Coffee & Conversation with Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Today we have the lovely Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen in the cyber cafe, author of several novels including THE COMPOUND, which is the winner of this year’s Black-Eyed Susan Award for grades 9-12,

and THE GARDENER, that was named a  Best Summer Teen Read by Good Morning America!

Stephanie is also our young adult track leader for the upcoming Staying On Track Conference!!  Her track is full, but there are still openings for mid-grade, picture book, non-fiction, and illustrators. 

And now that she is settled with her favorite drink, a skinny vanilla latte that’s hot if the temp is below 70, iced if above 70, so today it’s iced, iced, baby . . . vanilla iced, iced, baby . . .

(Sorry, couldn’t help it–that bad pun was just waiting to happen! :))

And her favorite snack, sliced apples with this fat-free caramel dip she makes . . .

. . . let’s start the interview!

First off, Stephanie, when did you decide to be a writer?

When I was 8, but I forgot about it several times along the way…

 How long did your path to that first glorious book sale take, and what were your biggest hurdles?

I started sending out stories to publishers in 1995 and got very lucky, selling my first story, a picture book, in 1996. I think the biggest hurdle was just being alone in the task. I had joined SCBWI, but I was too far away from any groups and because this was before internet, I got my Bulletin in the mail once a month and that was it.

Seeing how hindsight is 20/20, what advice for beginners do you wish you would have followed?

Don’t wait for a response longer than six months. And really, this advice is moot in this time of email. But back when it was all done by snail mail, nothing happened very quickly.

Where’s your favorite place to work?

On our nook in the kitchen. (And no, it’s not a cool built-in fancy nook. It is an assemble yourself nook that is going to collapse under me one day. 

And, if the paparazzi were taking pictures of odd things authors do while writing, what would be in yours, hmm?

I talk to my computer. 

Ha, me, too!  Okay, how were you inspired to write your current or upcoming release?

Several similar news stories caught my eye. And the setting is all from when I lived on a remote Pacific island. I didn’t have to use my imagination at all.

Are there any other genres that you’d like to tackle some day?

Historical fiction. I’m a history nerd.

What’s next on your agenda, any juicy projects you’d like to tell us about?

A possible sequel to one of my novels, but it depends if I can come up with the right storyline.

Time for the lightning round—no more than four words per answer!

Do you . . .

Outline or wing it?   Outline, but not happily.

Talk about works-in-progress, or keep it zipped?   Don’t tell a soul.

Sell by proposal or completed draft?   Proposal.

Prefer writing rough drafts or editing?   Editing, meaning complete rewrites.

Dread marketing/blogging or love it?   Depends on the day.

Read Kindle or traditional books?    Want a Kindle badly.

And finally, what’s your favorite:

Time to work?   Morning.

Music to listen to while writing?   Depressing alternative usually.

Writing tool?    Laptop.

Pair of shoes?    Black Chuck Taylors.

Guiltiest pleasure?   My caramel chocolate brownies. My husband knows when I’m unwrapping caramels that it is a bad day in my world.

Line from a movie?   “Go away. Read some books.” Nacho Libre.


 If iTunes asked you to submit a celebrity must-read-list, what books would make your top ten list?

Shadow of the Wind, Carols Ruiz Zafon    

A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving

The Passage, Justin Cronin 

The Stand, Stephen King

Tangerine, Edward Bloor 

We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver

Lucky Man,  Michael J. Fox

Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer

Into the Forest, Jean Hegland

The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise, Julia Stuart

What is your favorite writing how-to book?

Stephen King’s On Writing

Who is your author hero, someone you admire or aspire to be?

Stephen King

What was your worse rejection and how did you bounce back?

I’ve had so many that, at the time, they were the worst thing that could happen. Some of them were very recently. Each time I got back on the horse, so to speak. What’s the saying? Success is getting up one more time than you fall? I think that applies to rejections.

So true!  And thank you, Stephanie, for stopping by.  Best of luck with your possible sequel and we can’t wait to see you at the conference!

Happy writing, everyone! 🙂


About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two college boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She clearly likes run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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