‘Debut Author Spotlight’ is a Saturday feature at Book Chick City. We will be showcasing a debut author each week from the genres of horror, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. We will give you all the relevant book information as well as an insight into the author.
Gwenda Bond’s debut novel, Blackwood, is a September 2012 launch title for Strange Chemistry, the new YA imprint of Angry Robot Books. She is also a contributing writer for Publishers Weekly, regularly reviews for Locus, and guest-edited a special YA issue of Subterranean Online. She has an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, author Christopher Rowe, and their menagerie.
RELEASE DATE: Sept 2012 | PUBLISHER: Strange Chemistry | GENRE: Paranormal, Young Adult
On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back. Miranda Blackwood, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips Rawlings, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.
Hi Gwenda, welcome to Book Chick City. So, what’s BLACKWOOD about?
Blackwood is a modern-day take on the Lost Colony of Roanoke, which is a well-known piece of American history. In short, because I’ve discovered people outside the U.S. aren’t as familiar with it, in 1587 more than 100 men, women, and children from England were part of an effort to establish a permanent colony on what is now Roanoke Island, North Carolina. After facing hardships, their Governor went back to England—only to return three years later to find no trace of those left behind, save the word CROATOAN carved into a tree. In Blackwood, when a disappearance of 114 people happens on present-day Roanoke Island, two unlikely 17-year-olds must uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony to save the missing people and themselves.
Tell us a bit more about the hero/heroine in BLACKWOOD
The main characters of the novel are Miranda Blackwood and Phillips Rawling. Miranda is from the island’s most infamous family and feels trapped by that. She’s also witty and really into science fiction and fantasy TV shows. Phillips is the police chief’s son, who’s been in exile at boarding school for trouble he caused when he was younger—he also hears the voices of the dead, but only on the island. He’s also a little nerdy.
How did you research BLACKWOOD?
I read many, many books about the history of the Lost Colony, as well as researching the modern-day island in detail. Oh, and alchemy. So lots and lots of reading and note-taking.
Is BLACKWOOD the first is a series or a stand alone?
Blackwood is a standalone. I’ll never say never to another novel that’s somehow related, but at the moment one isn’t planned and I very much tried to make it a complete reading experience.
When is your favourite time to write?
My usual time to write is early in the morning, which isn’t my favorite time of day at all. But I get a lot done then, so there must be something good about it.
Where is your favourite place to write?
In the back yard, actually. I like writing outside, though I only do a small portion of my writing out there.
What was the last book you read and enjoyed?
I just finished Leigh Bardugo’s Smoke and Bone and thought it was wonderfully engaging.
Which authors do you admire?
Oh, so many! Too many to name, I think. I’d feel terrible about not being able to include everyone and we’d be here all week.
Describe yourself in five words
Not unlike a screwball heroine. (Bonus words: At least, I aspire to that.)
My next book is The Woken Gods, and will be out from Strange Chemistry in 2013. I’m excited.