An Interview with Gwenda Bond, author of Lois Lane: Fallout

Last week, I reviewed the most recent Gwenda Bond work, Lois Lane: Fallout. I read and reviewed the book here, and I had a lot of questions about possible criticisms to the book that I addressed in a separate article that I wrote here.

I was very fortunate that I could submit a list of questions to the author, and here are the questions that I asked:

1)       Okay, let’s bring up the obvious question:  Did you first conceive of a Lois Lane YA novel first, or was DC comics looking to write a Lois Lane YA novel and you applied to be the writer?   If you approached them, how did they respond at first?  If they approached you, what convinced DC comics to hire you for the job?

From my standpoint, things came about remarkably quickly. DC and Capstone were planning a novel featuring Lois as a teen reporter, and my agent was approached about whether I was interested in writing it. The answer was YES, obviously. I can’t speak to their decision-making, but I’m extremely grateful for it. A dream opportunity.

2)      According to the “About the Author”, it sounds like you really like Lois Lane.  Tell me about where you first learned about her, and why you grew to like her so much?

My first concrete memory of the character is Margot Kidder in the Superman movie, which was one of my favorites as a kid. I was instantly intrigued by her, this career woman with a sense of humor, tough but not without vulnerability. There’s also something particularly appealing about the fact that, sure, she’s interested in Superman, but he’s also just as interested in her—with good reason. I always kept an eye on Superman, first through my brother’s hand-me-down comics and then my own as an adult. She’s an incredibly rich character. Iconic, yes, after more than 75 years, but also always human, flawed, and fascinating. A character like Lois is a gift to write. She wants something, always, in every single scene.

3)      There have been comparisons to young Lois with Veronica Mars as well as Nancy Drew.  Were you inspired by these young girl detectives in any way?

I definitely love a girl detective! In fact, most of my novels feature daring or gutsy girls solving a mystery of one sort of another. No surprise, I suppose, given that YA novels are often about becoming who you are and figuring out where you fit in the world, which can be like unraveling a mystery. I was a huge fan of Veronica Mars, so I take the comparisons very much as a compliment, even while I think there are major differences between the characters. I bet they’d get along smashingly.

4)      Did you want to involve Clark Kent in the plot at first?  Did DC insist that you do?

I’ve said before, I feel like these are characters that are better together. It felt right to have him be a part of Lois’s life, even though she’s younger than we usually see her.

5)      There are clearly some things that Lois Lane can’t do in this book, such as meet Clark in real life.  Were there some rules set by DC of what you can and cannot do with a teenage Lois Lane?

Honestly, I’ve had a tremendous amount of freedom and support to shape the story and this version of Lois (and Clark) as I wanted to. I did an outline early on, but I think everyone involved has been on the same page all along, wanting to do justice to these characters.

6)      Let’s talk about Maddy, James, and Devin.  As far as I know, they are not inspired by any characters from the Superman mythos.  Are they based on actual people that you know or knew?

I don’t typically base characters on people I know, and this case is no different. I did want to create in Lois’s fellow members of the Daily Scoop staff (which is a publication new to the world/book) a cast that people would invest in. I wanted them to be fun characters to read in their own right, with some surprises up their sleeves. I hope people like them.

7)      The technology with the holosets and Worlds War Three was quite unusual, and it almost puts a bit of a science fiction twist on the book.  Is there a reason why you went in this unusual direction instead of just a regular MMO game?

This is absolutely 100 percent intentional. There’s a smattering of technology more advanced than our own throughout the book, the Worlds War Three game being the most prominent example. There were a few reasons why I wanted to go this route. The first is simply that Superman itself is science fiction at heart, being about an alien, and is also suffused with super science. I didn’t want to lose that. I also felt instinctively that even as young Clark is still discovering the extent of his powers there would be glimpses of things beyond the easily explainable popping up in the world, and Lois would be one of the first to pick up on that and begin to write about it. I didn’t want these elements to be overwhelming, more part of the fabric of Lois’s Metropolis and the world at large. Hopefully, it feels just slightly more advanced than ours.

8)      Do you intend to write any more Lois Lane books, or can you not talk about that?

I can’t answer this. But picture me with a cryptic smile.

9)      Is there any plan to write more YA novels based on other DC intellectual properties?

My hands are full with Lois, so I don’t know the answer. Personally, I’d love to see more stories like this. On the Marvel side, I’m very excited about Margie Stohl’s Black Widow YA novel coming out this fall.

Okay, that ends the interview, and I think question number eight is probably answered by her not answering it.

Our review of Lois Lane: Fallout, a YA novel

Lois Lane FalloutI had an terrific chance to review a YA (young adult) novel entitled Lois Lane: Fallout, by Gwenda Bond, published by Switch Press. Of course, being a big Superman fan since my youth, I had to give it a try.

I’m sure that many of you are thinking: “Oh man, another cash-in”. Yes, this is about a young Lois Lane, but it doesn’t appear to exist as a prequel to anything Superman. In fact, one of the things that I like about this book is that Lois Lane: Fallout is that it can stand on its own. It doesn’t really take a huge stretch of imagination to envision what a teenage Lois Lane would be like, but perhaps the better question is: why hasn’t it been done before?

From my Press Release, the critic quotes describe a young Lois Lane as similar to Katniss (Everdeen from The Hunger Games) and Veronica Mars. I have to admit that there are some similarities, but Lois Lane is an original character, assuming that you don’t know about Superman.

man of steel 2Lois Lane is introduced as a “military brat”, which matches her comic book roots. She always refers to her father as “The General” and never “Dad”, and Lois has moved from town to town a lot as her father is constantly stationed from place to place. The book begins as Lois Lane starts as a sixteen year old girl at a high school in Metropolis. She discovers a case with a new friend named Anavi who is being bullied by a clique of kids in black known as The Warheads.

Lois is soon recruited by Perry White (the same guy from the Superman comic) to work for the Daily Scoop, which is kind of a juvenile version of the Daily Planet. I guess Perry had to get his start somewhere, and so does Lois, who believes that there is a story with The Warheads.

Lois works with three friends and fellow reporters who help her named Maddy, Devin, and James. As far as I know, it doesn’t like these characters are related to the Superman stories from the comics or Superman legends. Lois does get some help from an online friend who is known from Smallville Guy. Yeah, do I even need to tell you who this is? It’s a younger pre-Superman Clark Kent! Of course, the audience knows that, and I won’t tell you how he gets involved.

Lois and moreYeah, I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that most of the book is Lois investigating the Warheads. Now the Warheads are this group who seem to have some weird hive-mind mentality. I have to admit that they have an interesting symbolic feel of how high school works, and I was definitely taken back to my high school memories with this work.

Now, this book would have worked even if Lois wasn’t the main character, but I will have to admit that there is one thing that I had a problem with. In the book, Lois uses a holoset to play an online game known as Worlds War Three to track down the Warheads. This holoset is some tech that we don’t have now, as it can project images of a game onto our eyes. It is pretty close to the Oculus Rift, but it brings a bit of a science fiction element that is similar to Ready Player One.

Lois Lane: Fallout will be released on May 1st, according to Amazon. I would probably say that it is good enough for a sequel, but if it becomes a series, it might be better if it doesn’t try and tie in any Superman lore. Let’s let Lois Lane stand on her own.