Oct 19, 2012

Interview and Review: Behind the Bookcase by Mark Steensland

Mark Steensland, Author

Hello All! Today we are welcoming Mark Steensland, the author of Behind the Bookcase.

Hi Mark! Could you tell us a little about yourself?
That’s a big question! I’ll start by saying that I am a 23-year overnightsuccess because I have been working on getting a novel published for that long. I’ve published several non-fiction books and some short stories andI worked as a journalist for many years, but this is my first publishednovel and it only took six years to make it from my head and intobookstores!

I love Behind the Bookcase and will be telling everyone to read it. Howdid you come up with the idea for this story?
My family actually moved to Pennsylvania from California, just like thefamily in the book. The house we bought has bookcases that appearbuilt-in, but come out from the wall. We were told this was probably foraccess to the eaves, because the house is a Craftsman style, or may havebeen used to hide valuables. My kids wanted to play back there, but Iwouldn’t allow it. Then I started thinking about what might happen if theydid play back there. At the same time, I was doing a series of paintingswww.whatisbehindthebookcase.com) in which my son,Ben, gives a tour of the house that inspired the book.

Did you find inspiration in people you knew for the characters?
It wasn’t so much that I was writing people I knew as just imaginingpeople like us in this specific situation, if you understand what I mean.Sarah is not modeled on my daughter, exactly. But she is a young girl whomade this big move across the country and wanted to play behind a bookcasethat comes out from the wall.

What is your favorite part about the writing process? Do you have a special writing spot?
I don’t have a special writing spot, exactly. My writing process involvesa lot of walking. I go for long walks and plan out what I’m going to tryand write for the day. I don’t use an outline, so my favorite part is discovering what is going to happen next for the characters.

What do you have planned next? Are you working on anything currently?
I’ve sold another novel to my editor at Random House. It is not a sequelor follow-up to “Behind the Bookcase.” It’s another middle-gradestand-alone called “The Redemption Game.” It’s about a man who tells his 12-year old son that he was once the world’s greatest magician and that heran a traveling carnival of magicians. An evil magician turned the whole carnival into a deck of cards and now this man has been hiding for a longtime before telling his son that he needs his help to find this evil magician and free his friends from the deck. The book itself is designedlike a deck of cards. It has 52 chapters and each chapter is another cardin the deck--another part of the carnival that has been transformed. Ialso have another idea that my editor likes, but we’ve got to get through“The Redemption Game” first.

What are you reading right now? Any book recommendations for us?
I tend to read too many things at once. Right now I’m reading “Mrs. Frisbyand the Rats of NIMH.” I’m really busy right now with promoting “Behindthe Bookcase” and moving back to California, so that’s going slowly. But Imanaged to read a lot at the beginning of the summer. I re-read “Bridge toTerabithia,” which I really admire. I also enjoyed reading “Freak theMighty” and “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” for the first time.I was in the middle of reading “The Hobbit” to my boys, in anticipation oftheir seeing the movie in December, but we got interrupted by thiscross-country move. Real life will do that to you sometimes.

Thank you for joining us Mark!

Behind the BookcaseBehind the Bookcase by Mark Steensland
Available: NOW!! October 9, 2012
Publisher: Random House

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Background: Sarah and Billy are brother and sister and have come to their grandmothers old house to pack it up to sell it with their parents. The problem is, that while there, the children find out that behind the bookcases are secret passageways to other worlds and that their grandmother had a very important job to do.

Review: Go get this book for yourself, your children, your grandparents, it is adorable and full of surprises. There are illustrations throughout the book and they just add to its wonder. I loved the characters, Sarah and Billy act their ages and are also brave and defiant. The plot is adorable and I absolutely loved it. I am a huge fan of books and bookcases and I think that it would be amazing if there really were other worlds behind them, kind of like a play on books themselves- you can dive right into something completely different. I think that this book is great for all ages. I received an e-copy to review, but immediately went out and bought the hardback. I plan on passing it along to my sister and then friends. So cute!

E-Book received from Netgalley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Link to Post with Behind the Bookcase Trailer

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