Stanley, George Edward 1942-

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STANLEY, George Edward 1942-

(M. T. Coffin, Franklin W. Dixon, a house pseudonym, Laura Lee Hope, a house pseudonym, Carolyn Keene, a house pseudonym, Adam Mills, Stuart Symons)

Personal

Born July 15, 1942, in Memphis, TX; son of Joseph (a farmer) and Cellie (a nurse; maiden name, Lowe) Stanley; married Gwen Meshew (a Slavic specialist), June 29, 1974; children: James Edward, Charles Albert Andrew. Education: Texas Tech University, B.A., 1965, M.S., 1967; University of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, D.Litt., 1974. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Baptist.

Addresses

Home 5527 Eisenhower Dr., Lawton, OK 73505. Office Department of English, Foreign Languages, Cameron University, 2800 West Gore, Lawton, OK 73505. Agent Susan Cohen, Writers House, Inc., 21 West 26th St., New York, NY 10010. E-mail [email protected] edu.

Career

East Texas State University, Commerce, instructor in English as a foreign language, 1967-69; University of Kansas, Lawrence, instructor in English as a foreign language, 1969-70; Cameron University, Lawton, OK, instructor, 1970-73, assistant professor, 1973-76, associate professor, 1976-79, professor of African and Middle-Eastern languages, 1979, chairman of department of English, Foreign Languages, and Journalism, 1984-2000. Fulbright lecturer at University of Chad, 1973. Director, annual Writers of Children's Literature Conference co-sponsored by Cameron University and the Society of Children's Book Writers; member of faculty, Institute of Children's Literature, Redding Ridge, CT, 1986-92; member of faculty, Writer's Digest School, Cincinnati, OH, 1992-99.


Member

Mystery Writers of America, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Modern Language Association, Middle East Studies Association, American Association of Teachers of Arabic, American Association of Teachers of Turkic Languages, African Language Teachers Association, American Association of Teachers of Persian, American Institute for Yemeni Studies, Syrian Studies Association, National Council of Less-Commonly Taught Languages.

Awards, Honors

Distinguished Faculty Award, Phi Kappa Phi, 1974; Member of the Year Award, Society of Children's Book Writers, 1979; Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame, 1994.

Writings

FICTION; FOR CHILDREN

Mini-Mysteries, Saturday Evening Post Co. (Indianapolis, IN), 1979.

The Crime Lab, illustrated by Andrew Glass, Avon (New York, NY), 1980.

The Case of the Clever Marathon Cheat, Meadowbrook (Minnetonka, MN), 1985.

The Ukrainian Egg Mystery, Avon (New York, NY), 1986.

The Codebreaker Kids!, Avon (New York, NY), 1987.

The Italian Spaghetti Mystery, Avon (New York, NY), 1987.

(Under house pseudonym Laura Lee Hope) The New Bobbsey Twins: The Case of the Runaway Money, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1987.

The Mexican Tamale Mystery, Avon (New York, NY), 1988.

(Under house pseudonym Laura Lee Hope) The Bobbsey Twins: The Mystery on the Mississippi, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1988.

The Codebreaker Kids Return, Avon (New York, NY), 1989.

Hershell Cobwell and the Miraculous Tattoo, Avon (New York, NY), 1991.

Rats in the Attic: And Other Stories to Make Your Skin

Crawl, Avon (New York, NY), 1994.

Happy Deathday to You: And Other Stories to Give You Nightmares, Avon (New York, NY), 1995.

Snake Camp ("Road to Reading" series), Golden Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Ghost Horse ("Road to Reading" series), Golden Books (New York, NY), 2000.

(Under house pseudonym Carolyn Keene) The Mystery in Tornado Alley ("Nancy Drew" series), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

(Under house pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon) The Case of the Psychic's Vision ("Hardy Boys" series), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.

(Under house pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon) The Mystery of the Black Rhino ("Hardy Boys" series), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.

(Under house pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon) The Secret of the Soldier's Gold ("Hardy Boys" series), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.

(Under house pseudonym Carolyn Keene) Danger on the Great Lakes ("Nancy Drew" series), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.

(Under house pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon) One False Step ("Hardy Boys" series), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.

(Under house pseudonym Carolyn Keene) The Secret of the Library Clock ("Nancy Drew" series), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.

"SCAREDY CATS" SERIES

The Day the Ants Got Really Mad, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996.

There's a Shark in the Swimming Pool!, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996.

Mrs. O'Dell's Third-Grade Class Is Shrinking, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996.

Bugs for Breakfast, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996.

Who Invited Aliens to My Slumber Party?, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.

The New Kid in School Is a Vampire Bat, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.

A Werewolf Followed Me Home, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.

The Vampire Kittens of Count Dracula, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.


"SPINETINGLERS" SERIES; UNDER PSEUDONYM M. T. COFFIN

Billy Baker's Dog Won't Stay Buried!, Avon (New York, NY), 1995.

Where Have All the Parents Gone?, Avon (New York, NY), 1995.

Check It out and Die!, Avon (New York, NY), 1995.

Don't Go to the Principal's Offıce, Avon (New York, NY), 1996.

The Dead Kid Did It!, Avon (New York, NY), 1996.

Pet Store, Avon (New York, NY), 1996.

Escape from the Haunted Museum, Avon (New York, NY), 1996.

The Curse of the Cheerleaders, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.

Circus F.R.E.A.K.S, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.


"THIRD GRADE DETECTIVES" SERIES

The Clue of the Left-handed Glove, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca, Aladdin (New York, NY), 1998, published as The Clue of the Left-handed Envelope, 2000.

The Puzzle of the Pretty Pink Handkerchief, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca, Aladdin (New York, NY), 1998.

The Mystery of the Hairy Tomatoes, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2001.

The Cobweb Confession, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2001.

The Secret of the Green Skin, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2003.

The Case of the Dirty Clue, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2003.

The Mystery of the Wooden Witness, Aladdin (New York,

NY), 2004.

The Case of the Sweaty Bank Robber, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2004.

The Mystery of the Stolen Statue, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2004.


"KATIE LYNN COOKIE COMPANY" SERIES

The Secret Ingredient, illustrated by Linda Dockey Graves, Random House (New York, NY), 1999.

Frogs' Legs for Dinner, illustrated by Linda Dockey Graves, Random House (New York, NY), 2000.

The Battle of the Bakers, illustrated by Linda Dockey

Graves, Random House (New York, NY), 2000.

Bottled Up!, illustrated by Linda Dockey Graves, Random House (New York, NY), 2001.

Wedding Cookies, illustrated by Linda Dockey Graves, Random House (New York, NY), 2001.


"ADAM SHARP" SERIES

Adam Sharp, the Spy Who Barked, illustrated by Guy Francis, Golden Books (New York, NY), 2002, published as The Spy Who Barked, Random House (New York, NY) 2003.

Adam Sharp, London Calling, illustrated by Guy Francis, Golden Books (New York, NY), 2002, published as London Calling, Random House (New York, NY), 2003.

Swimming with Sharks, illustrated by Guy Francis, Random House (New York, NY), 2003.

Operation Spy School, illustrated by Guy Francis, Random House (New York, NY), 2003.

The Riddle of the Stolen Sand, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca, Aladdin (Ne York, NY), 2003.

Moose Master, illustrated by Guy Francis, Random House (New York, NY), 2004.

Code Word Kangaroo, illustrated by Guy Francis, Random House (New York, NY), 2004.


"TWIN CONNECTION" SERIES; UNDER PSEUDONYM ADAM MILLS

Hot Pursuit, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1989.

On the Run, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1989.

Right on Target, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1989.

Secret Ballot, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1989.

Dangerous Play, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1989.

Skyjack!, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1989.

High-Tech Heist, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1989.

Cold Chills, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1989.


NONFICTION; FOR CHILDREN

Wild Horses, illustrated by Michael Langham Rowe, Random House (New York, NY), 2001.

Geronimo: Young Warrior, illustrated by Meryl Henderson, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2001.

Andrew Jackson, Young Patriot, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2003.

Mr. Rogers: Young Friend and Neighbor, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2004.

Harry S Truman, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2004.

A Primary Source History of the United States, eight volumes, Gareth-Stevens (Milwaukee, WI), 2005.


RADIO PLAYS

The Reclassified Child, British Broadcasting Corporation (London, England), 1974.

Another Football Season, British Broadcasting Corporation (London, England), 1974.

Better English, British Broadcasting Corporation (London, England), 1975.


OTHER

Writing Short Stories for Young People, Writer's Digest (Cincinnati, OH), 1987.

Also author of "Mini-Mystery Series," a monthly short story in Child Life Mystery and Science Fiction, 1977. Contributor of short stories under pseudonym Stuart Symons to Espionage. Also contributor of articles, stories, and reviews to scholarly journals and popular magazines for adults and children, including Texas Outlook, English Studies in Africa, Linguistics, Bulletin of the Society of Children's Book Writers, Darling, Women's Choice, Children's Playmate, Health Explorer, Junior Medical Detective, and Jack and Jill.

Work in Progress

Crazy Horse: Young Sioux Warrior, for Simon & Schuster; Leonardo da Vinci: Young Artist, for Simon & Schuster; Framed ("Nancy Drew" series), for Simon & Schuster; Heroes and Villains of the American Revolution, for Scholastic; Pioneers of the American West, for Scholastic.

Sidelights

An extraordinarily prolific writer, George Edward Stanley has also found time to travel and teach, drawing many of the plots for his books from his diverse experiences and natural curiosity. In addition to penning numerous books under his own name, Stanley has also published under several pseudonyms, including the well-known house pseudonyms Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Bramley, the fictitious authors of the perennially popular "Nancy Drew" and "Hardy Boys" novels, respectively.

"When I was growing up in the small town of Memphis, Texas, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, I discovered that I had two passions: mysteries and movies,"- Stanley once told Something about the Author. "I read all the mysteries in the public library and went to all the Saturday afternoon matinees, mainly to see the serials. There were two movie houses in Memphis and I would walk to town several times a week just to see the new movie posters. Since I was allowed to go to the movies only on Saturday afternoons, I missed a lot of the great films of those years, but have since been able to buy video tapes of most of the ones that I never got to see and can now watch them anytime I want to! (I also collect movie posters!). Two of my favorite movies from that period are The Bat and Home Sweet Homicide, because they both have mystery writers as the main characters.

"As I grew older, my interests broadened, of course, and I began studying foreign languages. (Actually, I have always liked anything 'foreign.') In college, I majored in French and Portuguese and minored in German, and I went the route of the typical college professor as far as writing is concerned: I began writing very esoteric articles about linguistics that I doubt many people read.

"When it came time to work on my doctorate, I decided to follow another one of my dreams: going to Africa. I went to South Africa, to the University of Port Elizabeth, to research the problems the Xhosa have learning English and Afrikaans. Following my work in South Africa, I accepted a Fulbright professorship to the University of N'Djamena in Chad, Central Africa. It was there that I began writing fiction (something else I had always wanted to do) and I sold my first radio play to the British Broadcasting World Service in London.

"I grew up reading mysteries and wanting to write mysteries. I never got over Nancy Drew, the Dana Girls, or the Hardy Boys. If Nancy Drew had been a forensic scientist, I might be in a different occupation today. But she wasn't and that's why I created Dr. Constance Daniels, head of the Forensic Science laboratory of the Bay City Police Department. Dr. Daniels first appeared in Child Life magazine. Later, I introduced a new, younger character in the series, Marie-Claire Verlaine, and moved the locale to Paris, but the forensic science solutions remained. If I had known someone like Dr. Daniels, or Marie-Claire, when I was studying biology, chemistry, and physics, I might have excelled in science."

Inspired, in part, by these life experiences, Stanley has continued to author books for younger readers. In The Codebreaker Kids he introduces readers to three enterprising kids who start a business encoding and decoding messages for would-be spies. In what School Library Journal reviewer Elaine Knight called an "off-the-wall but very funny spy mystery," the three friends become enmeshed in both sides of tricky situations. Diane Roback's review for Publishers Weekly found the humor far-fetched, but the inclusion of real codes good for the reader in "this fast-paced caper" with "Dinky's careful instructions for using them" a fine embellishment.

Reviewers gave The Italian Spaghetti Mystery higher marks for mystery than humor. Blair Christolon, writing in School Library Journal, found the plot of a private school headmistress and her students'cum summer performerssearch for Mr. Spaghetti Man and his spaghetti-making secret to be "evenly paced and the conclusion clever," despite "primitive sound effects" and "corny" humor. Writing again for Publishers Weekly, Diane Roback declared the booka sequel to Stanley's The Ukrainian Egg Mystery "wacky." Hershell Cobwell and the Miraculous Tattoo places a series of crazy events in a different context, illustrating the lengths to which one boy goes to get attention and approval from his peers. A reviewer in Booklist dubbed it "a cautionary tale, filled with zestful humor."

Reviewers have often commented upon Stanley's skill in writing books that are not only engaging, but are also very easy for young readers to complete by themselves, and his "Third Grade Detectives" series is a good example. Mr. Merlin was once a spy, but now he teaches third grade and leads his class in solving simple mysteries. Readers can follow the clues through each short, illustrated chapter book, attempting to solve the mystery before the characters do, and there are also simple codes and riddles for the reader to decipher as well. The types of mysteries that the children solve vary widely, including some actual crimes. The puzzle of the series' first book, The Clue of the Left-handed Envelope, though, is not so serious. This time, the class's job is to figure out who sent classmate Amber Lee a secret admirer letter. They succeed, with the assistance of Mr. Merlin's helpful friend, Dr. Smiley, a forensic scientist working in a police lab.The second book of the "Third Grade Detectives" series, The Puzzle of the Pretty Pink Handkerchief, finds the children trying to discover who trespassed in Todd's treehouse and left the titular pink handkerchief there. Todd is also the victim in The Cobweb Confession, when his baseball card collection disappears. Todd's friend Noelle is at the center of other volumes, including The Mystery of the Hairy Tomatoes, in which her dog is wrongly accused of digging in Mrs. Ruston's vegetable garden. The two work together on solving serious, adult crimes in the volumes The Case of the Sweaty Bank Robber and The Mystery of the Stolen Statue.

In The Case of the Dirty Clue, Mr. Merlin's students want to know who ran over Misty's brand new bike. The bike is covered with their best clue: an unusual red soil, left there by the car that hit it. With Mr. Merlin's help, they discover that this type of soil comes from Arizona, leading them to the offending car and its driver. Critics also praised this entry in the series; School Library Journal contributor Andrea Tarr noted the "believable characters and . . . fast-paced plot," while Booklist 's Hazel Rochman thought that "as always in this series . . . readers will enjoy the puzzles and the forensics."Continuing the "Third Grade Detectives" series, The Cobweb Confession also shares another feature common to many of Stanley's books: children overcoming their fears, particularly of creepy-crawly animals. This theme reappears in the non-series book Snake Camp. Stevie's parents send him to "Viper" camp, thinking that Viper is a computer program. But it isn't: the camp features real snakesand Stevie hates snakes. By the end of the book, though, one of the reptiles has stolen Stevie's heart and becomes his pet. "The plot is decidedly contrived," Hazel Rochman commented in Booklist, "but the hissing, slimy, scaly stuff is fun."

"There was a long period of time in my life when I wrote only one short story a month," Stanley once recalled to SATA. "Looking back on that period now, I can't honestly tell you why that's all I did, but it was, and I was perfectly satisfied. It filled my need to be a published writer, but the need then probably wasn't as great as it has since become, and I think that's a normal development. We develop into writers. For some of us it's absolutely necessary that we take it easy and let ourselves evolve into writers. I used to wonder how some of my friends wrote several different stories and books at the same time. I thought I'd never be able to do that, but I was able, and I am able.

"As I developed, I got to the point where I began getting ideas for other stories and other series and other characters. I'd been working long enough with some of my editors that I felt quite comfortable in suggesting these new ideas to them. Some of them were accepted. Some weren't. Some even became the basis for entire magazines. At one time, I had seven series running at the same time (some stayed longer in the magazines than others), but soon the evolutionary process took over and I got to the point where I wanted to write books, too."

One area Stanley explored was the story meant to be read aloud. In the case of Rats in the Attic: And Other Stories to Make Your Skin Crawl, the best place for reading is suggested to be a campfire. Reviewer Larry Prater predicted in Kliatt that "middle schoolers will . . . revel in the soft-core gore and mayhem" of the stories, which involve kids who flirt with danger and the supernatural and pay dearly.

Stanley also shared his views about the role of an children' book author. "Writing for young people carries with it a great responsibility. Some young person is actually going to read what you've written and be influenced by it. Keeping this in mind can be helpful because it makes you want to put your best foot forward and produce not only something that you'll be proud of, but something that the young reader will never forget, whether it carries a lesson for life or simply recounts an exciting adventure.

"It's very important that you perceive yourself as a young person; this is one of the secrets of writing for them. You have to live what he is living and feel what he is feeling. You have to understand a young person's emotions, fears, disappointments, triumphs. You have to understand what it means to score that soccer goal or not to score it. You have to understand what it means to make one hundred percent on a spelling quiz. You have to understand what it means not to understand math. You have to understand what it means not to be able to play football, either because you're too small or because your parents won't let you. You have to understand what it means to have to wait for Christmas or a birthday party. You almost have to become the character you're writing about.

"One of the great things about writing for young people is that they're interested in learning about everything. This can't help but inspire the writer to reach greater heights. You want to teach them, to entertain them, to make them read what you've written. It's quite mind-boggling, frankly, when they come up to you and tell you that they really enjoy reading your stories.


"I very much dislike a lot of what is being written today for children. I think most children are looking for something that will excite them and carry them off to other worlds. They can see enough realism on the nightly news to last them a lifetime. Give them something they can look forward to, something that will stir their sense of adventure and make them want to become the best in whatever they finally end up doing. But don't forget to make them laugh!"


Stanley combines adventure and the required dose of humor in his "Scaredy Cat" series, which includes The Day the Ants Got Really Mad. Intended for children of early-grade-school age, the book tells how Michael, a boy about the same age, copes with the discovery that his family's home is built on the world's largest anthill. Maura Bresnahan, in her review for School Library Journal, wrote that Stanley's informative story about ants "combines humor and a semi-scary situation" in a way "children will find immensely entertaining."


"I spend my spare time reading, learning new languages, watching foreign films, and just trying to keep my head above the water," Stanley explained. "My wife tells me that I can't relax; actually, I'm relaxing when I'm busy. It's when I'm not busy that I start getting uptight!"

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 1991, review of Hershell Cobwell and the Miraculous Tattoo; April 1, 1996, p. 1366; December, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of Snake Camp, p. 727; May 1, 2003, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Secret of the Green Skin, pp. 1529-1530; February 1, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of The Case of the Dirty Clue, p. 977.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1999, p. 1139.

Kliatt, May, 1995, Larry W. Prater, review of Rats in the Attic: And Other Stories to Make Your Skin Crawl, pp. 18-19.

Library Journal, April 1, 1987, p. 145.

Publishers Weekly, January 16, 1987, Diane Roback, review of The Italian Spaghetti Mystery, p. 74; May 8, 1987, Diane Roback, review of The Codebreaker Kids, p. 71.

School Library Journal, August, 1986, Maura Bresnahan, review of The Day the Ants Got Really Mad, p. 130; June-July, 1987, Blair Christolon, review of The Italian Spaghetti Mystery, p. 101; September, 1987, Elaine E. Knight, review of The Codebreaker Kids, p. 183; June, 1997, p. 101; March, 2001, Maura Bresnahan, review of Ghost Horse, p. 205; March, 2003, John Sigwald, review of The Riddle of the Stolen Sand, pp. 207-208; August, 2003, Pat Leach, review of The Secret of the Green Skin, p. 144; January, 2004, Andrea Tarr, review of The Case of the Dirty Clue, p. 107.


ONLINE

George Stanley's Home Page, http://www.cameron.edu/~georges (January 26, 2005).

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