Starting that new novel...

Starting to write a new novel is hard for me. One reason is that I have probably just completed one, which I spent at least several months, maybe even years, writing. So to set aside that world and move on to another isn't easy. Plus there's that word count. If I just spent the last year reaching 10k, then 20k, then 30, 40, 50, etc., it is so freakin' hard to look at a blank screen and start over with zero words. So hard.
Last week, I sent in a novel to my editor. It's part of my middle grade series, but it was on a deadline, so that had been my priority the last few months. This week, I pulled out a novel that I'd written back in 2011 for a contract, but it was (very wisely) pushed aside for The Fallout, the sequel to The Compound. So this novel had been sitting with my agent and we recently had a long conversation about what it needed. It took me a few days to process his thoughts, but then I started revising, ended up adding about 7000 words, and sent it back to my agent on Monday. I kinda twiddled my thumbs, then pulled out a picture book that had come close soooo many times and spent Monday revising that and sent it to my agent as well.
Then came Tuesday...what to do?
I've had a title kicking around in my head for almost fifteen years. I had no idea if the title was for a YA or MG or what and never had any idea what to do with it. So Tuesday I typed out the title on the blank screen and started writing a new YA. This was three days ago. A little while ago, I just hit 11,000 words. I have no idea what's going on with me, but yesterday I literally typed until my vision started swimming and I knew I was gonna get a migraine if I didn't stop. This story, after only three days, is consuming me. I think about it in the shower, when I'm cooking, when I'm running. It won't let me go. So I'm gonna just keep typing and see what happens. I will let you know. 

The Next Big Thing

My friend illustrator Lauren Stringer tagged me in The Next Big Thing. The next book I have coming out is the paperback of:

1)      What is the working title of your next book?

The next book I have coming out is the paperback version of The Raft, my young adult novel that was released in hardcover in August.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

I spent about three years living out on Midway Island. To get there, we took a small turbo-prop plane, which took about five hours over nothing but ocean. I was always worried the thing would go down.
3) What genre does your book fall under? Young adult
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Wow, well, there are basically two characters: 15-year-old Robie, and twenty-something Max. There are flashbacks to Max in high school, so an actor who could do younger and bit older. Dreaming here, of course: I would love to see the novel be a movie and there are any number of people who would be perfect for each part.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Robie takes the flight to Midway, which crashes halfway there, leaving her in a raft in the middle of the ocean.
6) Who is publishing your book?

Feiwel and Friends, a Macmillan imprint
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About a year, I think. It was painful, I didn’t think I was ever going to finish. But I always go through that stage with my books.
8)What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I had a friend tell me, “Hey! You’ve written a female Hatchet!” Not that I would dare put my book in the same category as Hatchet, but for fun we did start calling it Hatchette after that.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? My experiences on Midway contributed a lot to the story. I didn’t have to research the setting because I had lived it. All the flora and fauna and wildlife was second nature to write about.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

The book is on the 2013 TAYSHAS high school reading list in Texas and was named a 2013 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.

On Goodreads and Thick Skin and Sheep

A while ago, my husband and I were hanging out and he said, "You know what? I never thought about this before, but you have to deal with a lot of crap. You have way thicker skin that I ever thought you did."  He then went on to tell me he had discovered Goodreads ( he is not much of a reader, so he went on there for the sole purpose of looking up my books) and was shocked at some of the things people said about my books. (And me personally, although they do not know me.The internet makes people brave.)  And I told him, "That is why I no longer look at my books on Goodreads."
He then went on to say he wanted so badly to reply to some of the especially mean ( yes, I used that word, because it is accurate in some cases) ones. He didn't of course, which I was glad of. Because Goodreads is what it is. It should be about people sharing opinions on the written word, but it has become a place for passive aggressive people to share all that pent up frustration or whatever, which means turning the bashing of authors and books into an art form.
Listen. I was a reader looooooong before I was an author. Loooooooong before. So yes, I post books on Goodreads. But when I don't like one, I would never consider putting something like: "This author should kill themself because they are the worst writer in the world!" ( Or as one Goodreads reviewer wrote after reviewing The Compound: "Her bio says she is a teacher. I guess what they say about teachers who can't is true!"  Yeah, that was the one that taught me my lesson about reading about my books on Goodreads.) 
Instead, I am careful to be kind and straightforward and always add something to the order of : "This wasn't for me, but I'm sure many other readers will like it..." Because that is the truth. Books I love are hated by many. And vice-versa. So this is what blows me away about Goodreads: that one person will say "This is terrible! I hated it!" And upwards of fifty people will reply with a "Oh, I'll take it off my list." Seriously? What kind of actually doesn't read a book they want to, just because someone else hated it?  Not a real reader, that's what I think. If there's a book that looks interesting to me, I treat it as a secret that I need to discover. If my forty closest friends ( I don't actually have that many close friends, but you get what I mean) tell me "Oh, that book sucked..." I will still pick up that book and read it, because I haven't been let in on the secret yet. That is what a real reader does.
So I have learned not to mind when a reader hates one of my books. But when other people, who have not even opened the fricking cover, dismiss it as well? That is where I really need the thick skin.

A nice Hoosier surprise...

I was in Louisville last week, speaking on a panel at the Spalding University MFA residency. On the way home, I checked my mail at the Salt Lake City airport and discovered The Compound had won the 2011-12 Indiana Young Hoosier Award. I was born in Indiana, many eons ago, plus we lived in IN from 2000-2002, so it is very cool to win the award in the state of my birth. (Plus, The Hunger Games won last year, so there you go...)

Some super news...

Last week was a bit roller coaster, because I did get this great news before I got the bad news I recently posted about.
The Compound has won the 2011 Nebraska Golden Sower Award. Here are the winners and runners-up for all three age groups...

The Hunger Games won last year which puts me in some very fine company. I'll be heading to Omaha in October to accept the award at the state library conference. ( And they have posted the nominees for next year. I'm happy to see April Henry's Girl Stolen on the list. Great book you should read if you haven't.)

Best Thursday Ever.

So, this just hit Publisher's Marketplace, so I guess I can share:

THE RAFT and THE COMPOUND author S.A. Bodeen's first four volumes of a first middle grade series, pitched as "Swiss Family Robinson" meets "Lost," about a recently-blended family on a sailing trip in the South Pacific as a bonding adventure for the new step-siblings and step-parents, when things go terribly wrong, to Jean Feiwel and Liz Szabla at Feiwel and Friends, by Scott Mendel at the Mendel Media Group (world).

My Tuesday Rocks. Just sayin'...

A couple of years ago, I read this:

The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith is one of my favorite novels of the past couple of years. It's dark and sinister and not easy to read. It's freakin' scary. If you haven't read it, because you've been too busy reading about vampires and witches and teenagers- that- are- dead -but -somehow -still- manage- to- narrate- an- entire- book-while-wearing-fashionable- clothing, you need to get it. Because it is a great read.
But I'm soooo excited, because my UPS dude, Kelly, just dropped this off.

Passenger by Andrew Smith. The sequel to one of my favorite books of the past few years. It doesn't come out until October. Yes, I despise when people do this. "Oh snap. Lookie what I've got. But you can't read it for three years yet, because it's not out, but I have a galley because I'm cool like that." I despise that. So here I am, doing a despicable thing. Only because I have been dying to get my hands on this ever since I heard it was going to happen. So I did what any respectable reader would do: begged my editor, who happens to be Andrew's editor, to send me one. And, wonderful person that she is, she sent me one . Along with a note saying Buckle up tight. It's a dangerous ride.
 ( I don't do this very often. Beg for a galley. In fact, I do it much less than often. Maybe once a year I beg for a galley I want to read.) I didn't do this so I could lord it over you all who don't have a copy. (Because those of you who live near me will certainly be knocking on my door to borrow it and I will let you. Maybe.) I wanted the thing so I can read it, because if I had to pick only novel, YA or other, to read in 2012? This one would be it. And I don't want to wait until October. So forgive me for doing that which I despise. But hey, may I just say, "Oh snap. Lookie what I've got...."

A little news before the holidays...

This is The Compound, my first YA novel that came out in 2008. I honestly never thought about writing a sequel. Ever. It was a stand-alone story with a fairly open ending. But was there really more to tell?
Apparently,according to readers, yes. This past year and a half I spent a LOT of time in middle school and high schools in states where the book has made it onto state reading award lists. And everywhere I went, it was the first question they all asked: "Will there be a sequel?" And I always said no. Sequels are never as good as the first, everyone is disappointed, etc. etc. There would be no sequel. But then, I was watching television, as I am wont to do, and heard this fairly amazing story on the science channel about a discovery. And it got me thinking. ( Also as I am wont to do...) And I came up with this CRAZY idea. In July, my editor and I presented together at a SCBWI conference in Maryland, and we had a chance to talk. I said, "Okay. I've never considered a sequel, but...I have this idea. You will either think I am insane or you will love it." I told her and and she said, "I love it."
Well, I spent the next few months working up a synopsis to go with the idea, not sure it was going to work. But, I just found out last week that it is a go. So the next book you'll see from me after The Raft will be the sequel to The Compound.