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Zoje Stage Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Baby Teeth (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bad Apple (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Zoje Stage (her first name is pronounced ZOH-yuh) writes and used to be a filmmaker. She was one of the 2008 Fellow’s in Screenwriting that came from the New York Foundation of the Arts and was an Emerging Storytellers Fellow from the Independent Filmmaker Project. Stage resides in Pittsburgh.

Her work is from the suspense and thriller genres.

Before writing for adults, she wrote for young adults. She would run with any and all the ideas she had. She took to liking teenage heroes due to their limitations and she liked solving character type problems within those limitations. However, the more she read the books, it did not seem that she was the intended audience and was unsure if she could tell stories to that generation.

Stage feels that the criteria for the books that she likes reading should apply to the ones she writes. It was here that she began to write books that she would most want to read.

The idea for her first book, “Baby Teeth”, came while she was trying to be a filmmaker. She wrote a screenplay called “Hands and Knees” that she wanted to direct. The family was similar to “Baby Teeth”, but there was a totally different theme: a woman getting overwhelmed with her perceived horrors of domesticity. She was wanting to make a film geared toward the mood, and give it a cinematic look.

She was able to discuss the screenplay with almost twenty producers. A lot of the people who read it, gave her similar feedback: they wanted her to take out the less implied horror parts and more real creepy parts and to know what the deal was with the girl. In the script, Hanna’s character was not quite as fleshed out or was the subplot that involved her fights with her mom.

It was that same year that she decided to try and write novels, and tried writing them for a few years. During this time, she wrote five novels before this one. Her idea for “Hands and Knees” stuck with her, and when she could bring the novel writing skills to the story, she fleshed out all of the characters, bearing in mind the advice she had gotten from the producers all the years before.

The novel started to take on its own life, and is a lot different from the script, especially when she made two big decisions. She gave Suzette Crohn’s Disease (to make her more vulnerable, and give her a weakness which her daughter uses against her) and to write as a dual perspective where Hanna and Suzette are both the protagonist of their story but the antagonist of the other’s story. The characters started to take on their own life as well, and she had to listen to what they were saying.

There are some big differences between a script and a novel. There is absolutely zero internalization, not much back story and description, and the dialogue usually gets put in the middle of a page. Being an indie do it yourself filmmaker, she wore many hats that enabled her to better at telling a story, and it gave her enough discipline to finish a big project.

As an actor, she learned to not think of any character she was playing as evil, rather to see their motives as the natural consequence from their desire, life, and experiences. It made her focus on each of the truths the characters had.

She set the book in her home city of Pittsburgh because it is a very dynamic place, the town she knows best, and just a beautiful place. Setting it in Pittsburgh fits for the story, because the characters live in a very green house. It shows that the city has rebuilt its image since the steel mill days. It has become a super high-tech city since those days.

She finds herself to be a slow learner, as she is not all that analytical; she has to do something and not just read on the subject.

With some of her novels, she feels that she might have moved away from some of her early novels. She believes they might have been saved with some more rewriting. Stage finds that she liked taking what she learned with the other books and applying that to a new project. “Baby Teeth” would not have been possible for her to even write as a first novel, or a fourth as she did not have the necessary skills at the time.

Working with Crohn’s disease has made her write within perimeters that she has set up for herself, as she does not have the stamina that many take for granted. She is able to get a lot accomplished in just a short amount of time. While she was on Pitch Wars, she was given a deadline, which caused her a lot of stress. This is something that her body does not handle all that well.

“Baby Teeth” is the first novel, which was released in the year 2018. Here is Hanna. She is sweet yet silent angel, according to her Daddy. He is the sole person that can understand her, and Hanna only wants to live with him and be happy. Mommy stands in the way. Hanna is going to try every trick she knows to get her out of the way. Hopefully, for good.

Here is Suzette. She loves Hanna, but after many expulsions and home schooling that has not gone well, both her sanity and already weak health get weaker by the day. Hanna starts getting more sophisticated with the tricks she tries, and Suzette’s husband still does not see the family dynamic fail. It makes Suzette see that there is something really wrong here, and possibly home is not the best place for their baby daughter.

The book is one messed up ride, but readers cannot get enough of it. Fans of the novel found this to be a quick and excellent read. Thriller fans are certainly going to enjoy reading this one. Some were on the edge of their seat and thrilled the entire time. The novel is gripping and well written, the novel is tense and is disturbing to read. Upon finishing the book, some were happy about how it ends.

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