Sophomore Spotlight: Gwenda Bond
Today I'm excited to welcome Gwenda Bond to the blog for Sophomore Spotlight to chat about her sophomore novel, The Woken Gods.
by Strange Chemistry.
The more things change…
Five years ago, the gods of ancient mythology awoke all around the world.
The more things stay the same…
This morning, Kyra Locke is late for school because of an argument with her father.
Seventeen-year-old Kyra lives in a transformed Washington, D.C., dominated by the embassies of divine pantheons and watched over by the mysterious Society of the Sun that governs mankind’s relations with the gods. But when rebellious Kyra encounters two trickster gods on her way home, one offering a threat and the other a warning, it turns out her life isn't what it seems. She escapes with the aid of Osborne "Oz" Spencer, a young Society field operative, only to discover that her scholar father has disappeared with a dangerous Egyptian relic. The Society needs the item back, and they aren’t interested in her protests that she knows nothing about it or her father's secrets.
Now Kyra must depend on her wits and the suspect help of scary Sumerian gods, her estranged oracle mother, and, of course, Oz--whose first allegiance is to the Society. She has no choice if she’s going to recover the missing relic and save her father. And if she doesn't? Well, that may just mean the end of the world as she knows it. From the author of Blackwood comes a fresh, thrilling urban fantasy that will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and Rick Riordan.
I'm a huge mythology geek so this book really just screams "Jessica"! Anyway, onto the interview!
First of all, thank you, Gwenda, for joining me for Sophomore Spotlight! To start us off, please describe your sophomore novel in 5 words or less.
G: Ancient gods in modern Washington, D.C. (I’m counting Washington, D.C. as one word!)
Okay, I suppose that's fair game. But guys, if those "five" words don't grab you, I don't know what will.
How did the journey for The Woken Gods differ from that for your debut, Blackwood?
G: I suppose the biggest difference was that this was my first time working on a project that was sold based on a synopsis. I’d been playing around with a version of this idea for some time, but I basically threw out most of what I’d done and started over. And then…I did that again after I wrote the first draft. But that time stuck.
What kind of research was involved in writing this story?
G: A great deal, though hopefully most of it informed how I told the story and isn’t in evidence weighing it down. I assembled a slew of mythology and ancient religion reference books, and read up on apocalyptic traditions and lesser known myths. A friend’s husband gave me several Ancient Aliens episodes that focused on D.C., which was not really research but fun nonetheless. And I did a great deal of reading about the Library of Congress and the Jefferson Building, along with some other D.C. sites, and, of course, on the ground research (the most fun of all).
Wow, that does sound like a lot! When it comes to mythology research though, I find myths are just like stories in themselves so that (along with the ground research .. awesome!) was probably the fun part, eh?
What is the best part of already having a book out in the world?
G: I would have to say hearing from readers who enjoyed it. I pinch myself every time.
Did you change anything about your writing process for this novel after having written your debut?
G: My writing process is fairly unpredictable to begin with—I tend to write at roughly the same times and in the same amounts, but how much revision a given book needs and how long it takes me to crack open the story varies wildly. And I think every book presents its own challenges and forces some changes from the way you wrote the last one. Blackwood didn’t undergo the same kind of radical changes I made over the course of writing The Woken Gods. Also, there’s a whole new kind of pressure in writing a book that’s already sold, because you know you have to deliver that book and that at least some people will definitely read it. So, I really had to write myself onto the edge of a cliff and jump off, but hopefully the end result is worth it.
Can you share a favourite quote from The Woken Gods?
G: Ooh, hard. How about this one?
“Be careful, girl,” the woman says, her hands dipping back into the water, the fire dying. The thin coating of liquid on her skin that allows the trick is visible with the flame extinguished. She picks up the money. “Secrets are like wolves. They have sharp teeth.”
Ooooh I like it! Very mysterious, very intriguing.
The zombie apocalypse is coming and you have to choose one character from your new novel to help you survive it. Who would you choose and why?
G: This particular novel is filled with good options, actually, assuming any of the gods would agree to be helpful. So, Anzu if I pick a god, because he’s fearsome and can fly, or Oz, if it has to be one of the human members of the cast.
I definitely do think having gods on your side would serve you quite well during the apocalypse.
If you could enter the world of any book, which would you choose and why?
G: Wow, I just don’t know. Most of my favorites have some serious downsides. Maybe some kind of bohemian utopia, if such a book exists? Or possibly the Graceling world (but only if I got to have a grace!).
In keeping with our theme here, are there any other sophomore releases you've either recently read and loved or are looking forward to?
G: Kim Curran’s Control, her sequel to Shift, is fabulous. And I absolutely adored Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm.
Ah, both excellent choices! I'm excited to get to those, especially Siege and Storm after all the high praise I've heard.
Can you share anything about your next project?
G: I’m happy to. My next novel is Girl on a Wire, and it’ll be out from Skyscape sometime next year. It’s about a girl from a legendary circus family who performs as a daredevil high-wire walker. When she becomes the target of mysterious sabotage, she has to team up with her archrival to find the culprit. I’m super-excited about it.
Circus, daredevil, sabotage, and teaming up with her archrival? Could you ask for anything mroe from a book, really? I'm excited!
Thank you, Gwenda for taking part in Sophomore Spotlight!
Strange Chemistry has been kind enough to offer up a copy of The Woken Gods for an international giveaway!
Some Rules (aka the not so fun but important part):
~ This giveaway is open internationally (void where prohibited).
~ No P.O. boxes.
~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via email. The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email, otherwise they forfeit their prize and I will choose another winner, who must abide by the same rules.
~ Gwenda, Strange Chemistry and I are not responsible for lost or damaged packages.
~ No cheating! In this case, I have the right to disqualify entries as I see fit.
~ By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to these rules.
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