What Would Lois Do?

My first encounter with Lois Lane is one shared with millions of people, and no doubt some of you reading this: Margot Kidder’s witty, sharp, sincere portrayal opposite Christopher Reeve’s Superman. I’ve often said that I’m not sure anymore whether I love that version of Superman so much because of my affinity for great, banter-filled classic screwball films and their effortless mash-up of humor with more serious themes—particularly screwballs set in newsrooms like His Girl Friday—or if my affinity for those came from loving Superman as a kid. Re-watching it (and the Donner cut of the sequel!) just before I started writing Fallout, I was struck by how Reeve as Clark Kent seems to be channeling Cary Grant at times, and how Kidder as Lois Lane could be heading out to meet up with Rosalind Russell for drinks.

SUPERMAN-007

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After falling in love with the Superman movie, I always kept my eye on those characters, first reading my big brother’s comic books, and later reading my own.

The versions of Superman I love best are equal parts serious themes and humor, mystery and banter, secrets and confidences. Underlying all those things is perhaps the most important element of all—optimism. Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman are such a great team in part because they are both clear-eyed and able to see the bad and the good in the world. But no matter how dark the bad gets, neither of them flinches in their commitment to the good and doing what’s right. Or, in my favorite-favorite portrayals, in their commitment to each other.

Lois1There have been many versions of Lois Lane over the years. She’s a character who has had many lives. Some incarnations and eras have been better than others, but that’s part of the mark of a great comics character, isn’t it? A character who grows with good portrayals, but easily survives not-so-good ones. This is a character that has done far more than that. She is iconic. Most of us could probably describe the major traits that define her: her fast-talking wit, her ability to feel emotion deeply (whether it’s irritation or love), her dedication to truth and justice, her loyalty, ambition, impulsiveness and stubbornness, being the best at her job as a reporter and willing to do whatever it takes to get the story, screwing up and then getting right back out there to make things right. She is truly a superhero without any superpowers.

Approaching this character to give her a whole new portrayal for a new generation, I kept all this very much in mind. I also realized that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have ended up getting a journalism degree as an undergraduate, if not for Kidder’s Lois Lane. So, what Lois Lane means to me could fill a book (or several), but having gotten to write this character (what a gift), she now means even more to me. Jokingly, I’ve said that one of the best parts about writing Lois is that you can just ask: “What would Lois do?” and there’s your plot. But, after writing her as a teenager, in the process of becoming who she’s meant to be, I feel like this is actually useful in a much larger sense. I feel like Lois Lane is a friend I know almost as well as I know myself. This is about to get schmaltzy enough to make Lois roll her eyes, even if she agreed. But here goes:

I hope that reaLoisLanefinalcoverders of Fallout—particularly girls—end up feeling the same way. Because if you’re afraid to take a risk or not sure if you can pull something off, if you’re not sure whether to stand up for someone else or what to do in a given situation, then the question of what would Lois do, or of what she’d tell you to do, will work. What would Lois do? The answer will always be smart, brave, and to value yourself and what’s right. Lois would tell you, “So you’re afraid, you got this.” Or, “It won’t be easy, but of course you have to do it anyway.” Or, “You know what’s happening to that other person isn’t right, so what can you do to help fix it? That’s what you do.” Or, “You know you deserve better, so don’t accept less.” Or, “You screwed up, majorly. Now you do what you can to make it right, and move on.” Because all those things? Those are what Lois would do. And that’s what Lois means to me—the kind of smart, brave, self-valuing commitment to justice that everyone can try to achieve. We can all share this superpower.

***

Updated: Putting in a break point here, because obviously the contest below is over.

We want to know what Lois Lane means to you in advance of Fallout’s official publication next month. I love this contest idea, because I can’t wait to see everyone talking about Lois. Even if you already ordered and don’t enter for the free copy, share your Lois thoughts.

p.s. Lois Lane: Fallout has not sold out! I’ve seen a few people worried that they might not be able to get a copy. But it’s fine, I promise. Amazon was temporarily out of stock because they started filling orders from an early shipment (looks like they currently have fivethree copies left in stock as of this writing, with more coming!), and you may start seeing copies in some bookstores early too. But everyone will be able to get it for you no later than May 1, so preorder or order or wait to buy then wherever you like. And, yes, it is true that it’s important to buy copies if you can or request from your library if you can’t, because it helps prove there’s an audience for the book/series. Early sales mean a lot to books. And your excitement about the release has meant the world — I hope everyone loves the book.

(This essay was originally posted as bonus content for the YA Scavenger Hunt last week, if it looks familiar.)

The YA Scavenger Hunt Is On

YASH-circle-background-2Welcome to this stop of the YA Scavenger Hunt extravaganza!

I’m Gwenda Bond *wave* and my bonus content is being hosted by the wonderful, amazing Colleen Houck (she founded this whole shebang!). It’s an essay about what Lois Lane means to me, inspired by my new book Lois Lane: Fallout (out May 1!) — a signed copy of which is up for grabs as part of the Blue Team prize. (You can also find out at the end of the essay how to be part of a campaign related to #LoisLaneFallout and enter to win an early copy.)

If you’re new to the hunt, this tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for Team blue72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are EIGHT contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all of ’em. I’m a part of the BLUE TEAM, as I mentioned — but there are also all those other teams with a chance to win a whole different set of signed books.

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.

 

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It’s A Book (!) + YASH + Stuff

Yesterday was very exciting, because I was informed there were two mystery boxes on the front porch when Christopher arrived home from the bookstore.

It looked like there might be finished copies of Fallout inside. So then I had to wait hours and hours and hours to see. (Also, yes, the porch needs painted. We know.) But lo! Behold!

This is a seriously beautiful object. A world of thanks to everyone at Capstone/Switch Press and especially the designer. (The under-the-dust-jacket — cover? I’m not sure of the terminology — binding, as you can see a bit above, is newsprint themed, and the end papers are alternating red and sky blue and there’s raised and shiny elements on the cover and the spine and it’s just gorgeous. There’s something about the first time you hold a finished copy of a book you wrote in your hands that feels a lot like magic, and this time I felt that more than ever. And so I’m giving away the very first copy I took out of the box (magic maybe included!), and you just have to RT the tweet below to enter:

Local folks, you can preorder through Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington starting now — anyone at a register can help you if you’re in the store or you can call them up. If you’re a Gives Back member, you get 30% off, and 20% otherwise. And, of course, I hope you’ll come out to the official launch event on Friday evening, May 8. We’re working on a link so anyone from afar who wants to order signed copies and have them mailed can do so (you can always call the store if you want though). If you’re interested in the book at all, please consider preordering or picking it up at the beginning of May and telling a friend/the world: word of mouth plus early sales = good things for Team Lois. (I know many of you already have. I heart y’all.)

What else? Oh, there’s a nice new review in from Voya. Snippet: “A bit of romance, plenty of adventure, and intrigue add up to a tale that will engage most teen readers.”

Now that we have all that out of the way (seriously, how did I get so lucky?), I’m really here to say that I’ll be taking part in the YA Scavenger Hunt, which begins tomorrow at noon Pacific. I’ll be contributing a signed copy of Fallout to the Blue Team prize kitty, and hosting special content from Martina Boone. I wrote an essay about Lois that will be hosted at the fabulous Colleen Houck’s site, and I’ll include a link there in my #YASH post.

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The second Lois short story is coming very soon (perhaps today, but definitely soon!). And so it has — links here. Other things also coming soon, including the book! I’ll try not to wear out the megaphone, but, friends, I AM EXCITED so I make no promises.

Recent and Upcoming Things + Reading Recs

The LA Times Festival of Books schedule is live, and I’m so so so excited to be going for the first time. Everyone I’ve talked to who has ever been, as guest or attendee, absolutely loves the FoB. My panel info is:

April 18, 12:30 p.m.: New Takes on Classic Tales: Moderator: Aaron Hartzler. Panelists: Sara Benincasa, Gwenda Bond, Danielle Paige.

There will be a signing after the panel, and there should be copies of Girl on a Wire and Lois Lane: Fallout available (yip! early!). In fact, I believe this will be the first place there will be copies of Fallout, so Los Angeles-area peoples come out. For more information and to see details on all the fabulous panels and events, visit the festival website.

I’m also working with Joseph-Beth Booksellers, which is hosting my local launch on Friday, May 8, to offer the ability to order signed copies of Fallout through them (with a nominal shipping fee), for anyone who wants to. More details to come on that. And, of course, you can always order your copy of Fallout from your local indie. Or through your local comic shop, as evidenced below:

(!)

There are many plans afoot as release is getting so. much. closer. Must finish a book draft by then (in the last third, woo!) and do many other things. Exciting times. (Not ideal for my back to stage a revolt, though it has, and so I’m taking it easy-ish this week.)

In the meantime, thanks to you guys for your enthusiasm about the first short story extra for Lois. Tim Hanley wrote some kind words about “A Real Work of Art” and Fallout: “Lois hasn’t had much to do in comics as of late, so it’s very exciting that she’s about to star in her own YA novel. And you can get your Lois fix right now with this free short story! I highly recommend checking it out, and picking up Lois Lane: Fallout on May 1. I promise you won’t be disappointed.”

And it got written up on io9 (!). You can still read it at the Capstone site, Wattpad, or via Netgalley. Thanks, as always, to everyone who has read, reviewed, and helped spread the word. I heart you, Lois Army. Story two should be coming pretty soon, and I hope you guys have fun with that one too. Eep!

Also, a thank you for a milestone Girl on a Wire passed last week, which was 500 reviews on Amazon. To everyone who has read and reviewed my weird little circus book? You rock. I start writing the follow-up to it very soon.

Last, I’ve also been reading some wonderful books, so here are a few recommendations for you:

Shannon Hale’s Dangerous — I expect I’ll be recommending this one a great deal. Maisie Danger Brown is a great heroine and I enjoyed this book so much. Clever, superpowered fun for everyone who ever wanted to run away to Space Camp or save the world. (Also: Shannon Hale is my hero. When I found out she had sent in a blurb for Lois, I burst into tears. No kidding.)

Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap — Okay, I’m a broken record on this lately, but seriously, this book should be getting alllll the attention. It should win all the awards. Laura Ruby’s gorgeously-crafted portrait of a small town and a handful of its inhabitants, new and old, when they become snared in a story of mythic darkness that feels utterly real, is one of the most startling, original books I’ve read in ages. I loved it.

Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven — Just adding my voice to the chorus on this one. Stories that have pandemics almost always drive me crazy with bad science, so I put off reading this longer than I should’ve. It’s just as good as everyone has told you.

Christine Heppermann’s Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty — This fierce, feminist collection of poetry looks at what it’s like to be a teenage girl by mashing up modern realities with fairy tale conceits. This is one that our book club universally adored, and that’s rare enough that I feel confident in telling you: do not miss. Bonus points for lovely design; I really dug the art paired with the poems.

New Lois Lane Short Story!

I told you guys there would be two Lois Lane short story extras, and lo! the first is now posted. You can find “A Real Work of Art” on Wattpad as previewed below or on the Switch Press site (over on the left under previews; bonus: prettier formatting).

There’s also a 25 percent off preorder code at the end for Fallout that you can use at the Capstone/Switch Press site. Preorders from here, there or anywhere (I like doing it through my local indie stores, but anywhere is awesome) help tell the book gods you’re excited about something. And when the book gods are happy, I’m happy.

Now for a little about these stories and the idea behind them…

These are stories to help introduce this version of Lois, obviously, but they also detail incidents mentioned in passing by Lois or others in Fallout* from her storied (ahem) permanent record. But, of course, her school administrators never know the real story. Only you get that. (And, yes, there might be a little more SmallvilleGuy in the second one…) Both take place before her move to Metropolis and each one stands alone.

I hope you have as much fun reading these as I had writing them. I thought of them as a gift to y’all for being so patient waiting for the book. As always, I appreciate the spreading of the word, and hopefully these will also reach new people who haven’t heard about it yet. And now I’m going to hide under my desk biting my nails for a bit.

*These little easter eggs were added after the first ARCs, if you won or have one and are stumped about the mentions. That’s why!

Three Quick Things

The first is that in the midst of traveling I forgot to mention that Girl on a Wire made the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2014, in very good company indeed. *beams* Which means you can also vote for it in the Locus Awards if you’re so inclined.

The second is a new interview about Lois Lane: Fallout up at Dynamic Forces. (If it seems like I’m a little cagey about some details here, it’s because I did this not too long after the announcement. Thanks again to Byron and DF!) Also, I honestly can’t believe that it’s now just two months before release (*breathes into bag*). I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here yet, but there will be two free short stories coming very soon–one each month–to help introduce this version of Lois that take place pre-move to Metropolis.

Last but not least, if you haven’t yet backed Ninepin Press’s The Family Arcana: A Story-in-Cards by Jedediah Berry on kickstarter, why not? An extra incentive: I’m going to be contributing a horoscope story, along with eleven way fancier authors, as a new perk. Jed’s work is always wonderful, and I can’t wait to see the final results of all this excitingness.

Shiny New Website!

After far too many years of putting it off, I finally hired someone who knows what they’re doing to make me a real website and… voila, this is it! Let me know what you think—I love it.

And also let me just put in a plug for Jeremy Tolbert at Clockpunk Studios, the someone who knows what they’re doing. He made this entire process as seamless and easy as possible, migrating over all my old content and coming up with the beauteous design. If you’re looking to do a new site, especially an author site, definitely check them out.

(Oh, and if you have any links to my site, they should still be fine unless they were directly to the old typepad URL. If so, update! And you may need to grab the new blog feed if you’re a feedreader-user. Or you may not, I forgot to ask. But if this is showing up in your reader, I guess that answers that.)

p.s. There just may be something fun coming Lois Lane fans’ way next week.

Starred!

LoiscoverSo, hey, it turns out I can reveal the March 1 news early, because the review was posted online today. Here goes…

Lois Lane: Fallout got a STARRED REVIEW from Kirkus!

Kirkus! Snippet:

"This lighthearted and playful tone permeates the novel, making for a nifty investigative mystery akin to Veronica Mars or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Readers are in for a treat. A spectacular prose start for DC Comics' spectacular lady."

This is my first-ever starred review, and I reacted with complete class and composure when my editor called to tell me. I believe my exact words were: ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?

This is perhaps embarrassing to admit, but true and so I will tell you that mere days before I got this news I had told some friends that I'd come to terms with the fact that I would probably never be the kind of writer who got starred reviews. Thank you, universe, for proving me wrong. Lesson: Complaining works. 😉

We Have A Winner

Well, all of you are winners in my book and in my heart. Thank you for being so excited for Fallout and being so game to participate in this impromptu contest. I'm a whimful creature, and so I didn't give you much warning. But it was so much fun to read everyone's posts and see your favorite Lois and Clark moments.

I thought I'd highlight a few of your super posts, before getting to the business of who is taking home this ARC:

 

I'm giving this baby away in a quick Galentine's/Valentine's #FalloutARC contest!

A photo posted by Gwenda Bond (@gwendabond) on Feb 13, 2015 at 6:23am PST

 

Here's a sampling of entries, and you can find links to a whole bunch more at twitter by searching the #FalloutARC hashtag (tumblr tags not cooperating as well for some reason, but I'm almost 100 percent certain I managed to track down all the posts made there).

And last but not least, I loved this Tumblr gifset of reasons why Lois would make a great friend. Honestly, every single entry made me grin. You guys are the best valentines and galentines ever.

To choose the winner, I made a good old-fashioned paper drawing, giving every entry one slip. I wish you could all win, but there can be only one and that person is…

::drumroll comprised of clacking keyboards in a newsroom::

SHADES OF LIMELIGHT aka @CertainShadesL! DM me your address on twitter and your signed ARC will be en route tomorrow.

Thanks again to everyone, and you can always preorder the book if you haven't (something tells me most of you have). And there will be lots of news and sneak peeks and other things coming soon as we get closer and closer to release. Stay tuned! <3 <3 <3