S.A. Bodeen is the January Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob and so I posed a few questions about her Young Adult books, The Compound and The Fallout. I just found out that we graduated from the same college with the same degree in secondary education. S.A. Bodeen shares the back story behind her books, tells about how she became a writer and more. Read on to find out more.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, graduated from UW-River Falls with a degree in secondary education, and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania. I started trying to get published in the 90’s, when I was a stay-at-home mom in Fergus Falls, MN. My first picture book, Elizabeti’s Doll, was inspired by my Peace Corps experience and won the Minnesota Book Award in 1999.
- What inspired you to write The Compound and The Fallout? I grew up during a period of serious nuclear proliferation, and nuclear war was one of my childhood fears. I was always fascinated by books and movies about the topic, and decided to write my own story about it.
3. Can you tell us why or when you decided to become a writer? I always wrote when I was young, loved making up stories. In 8th grade I won a creative writing contest with a sci-fi story, and that kind of gave me the itch to be a writer. I really didn’t start it seriously until I was thirty.
4. Usually an author puts some of his own life experiences in the book. Did you do that? The only novel that has a bit from my life is The Raft. We spent a few years living out on Midway Island, and had to take a tiny plane out there, often over nothing but dark and water below. For The Raft, I put my main character on that flight to Midway and crashed it halfway there. The setting for that book is completely from my memory of that time.
- Do you have anything in common with your characters? Other than some hobbies or small things, not really.
- Tell us a little bit about the other books you have written. I mentioned The Raft already, and my other YA novel is The Gardener, which is a bit more science fiction than The Compound. In July, the first book of my middle grade series Shipwreck Island comes out. And then in 2015, my next YA novel, The Detour, will come out. That one is about a best-selling teenage author who goes missing.
- Do you like to read? What authors or books influence you? I love to read. Would rather do that than anything else, which has always gotten me into trouble. Stephen King was a big influence, love his non-fiction book On Writing.
- How do you carve time out of your day to write? Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job? Other than school visits or speaking at conferences, I am at home writing. My kids are both in college, so I have no problem making the time to write.
- Do Fallout shelters or compounds really exist in our world to protect us from nuclear chemicals? Yes, in varying forms. I researched them for both books, and there are definitely people who’ve gone to the trouble of making them. Take a look at Doomsday Preppers and you’ll see what I mean.
- Why do you write under the initials of S. A. instead of using your full first name? When they did the first cover, they thought it was very sinister, but the feminine name on the front detracted from that. So we went with my initials instead.
- In one sentence tell readers why they should read your books, The Compound and The Fallout? They are page-turners that will keep you wondering what happens next…
If you would like to win a copy of The Fallout please enter here: The Fallout Giveaway