Terry Trueman

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' Terry Trueman is the Printz honor-winning author of Stuck in Neutral, and numerous other Young Adult novels, as well as books of poetry and short stories for adults and children.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama (Dec. 15, 1947), Trueman has lived in Spokane, Washington since 1974. He also had a home in Tucson, AZ for many years. He has Masters degrees in applied psychology and creative writing.[1]

First novel[edit]

His first novel, Stuck in Neutral (2001), was inspired by his son Sheehan, who was born a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. The disease severely crippled his son and threatened to overwhelm Trueman, who eventually turned his shock and grief into a narrative poem, Sheehan, which in turn grew to become the novel, Stuck in Neutral.[2] The acclaim and impact that book had inspired two other companion novels for teens, Cruise Control (2004) and Life Happens Next (2012), as well as a non-fiction book about his son, Sheehan: Heartbreak and Redemption (2007). His other YA novels include Inside Out (2003),No Right Turn (2006), Seven Days at the Hot Corner (2007), and Hurricane (2008). His books have received numerous national honors[3] and he is considered by many to be one of the godfathers of the "problem" novel, along with Chris Crutcher and Walter Dean Myers.[4] pg=AuthorBio&ID=11


Awards include: Louisa Kern Fund grants in support of writing poetry, 1970 and 1971; Summer Seminar for College Teachers, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1989; Exceptional Faculty Award for teaching excellence, Spokane Falls Community College, 1996; Ten Best First Novels and Editors Choice awards inclusion, Booklist, 2000, Best Books for the Teen Age designation, New York Public Library, 2001, Best Books for Young Adults designation and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers designation, American Library Association, 2001, Children's Book Council's Not Just for Children Anymore listee, 2001, National Association for Special Education Needs Highly Recommended Award, Publishers Association (England), and Michael L. Printz Honor Award, Young Adult Library Services Association, all 2001, and numerous local and state awards, for numerous publications.

Novelist, poet, and writer[edit]

White Hills Technical Schools, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, English and social studies teacher, 1972–74; Spokane Community Mental Health Center, Spokane, WA, therapist, 1975–80; Escuela International Sanpedrana, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, secondary school counselor, 1981–82; Eastern Washington University, teaching fellow in English, 1983–85; Spokane Falls Community College, Spokane, WA, instructor in communications department, 1985-2001

Trueman's favorite author is Charles Bukowski. Like Bukowski, Trueman had written his whole life but only gained recognition later, when he was 52.[5] His latest work is poetry for adults, Where's the Fire (2015). And a second collection of new poems, Where We Going With This? (2016) and another selection of "new writings" titled "'''Clawing at the Door, Scratching at the Window" (2017).

Early life[edit]

He spent his childhood growing-up in the northern suburbs of Seattle, Washington with his parents (both deceased), father Sydney M. Trueman and mother Jeanne (LaPine) Trueman. He has one sister, Cynthia M. Trueman. His interests in growing-up included, sports, both playing and spectating, as well as many social activities. On his mother's side, his family goes back several generations in the Pacific Northwest, mainly in Seattle, and includes a direct ancestral relation to the Pankhursts of England, prominent leaders of the Women's Suffrage Movement in the early 20th century. Trueman's father was a fighter pilot in WW2 and won the Air Medal, flying off the Aircraft Carrier USS Ticonderoga, his family ancestry was Scottish and perhaps Irish prior to immigrating to Alabama, early in the 20th Century.[6]


Trueman struggled in school, especially during middle school and high school, but graduated from Shoreline H.S. (June 1966). He attended Shoreline Community College (1966–67) and Everett Community College (1967–68) prior to enrolling at the University of Washington (1968–73) where he earned his Bachelor's Degree, majoring in Creative Writing in English. He received a Master of Science in Developmental Psychology from Eastern Washington State College (1975). His Masters Thesis "Personality Correlates of Moral Development," is housed in the Eastern Washington University Library. He pursued further graduate study in the Education Dept. of Washington State University (1980–81). He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Eastern Washington University (1984). His MFA thesis, titled "Black Lipstick," is housed in the Eastern Washington University Library. Mr. Trueman was 'lifetime' certified as a K-12 licensed Teacher in 1973.[7]


Numerous small press publications (1968–Present) SHEEHAN a narrative poem (Siobhan Press 1992) HUGE HOUSE (Stillwaters Publishing 2013) (E-book) WHERE'S THE FIRE? Selected Poems (Skyzblue Arts, May 2015) WHERE WE GOING WITH THIS? Selected Poems 2015-2016 (Skyzblue Arts, April 2016) CLAWING AT THE DOOR, SCRATCHING AT THE WINDOW New Writings (Skyzblue Arts, May 2017)


From HarperCollins: Stuck in Neutral (June 2000) Inside Out (November 2003) Cruise Control (August 2004) No Right Turn (March 2006) 7 Days at the Hot Corner (March 2007) Hurricane (2008) Published as Swallowing the Sun in UK (Hodder-Stoughton Publishers 2003) Life Happens Next (August 2012) From Stillwaters Publishing (E-books) Getting'Weird (March 2013) M.C. Idol The Funniest Kid in the World (November 2013) Non-fiction Collaborations with Michael Gurian What Stories Does my Son Need? (Penguin-Putnam 2001) Boys nd Girls Learn Differently! (Jossey-Bass 2002)

International Publications and Translations[edit]

Inside Out- Purchased by publisher in Denmark for publication there, 2004. Inside Out- ESL Edition, Klett Publishers, Germany Swallowing the Sun- a novel, published by Hodder-Stoughton Publishers, United Kingdom 2003 Stuck in Neutral- Hodder-Stoughton Publishers, United Kingdom, 2001 Stuck in Neutral- Translated and Published Japan. ISBN 4-488-01317-1 Stuck in Neutral- Purchased for French language edition by Poche (Pocket) France, in June 2001 Stuck in Neutral- Translated and published Korea—2009 Hurricane- Bonner Carlson, Denmark 2003


  1. ^ "Terry Trueman". Teenreads.com. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  2. ^ Flowers, Mark (2013-02-05). "Interview with Terry Trueman | The Hub". Yalsa.ala.org. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  3. ^ "Terry Trueman's Awards and Honors". Terrytrueman.com. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  4. ^ "Walter Elevated Us All - Author & Loudmouth, Chris Crutcher". Chriscrutcher.com. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  5. ^ "Interview with Award-Winning Author Terry Trueman". Authorturf.com. 2013-04-28. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  6. ^ 8. The Phillip Sadler Research Center for Children's and Young Adult Literature at The University of Central Missouri, in Warrensburg MO. houses an extensive collection of Terry Trueman's personal papers, photographs, videos and other materials relating to the writings and life. http://guides.library.ucmo.edu/specialcollections Retrieved 2015-06-11
  7. ^ 9. Terry Trueman, Contemporary Authors, Gale series (December 2007). 8=Dhttp://www.cengage.com/search/productOverview.do;jsessionid=F1330989484FE9A679CE29E06BC7D915?N=197+4294916915&Ntk=P_EPI&Ntt=110808912611166207411187162436533505368&Ntx=mode%2Bmatchallpartial Retrieved 2015-06-11