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DF Interview: Gwenda Bond gives Lois Lane the prose treatment
By Byron Brewer
She has been around since the beginning: Action Comics #1, June 1938. But even in her own comic, in the female friendly environs of the 1970s, she was never really front and center. The title to her mag said it all: Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane.
That will change when the pro reporter hits the prose! In May, young adult novelist Gwenda Bond will release on the world Lois Lane: Fallout. It is a first for Metropolis’ crusading journalist AND the Kentucky writer.
Dynamic Forces sat down with Bond (Gwenda Bond) and delved into her take on this long-time iconic character of the DC Universe.
Dynamic Forces: Wow! What a small world. In researching you, Gwenda, I discovered you are a Kentucky native, as am I. You live in Lexington and I am a little way down the road in Frankfort. Yet here we are, interviewing for a New Jersey company over a global web. 21st century, eh? (laughs)
Gwenda Bond: The world is both enormous and tiny these days, it’s true.
DF: This Lois Lane-centric novel is your first foray into a comic book-based subject, right? Tell us how this came about.
Gwenda Bond: It is, though I’m a long-time comics reader and fan and count several comics writers and artists as friends. Honestly, how this project came about is a simple story from my perspective. When someone asks if you want to write a novel starring one of your all-time favorite characters, and that character happens to be Lois Lane, then you say yes. It felt like a perfect fit.
DF: You are the author of two young adult books starring clever, smart and fearless female protagonists. How does Lois fit in? Give us your take on “Superman’s Girl Friend” in her teens.
Gwenda Bond: If there’s one thing my books so far have in common, it’s that they all feature gutsy girls. Those characters are different in many ways, of course, but they all face big challenges head on. I want my protagonists to be nuanced and complex, and to put them at the center of the kinds of stories girls may not have always gotten the starring role in. Here, Lois is very much the centerpiece, the hero around which the rest of the story orbits. All that said, I don’t believe that readers are as gendered in their tastes as we sometimes think. Take the reaction to the announcement about Fallout—I’ve heard from excited Lois fans of all kinds, teens and adults, male and female.
DF: Tell us about the novel’s storyline.
Gwenda Bond: I probably shouldn’t reveal too much, but it is about Lois starting a new school in Metropolis. Her family, after a childhood of moving around constantly for her father’s work with the military, is finally settling down there and Lois has promised her parents things are going to be different. She’s promised herself that too. But, of course, it’s not that easy. She happens upon a girl gamer who’s in trouble and needs help because a group of gamers are targeting her both in the high-tech VR game they play and real life. And at the same time, she’s given a job at a new publication the Daily Planet is starting called the Daily Scoop.
DF: How does Lois Lane: Fallout compare to some of your other works?
Gwenda Bond: The process wasn’t all that different in terms of the writing. We did discuss the story up front, but for the most part it’s been me holed up in my garret as usual banging out words and then going through rounds of edits like normal. But it was different in some ways—I was very aware, and very careful, to try and write the book that I as a Lois Lane fan would want to read. And now that the secret is out, I’m having so much fun hearing from fellow Lois fans and talking to them.
I think people who like my other books will like the Lois book, and the other way around. Or, I guess I should say I hope that they will.
DF: Are you enjoying the experience of writing about such an iconic character? Would you do another Lois Lane novel if the opportunity presented itself?
Gwenda Bond: Writing Lois is a blast—as is writing SmallvilleGuy. In fact, I joke that it’ll be much harder writing my own characters now, because whenever I get stuck I can just ask one key question: What would Lois Lane do? A mantra to solve any problem. But, more seriously, it truly has been an honor. My fingers are crossed this book finds an eager audience and there is more Lois to come.
DF: How has the process been working with DC Entertainment?
Gwenda Bond: The teams at DC and Capstone/Switch Press have been great. We are all very much on the same page of wanting to make the best book possible and do Lois justice.
DF: I am wondering who Lois’ online friend, SmallvilleGuy, is? (laughs) Does Clark play any significant role here, even as a social media presence?
Gwenda Bond: You’ve guessed his secret identity! Again, I don’t want to give too much away… But, yes, SmallvilleGuy is an important figure in Lois’s life. He’s her one real friend, and they’ve known each other for a couple of years, which is not an insignificant amount of time for two 16-year-olds and especially someone who’s moved around as much as Lois. I’ve seen some speculation about how they met and their relationship, but no one’s really gotten close yet to how it actually started and plays out here. (twirls fingers)
DF: What is it like being an author married to an author (Christopher Rowe)?
Gwenda Bond: He’s a sanity-saver. He’s my first reader, always, and vice versa, and we help each other talk out story issues. He also does most of the cooking. Food: an important part of writing any novel. (wink)
For this specific project, he’s also a huge Superman and Lois fan (we’re a DC household, generally speaking, though we both read other stuff too), so that was a big help. We’re actually working on a project for younger readers together, and neither of us has poisoned the other yet, so it must be going okay.
DF: Before we leave, and for the sake of local promo, tell us why you love your Old Kentucky Home.
Gwenda Bond: Kentucky is home, and I do love it. I feel like literary culture is valued here, stories are treated as important, and as a storyteller being surrounded by that is invaluable. Plus, we have good bourbon.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank fellow Kentuckian Gwenda Bond for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions. Lois Lane: Fallout is due out in May!
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