_fuqua@ yahoo.com.
CAREER: Center of Marine Biotechnology, Baltimore, MD, naturalist artist and writer, 1991-93; Baltimore City Life Museums, Baltimore, coordinator of special projects, 1993-96; writer, 1996—. Seminar leader and speaker at middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities.
AWARDS, HONORS: Three fiction awards from Maryland State Arts Council, beginning 1993; Editor's Choice Award, Booklist, among "best books of the year," School Library Journal and Library Journal, and Best Books for the Teen Age designation, New York Public Library, all 1999, and Alex Award, 2000, all for The Reappearance of Sam Webber.
The American Rowhouse Classic Design (illustrations), Stemmer House (Owings Mills, MD), 1997.
The Reappearance of Sam Webber (young adult novel), Bancroft Press (Baltimore, MD), 1999.
Darby (young adult novel), Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
Catie and Josephine, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.
The Willoughby Spit Wonder, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
Author, illustrator, and director of multimedia educational series The Treasure of the Chesapeake, Sea Grant College; author and illustrator of B & O: America's Railroad, for B & O Railroad Museum; author of drama Coffee and Comets and the Starlight Diner, produced c. 1995. Contributor to In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe, Vertigo Comics; contributor of illustrations to "Core Knowledge" textbook series; contributor to Baltimore Sun.
SIDELIGHTS: Jonathon Scott Fuqua told CA: "I was born in Germany, and my family relocated eleven times before I was fourteen years old. New schools and situations were a constant fixture in my life until, on my fourteenth birthday, my mother put a stop to our travels and settled us in her family's home in Norfolk, Virginia. Except for art classes, I had, to that point, never enjoyed school. I was embarrassed that I couldn't memorize simple math formulas and that I spelled so poorly. Even though I was actually a pretty good student, it was always a struggle for me.
"After high school, I attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where I began concentrating on art and art history. During my sophomore year, however, I took an adolescent literature course. Entranced by the language and subject matter, and despite my poor spelling, I tested into a fiction-writing class, where I began scratching out a succession of half-decent autobiographical short stories.
"About that time, a series of tests indicated that I was dyslexic. In a way, I was relieved by the news—to know that it wasn't laziness or stupidity that made school so hard. From then on, my writing really gained confidence and momentum.
"After earning my bachelor's degree, I moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where I penned movie reviews at a small-town paper called the Charlottesville Observer. I also illustrated portions of E. D. Hirsch's critically acclaimed 'Core Knowledge' textbooks. And in the hours between assignments, I wrote constantly.
"A year later, I knew that I had met my future wife, and I moved to Baltimore to be near her. I took a part-time position as a naturalist writer and artist at the Center of Marine Biotechnology. Working hand in hand with scientists, I illustrated specimens, diagramed laboratory techniques, and wrote, illustrated, and directed the multimedia educational series, TheTreasure of the Chesapeake, eventually published by Sea Grant College. All the while, I continued to write, and in 1993 I received a Maryland State Arts Council fiction-writing award for outstanding literary achievement.
"That same year, I switched jobs and took a position at the Baltimore City Life Museums. I was responsible for conducting oral history interviews with a vast spectrum of individuals, including well-known personalities and working-class Baltimoreans. My subject matter extended from the civil rights movement to block-busting, from suburbanization and the fast-food industry to the development of gas stations and Baltimore's jazz scene. The wide variety of research enabled me to write many historical dramas, as well as a large production for the Maryland Science Center, 'Coffee and Comets and the Starlight Diner.' All of that historical research began seeping into my fiction writing, expanding my interests and my subject matter.
"Upon leaving the Baltimore City Life Museums in 1996, I painted a series of postcards and book covers, wrote and illustrated a children's book, B & O: America's Railroad, and had a book of illustrations, America's Classic Rowhouse Design, published. I also completed a manuscript titled 'In the Faded Light of Baltimore,' about a boy thrust into an unfamiliar world. That story would become The Reappearance of Sam Webber.
"Sam Webber was purchased by tiny Bancroft Press in the summer of 1997 and finally hit bookstores in the spring of 1999. Since then, it has received numerous honors and a good deal of critical recognition.
"In the spring of 2002 my second novel, Darby, came out. I couldn't be happier with it. Candlewick Press really took a strong interest in it immediately and helped me hone the book with incredible precision. Based very, very loosely on a series of oral history interviews I conducted in Marlboro County, South Carolina, Darby has a wonderful sound, feel, and cadence. The story deals with an aspect of southern history that has been somewhat lost, and Darby's character was a joy to see through and write from.
"Right now, I continue to write and learn, and my work is maturing and changing appropriately."