February 12, 2006: Headlines: COS - Ethiopia: Writing - Ethiopia: Sports: Golf: The Journal News: Ethiopia RPCV John Coyne latest novel inspired by memories of Ben Hogan

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ethiopia: Special Report: Ethiopia RPCV and Author/Editor John Coyne: February 12, 2006: Headlines: COS - Ethiopia: Writing - Ethiopia: Sports: Golf: The Journal News: Ethiopia RPCV John Coyne latest novel inspired by memories of Ben Hogan

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-25-123.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.25.123) on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 6:57 pm: Edit Post

Ethiopia RPCV John Coyne's latest novel inspired by memories of Ben Hogan

Ethiopia RPCV John Coyne's latest novel inspired by memories of Ben Hogan

Coyne, now the communications manager at The College of New Rochelle, blended memories of his caddying days and his childhood hero, golfer Hogan, into a tale being published by St. Martin's Press. "I'm interested in golf as a metaphor for society, as a lens to look at our society and how it functions," Coyne said.

Ethiopia RPCV John Coyne's latest novel inspired by memories of Ben Hogan

Local author's latest novel inspired by memories of Ben Hogan

By KEN VALENTI
kvalenti@thejournalnews.com
THE JOURNAL NEWS


PELHAM MANOR When John Coyne wrote his new novel, "The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan," he did not return to the tales of horror that earned him a following in the 1980s. Instead, the 67-year-old author returned to a much earlier time, when he was a teenager toting golf bags for members of a country club south of Chicago.

Coyne, now the communications manager at The College of New Rochelle, blended memories of his caddying days and his childhood hero, golfer Hogan, into a tale being published by St. Martin's Press.

"I'm interested in golf as a metaphor for society, as a lens to look at our society and how it functions," Coyne said.

The 288-page book is due out in May, marking Coyne's first novel since "Child of Shadows" in 1990.

But while he considers himself a novelist, they are not his only writings. Coyne has contributed to short-story collections and has written or co-written books about crafts and alternatives to college and on golf.

He was also an early Peace Corps volunteer, serving in Ethiopia in the 1960s, and has edited collections of travel essays by other volunteers.

Several years ago, Coyne set up a Web site to showcase the many Peace Corps volunteers who have published books. It now lists 771 writers, including 46 Peace Corps staff members. They include writer Paul Theroux and Kinky Friedman, the musician and author of detective novels who is now running as an independent candidate for Texas governor.

This is a good time for Coyne. As he awaits the release of his new novel, a budding Canadian filmmaker is planning to make a movie of his 1981 book, "Hobgoblin," about a teen who plays a Dungeons and Dragons-like game that comes to life.

Ori Kowarsky, a lawyer who directed a romantic comedy called "Various Positions" in 2002, said he'd read "Hobgoblin" as a teen and never forgotten it. The story shows an "interesting juxtaposition of elements," including fantasy reminiscent of "Lord of the Rings," he said in a phone interview from his Vancouver office.

"At the same time, the whole thing is deceptive because what you've really got is a murder mystery with a lot of skeletons in the family's closet," he said. He expects to make an announcement in the summer about when the movie will be finished.

Coyne, with his close-cropped white-gray beard and mustache, spoke recently in his stucco home in Pelham Manor, recalling the Midlothian Country Club across from the farm where he grew up. His three older sisters were waitresses there, and his two older brothers were caddies. He began working at the club also when he was 12 or 13 and loved the job.

"When I was 16, I was caddy master," he said, adding half-jokingly: "That was the most responsible job I've had. Everything in my life has been downhill since I was 16."

He followed Hogan's career in newspapers and magazines, catching glimpses of the great duffer in weekly movie theater newsreels.

"He dominated the tour the way that Tiger Woods dominates it now," he said.

Coyne plays golf mostly at the public Split Rock Golf Course in the Bronx. The sport fascinates people, he said, because an amateur player plays the same courses as the pros.

"You're trying to beat the game as much as a pro on television is trying to beat the game," he said.

Coyne was never a particularly avid horror fan. But he wanted to be a writer, and when Stephen King's "Carrie" became a hit, Coyne tapped into his appreciation of myth and mythology and his Irish-Catholic upbringing to join the genre. He came up with "The Piercing," published in 1979, a story of a girl who appears to have stigmata, or wounds on the hands and feet resembling those of the crucified Jesus Christ.

His wife, Judith Coyne, now the executive editor of Good Housekeeping magazine, edited the book. They met when she was a line editor for a book Coyne co-wrote about trade schools. "He was the only author of mine I ever dated when I was an editor," she said. "But I picked a good one."

Eventually, Coyne turned away from horror novels. "It was a very lucrative field, and people wanted me to keep writing it, but I didn't have any more," he said.

He has only written one piece of fiction, a short story, about Ethiopia. But he is now 200 pages into a mystery-suspense book that takes place in the African country. He may have avoided writing about Ethiopia partly because he's told stories of his time there so often, he said.

"My son was raised with bedtime stories about crocodiles and spitting cobras and elephant stampedes," he said.





When this story was posted in February 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:


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Story Source: The Journal News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ethiopia; Writing - Ethiopia; Sports; Golf

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By William H. Brown, Jr. (hqbmdofs03.mda.mil - 140.32.122.60) on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 - 4:03 pm: Edit Post

Mr. John Coyne,
Using Ben Hogan's technique is the only way I could learn to hit a golf ball.

William (Bill) H. Brown, Jr.
Peace Corps Volunteer/ Ethiopia 1966-1969.

PS Good to know you are doing well.


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