Ten Questions for Author Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

25 Feb

Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen is the Author of The Compound, an ALA 2009 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and several picture books.  Stephanie has been gracious enough to answer a few questions for us.  Visit her website at

1. What is The Compound about?

TC is about fifteen –year-old Eli, who for the past six years has lived with his wealthy immediate family in an underground compound after a nuclear explosion. His identical twin brother was left on the outside.

2. What is the recommended age group for The Compound?

12+   I know a lot of English teachers are using it in their 8th and 9th grade classes.

3. The story has been described as “compelling.”  Many readers have said that they couldn’t put it down until they finished it.  What do you think it is about the story that makes it so compelling?

It is quite fast-paced . I purposely ended my chapters with moments that a reader could not easily ignore or just put down for the night.

4. Most of your published books are picture books.  What inspired you to write a dystopian book with a male main character?

My first picture book came out in 1998, which was also the year I wrote my first novel. I actually wrote nine novels in the following eight years, but TC is the first that I got right. And I’m a big sci-fi, dystopian, apocalyptic movie and book person, so I think TC is way more “me” than my picture books.

5.   Were you at all worried that reluctant readers would skip the prologue?

I’m a major reader, and I would never even think about skipping a prologue. Some very major things are explained in the prologue of TC, and it is a page-turner, so I really hope readers read the prologue.

6. The Compound is an ALA 2009 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.  What do you think makes the story appealing to reluctant readers?

The fast pace, the psychotic dad, the dynamic with Eli and his family… Also the mystery Eli has to solve, and on which everything depends. There are a lot of eye-opening moments in the book that I think appeal to the reluctant reader. And this has been affirmed by a lot of English teachers who say it’s been one of the first books that even their most reluctant readers have enjoyed reading.

7. Did you give any thought to the prospective audience for this book when you were writing it?

Originally, Eli was sixteen. But my editor thought that was kind of a cut-off point for younger readers, so we made him a year younger. I didn’t know that so many younger readers would like it so well, but in Missouri the book is a finalist for the state reading awards in both the middle grade  and young adult categories.

8. Which authors have inspired you as a writer?

Growing up I read a lot of Judy Blume, the Narnia books, all the Oz books, and pretty much anything I could find in the Scholastic book order. I read my first Stephen King book when I was fifteen and I was hooked. He’s my absolute favorite. Besides being a master of plot, his characters could walk off the page and I learn so much about writing just by reading him. I recommend his marvelous book about writing “On Writing” to any writer.

9. Do you have any other books in the works that might appeal to boys?

My next YA The Gardener comes out in May. The main character is also a fifteen-year-old boy and it’s a tinge more sci-fi than TC. My barometer is my cousin’s fourteen-year-old son. He loved TC, but thinks The Gardener is better.

10. If you had to describe The Compound by comparing it to two or more other books/stories, which would you choose?

I’ve seen people recommend it to people who liked books like Neal Shusterman’s Unwind or Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Know It. It’s different than those, but probably would appeal to the same group of readers.

Thank you, Stephanie!

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Carl

  1. Joanne

    February 25, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Great interview, Carl. I’ll put both books on my TBR list!

  2. Stephanie Theban

    February 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Great interview! Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Carl

    February 26, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Thank you, but Stephanie is the one who made the interview interesting.

    I had the easy job! 🙂