S.A. Bodeen, aka Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, is the author of THE COMPOUND (Feiwel & Friends, April 2008), as well as several picture books that aren’t speculative at all. THE COMPOUND, which received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, tells the story of 15-year-old Eli who has lived underground with his billionaire family since their world was destroyed by a nuclear attack. Eli is haunted by the fact that his twin and his grandmother were left behind, and as some of Eli’s worst suspicions are confirmed, he has to take action to save his family from a threat that contradicts all he knows.
The Spectacle recently caught up with Stephanie for a few questions. PLUS: Watch in August for a contest in which we’ll give away a copy of the new paperback edition of THE COMPOUND!
Q: What drew you to this genre?
A: This genre is my favorite thing to watch and read. I’m a big fan of The X-Files, Stephen King, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Terminator, you name it. I grew up with two television channels and both had reruns of Star Trek every day after school. I’m actually a little surprised that I turned out picture books before the books in this genre.
Q: You chose to just use your initials S.A. for THE COMPOUND. Why?
A: I actually turned in the manuscript with just S. A. Bodeen. But then my agent thought we needed to capitalize on the name I’d already made for myself with my picture books. Then, when they were designing the cover, the “Stephanie” looked a bit innocuous on an otherwise sinister layout, so the publisher asked if we could go with initials. I’m not sure if people get that I’m the same person who wrote ELIZABETI’S DOLL
Q: What was the hardest part of writing THE COMPOUND?
A: At one point I got a second letter back from my agent about revisions. I realized I was on the wrong track. So I dumped 240 pages of the 250-page manuscript and started over.
Q: What has surprised you the most since its publication?
A: That so many English teachers are using it for a classroom read, and just to hear how much kids like it.
Q: What did you read most as a child?
A: As a child I read a lot. Favorites were Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, L Frank Baum, Judy Blume… I got ahold of my first Stephen King book when I was 14 and it rocked my world. I would say he is still my all-time favorite. I love the Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon; they can’t translate his books fast enough. I also love John Irving, Amy Tan, Pat Conroy…
Q: What’s next for you?
A: My second novel with Feiwel and Friends, THE GARDNER, will be out next spring. We’re in the last of the revisions, and we just perfected the prologue, which will be included in back of the paperback edition of THE COMPOUND, which comes out in August. And my new picture book from Little, Brown, A SMALL BROWN DOG WITH A WET PINK NOSE, comes out in January.
Reported by Joni Sensel, who blanches at the thought of tossing away 240 of 250 pages (and would love to read the original 240).