the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

Gwenda Bond and LOIS LANE: FALLOUT!

Posted by Robin Herrera on Fri, May 01, 2015 @ 08:05 AM

Welcome to Gwenda Bond, whose newest young adult book, LOIS LANE: FALLOUT, launches TODAY from Switch Press! (And yes, it's THAT Lois Lane!)

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Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over--and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won't be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They're messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it's all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy . . .

Welcome, Gwenda! Tell us, how did this book come about? Were you approached to write the story of teenaged Lois Lane, or did you pitch it to someone? 

I was approached about writing a YA novel featuring Lois Lane, via my agent, and of course interested immediately. Once I confirmed that there would be some flexibility and freedom in terms of what shape it would take, I more than enthusiastically signed on. It all came together very quickly.

Do you have any other superheroes (or non-superheroes!) you'd love to write about, given the chance? 

Hmmm—good question! This particular project is truly a dream to get to do. But I love a good superhero story and am a long-time comics reader, so I’m definitely open to the possibility of doing other work along these lines. I’m also actually writing a follow-up to my circus novel, Girl on a Wire, about a young woman who wants to be a famous magician (working title Abracadabra Girl), which undoubtedly has a hint of my Zatanna love in it somewhere if you look closely.

What kind of research did you do while writing? Read the comics, watch the movies? Do you have a favorite resource you came across while researching? (Favorite movie or comic also counts!)

I didn’t do that much research while writing, but I did revisit a few things during the outlining stage. I re-watched the Superman movies featuring Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder (Donner cut of Superman II forever!), read some essays about Lois Lane, and revisited some of my favorite comics featuring the characters (Kurt Busiek’s Superman: Secret Identity and some issues of Superman’s Girlfriend, among others). I did have a guidebook to Metropolis that came in handy during the writing, however.

The cover design is badass. How did the cover for Lois Lane: Fallout come about?

There were actually several different iterations of it! Each one was somehow better than the next, even though I fully loved all of them (and you can find them with an image search—ghost covers in the machine!). Bob Lentz at Capstone is the mastermind behind them and the entire final book design. The finished hardcovers are truly beautiful objects in and of themselves. Trivia: the newsprint on the final cover is actually a scene from the book, the first time Lois and SmallvilleGuy “meet” in the virtual reality game that features in the plot.  

Did anything end up getting cut that you kind of miss?

Not really! Most of the edits were adding things or enhancing what was there. It was a fabulous editorial process (hat tip to my wonderful editor Beth Brezenoff for that).

Who were your advisors at VCFA?

First semester was Tim Wynne-Jones, second was Uma Krishnaswami, third was Leda Schubert, and for my final semester I had Martine Leavitt. I still feel incredibly lucky that I got to work with each of them, and with the faculty who ran my residency workshops.

How did attending VCFA affect your writing life?

VCFA completely transformed my writing life. It taught me how to write novels, for one, but also gave me a deep grounding in children’s and YA literature—and an introduction to the community around it—that has proved invaluable. I also wouldn’t understand POV half as well if Leda hadn’t kept pushing me on my critical thesis.

What is your favorite VCFA memory?

Oh, this is hard! Probably just any random residency night, bonding with my fellow classmates. We were known informally as “the class that stayed at Betsy’s” (and were super small compared to others!). Many, many good times.

What advice would you give to a prospective VCFA student?

Stretch—don’t be afraid to try new things. Think of this as your time to experiment with different forms and formats under expert guidance. Listen to your advisors, and also always to your own voice. They’ll help you do that too, and that’s maybe the most important part of being a writer.

What do you wish you had known before you first set foot on the VCFA campus?

Despite everyone’s best efforts, I don’t think I was fully prepared for the cold of Vermont in the winter. Bring toe-warmers!

Yes, the winters are truly frigid. Layer up, prospective students! And thank you, Gwenda, for stopping by!

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Gwenda Bond is the author of the young adult novels Lois Lane: Fallout and Girl on a Wire, among others. She has also written for Publishers Weekly, the Los Angeles Timesand the Washington Post, among other publications. She has an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, author Christopher Rowe, and their menagerie.

Visit her online at or@gwenda on twitter.

Topics: young adult, 2015 release, Gwenda Bond, Switch Press

October Round-Up!

Posted by Adi Rule on Fri, Nov 07, 2014 @ 05:11 AM

awardsDeborah WilesRevolution (Scholastic) was shortlisted for the National Book Award. Wow!

Congratulations to Joyce Ray, who has won a 2014 Silver Moonbeam award for Feathers & Trumpets: A Story of Hildegard of Bingen (Apprentice Shop Books, illus. Lisa Greenleaf)!

Hooray for Linda Oatman High, who has won a 2014 Gold Moonbeam award for Teeny Little Grief Machines (Saddleback Educational Publishing)!

Brotherhood by Anne (A. B.) Westrick has won the inaugural Housatonic Book Award for Writing for Middle Grades and YA. Congratulations, Anne!

Congratulations to Kelly Bingham (Z is for Moose) and Julie Berry (All the Truth That's In Me) for their UKLA Award nominations!




It's here! The cover for Anne Bustard's Anywhere But Paradise (Egmont USA, 2015) has been revealed . . . and we love it!

Author/illustrator pj lyons has sold two board books to Zonderkidz. Wahoo!

The new collection EMINEM and Rap, Poetry, Race (McFarland) includes an essay by our own Stephen Bramucci!

We're having triple celebrations with Wendie Old, whose biographies The Wright Brothers, Aviation Pioneers and Inventors; The Life of Duke Ellington, Giant of Jazz; and The Life of Louis Armstrong, King of Jazz (Enslow), have been released in paperback and ebook.





Dana Walrath gave a brilliant TEDx talk on Comics, Medicine, and Memory. MediaBistro/Galleycat gave her a nice shout-out and so did Entertainment Weekly. Wow!

Publishers Weekly came out with their list of Best Children's Books of 2014, and it includes Deborah Wiles' Revolution, A. S. King's Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, and Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun!

The YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults nominations continue, and we're thrilled to see Caminar by Skila BrownGlory O'Brien's History of the Future by A. S. KingEvil Librarian by Michelle KnudsenHow It Went Down by Kekla Magoon, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, and Revolution by Deborah Wiles on the list!

The Los Angeles Times posted a great review of Kekla Magoon's How It Went Down.

The Huffington Post named Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond one of 5 Great Reads for Your Bookclub.

Buzzfeed listed Micol Ostow's Amity one of 13 Young Adult Novels to Spook You This Halloween

And for more spookiness, check out Michelle Knudsen's Evil Librarian on Mashable's 9 Scary YA Books for Halloween Fans Too Old to Trick-or-Treat! (If you need us, we'll be under the covers!)


Topics: Linda Oatman High, round-up, Saddleback Educational Publishing, Scholastic, Apprentice Shop Books, Joyce Ray, A. B. Westrick, Deborah Wiles, Skila Brown, Kekla Magoon, Kelly Bingham, Jandy Nelson, Dana Walrath, Wendie Old, McFarland, Enslow, congratulations, Julie Berry, Micol Ostow, A. S. King, Michelle Knudsen, Stephen Bramucci, pj lyons, Zonderkidz, Gwenda Bond

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