There’s something about a good survivalist story that really gets to me. I love it when characters have to go foraging for food or have to ration out supplies–and I also like seeing how the aftermath of a major disaster can bring out the best and the worst in people.
When I first read The Compound by S.A. Bodeen, my favorite parts of the book were most definitely how the author thought out how Eli’s family dealt with dwindling supplies, and how paranoia and helplessness make them consider unthinkable solutions. With the sequel releasing tomorrow, we invited the author to join us as part of The Fallout’s official blog tour to tell us what she couldn’t live without when the apocalypse comes. I’m pleased as punch that she mentions one of my favorite series in this post, too!
Survival Should Involve Chocolate
by S.A. Bodeen
People always want to know where I got the inspiration for The Compound, a tale of a family living in an underground compound after a nuclear attack. Usually I attribute it to my junior high and school years, when nuclear proliferation was nearing its peak and my school actually made us do drills for a nuclear attack. But recently I realized that my interest in survival was stirred much earlier than that.
One of my favorite series as a child was the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. And seriously, what were those about if not survival? The hungry Ingalls family is in a sod house in the middle of the prairie and a raging blizzard, down to their last sack of flour: survival. Laura goes to play in the babbling brook which has become a raging torrent of water and she gets sucked under the footbridge and clings for her life, no one to hear her screams: survival. Pa is caught on the prairie in the middle of the night, surrounded by wolves: do I have to say it? Survival. My love of the breathless will they make it out alive was instilled by Laura Ingalls. I was totally mapped by her heinous years of survival.
But I’ll be honest here. I could not have survived life as a pioneer woman. (I barely survived driving to Oregon in an SUV for three days, let alone walking beside a wagon train in a corset for six months.) People who know this about me are sometimes surprised to hear I was a Peace Corps volunteer, in Africa of all places. It was an adjustment, believe me, and I found my own ways to survive. For one, I discovered this little hole-in-the-wall duka that sold Cadbury Dairy Milk bars. I bought as many as I could afford on my meager PC allowance. The single worst stretch of the entire Peace Corps experience? The month of Ramadan when you could not buy a bar of chocolate in the entire country of Tanzania. Now that was something to survive. (Oh, there was also the incident on Mount Kilimanjaro when I had altitude sickness so bad they told me I would die if I didn’t get down immediately, so I stumbled down a mountain in an electrical storm holding a metal lightning rod…er …ski pole and made up newspaper headlines announcing my death. Good times.)
So when I wrote The Compound, I thought about what I would need to survive. And by survive I mean a form of high-maintenance survival. You know, not just stuck in a Conex box buried under the ground like in the movie Take Shelter (brilliant movie by the way, Michael Shannon deserved an Oscar) but somewhere kinda cushy. Which is why I gave the Yanakakis family such a cool place. They had nice rooms and movies and books and music and plenty of food. (Okay, maybe that part didn’t turn out so well.) I basically gave them a nice shelter over their heads until it all began to fall apart, because in my thinking, survival should involve actual living, not scrambling about in the forest looking for some disgusting bugs to eat.
But to me, the world of The Compound seemed fictional, because no one really takes survival that seriously, right? Well then my research for The Fallout led me to some very interesting survival condos built inside old nuclear missile silos. And seriously, the builders gave some serious thought to survival. We’re talking my kind of high-maintenance survival. Those places are luxurious, way better than the Yanakakis family’s compound. And now, after writing those two novels, I think I get the reasoning behind the survival condos. If you’re going to survive, things should be at least as good as they were on the topside, right? I mean, there better at least be some chocolate.
Win The Compound & The Fallout! Thanks to our friends at Macmillan Teen, we have a copy of both books in The Compound series to give away to our readers.
All you have to do is leave a comment below telling us what you couldn’t live without when the apocalypse comes, and fill out the Rafflecopter form!
Open to U.S. and Canadian residents 18 and older, or 13 and older with parental permission. Please see entry form for complete details.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author
S.A. Bodeen is the award-winning author of the Elizabeti’s Doll series of picture books, as well as several others.
Her first young adult novel The Compound was released in 2008 and recently won the Maryland BlackEyedSusan Award, Nebraska Golden Sower Award, and the Indiana Young Hoosier Award. Her second YA The Gardener was featured on Good Morning America as a Best Summer Teen Read. The Fallout will be released September 2013 from Feiwel and Friends/MacMillan.
Check out the rest of The Fallout Tour!
Live to Read
I Read Banned Books
Book YA Review
The Book Monsters
The Midnight Garden
Adventures of a Book Junkie
That Artsy Reader Girl
Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf
Our thanks to the author for her guest post, as well as to Macmillan Teen for providing the books for this giveaway.