I was so thrilled when I heard about Gwenda Bond’s new book that I jumped at the chance to review it from publishers Strange Chemistry and the a chance to interview the author herself as part of The Woken Gods blog tour. I hope you all enjoy my interview with Gwenda, and read on to find out what her favourite mythological world is and her super cool winged relic!
Interview with Gwenda Bond
On Inspiration, Mythological Worlds and Winged Shoes
Thank you for agreeing to do the interview Gwenda! I found the book so refreshingly unique, that I have to start with what inspired you to write the story?
Thank you so much. That’s great to hear.
I wish I had some fabulous answer for this one, but honestly, it really came from my love of urban fantasy and mythology. This started as a “write-the-book-you-wish-existed”kind of idea, and with a desire to push myself to write something different than I had attempted before. As a reader, I was craving more books that mashed up pantheons next to each other, and also gods that were stranger, more alien, scarier, and less human. And I love a rich city setting infused with magic. Almost as soon as I started brainstorming what kind of many-gods story I might do, I decided I wanted it to be located in D.C. Probably at least in part because the Library of Congress seems like the ideal headquarters for a secret society (and, while I don’t think this is explicitly said in the book, all the Society of the Sun offices are in libraries, the world over).
I love how you incorporated so many less popular myths in your novel. What is your favourite myth ‘world’ (i.e. Greek or Egyptian, etc) and why?
Such a good question. I find myself tempted to say ALL OF THEM. But, over the course of researching this book, I did fall in love with Sumerian mythology. I love how strange it is, and how odd and detailed the stories we have from it are. But I do find all the pantheons absolutely fascinating. I don’t know if I could pick just one. I tend to have a hard time settling on favorites, because I’m a greedy guts in that way.
Your world is filled with so many weird and wonderful characters. Which one did you enjoy writing the most?
I enjoyed writing in Kyra’s voice, once I found it. If we’re talking divine characters, both Legba and Anzu were incredibly fun to write (and Enki as well). Legba sees the world as a chessboard, and it was fun knowing more about his motivations than the characters at times. (I won’t say more to avoid getting spoilery.) And Anzu because, in so many ways, he’s a pure monster. Which doesn’t mean he doesn’t have redeeming qualities.
From the book, I really loved the idea of relics imbued with power from the gods. If you had your own relic, what would you want it to be and do?
So hard to decide! I did a preorder contest, as you might know, where I created relics for people and it was a blast coming up with the stories of their effects. I guess I would want a relic that allowed me to travel places very quickly, which I’d imagine would be something of Hermes’ And since this is Winged Reviews, it seems only appropriate to pick Hermes’winged sandals. Failing that, something that results in deep, uninterrupted sleep. Those are both boring and adult things to want, though, aren’t they? I’d better say I also want one that produces high-end champagne from water. Luckily, there are lots of gods of intoxication who might be able to produce that kind of relic. 😉
How would you convince someone to read your book in one sentence?
The ancient and the modern are at war when a girl has to go up against trickster gods and the most powerful humans on the planet to protect her family.
And guys, it’s as cool as it sounds!
Now a few quickfire questions to end:
(This next set of questions are impossible as I’m both of all of them!)
Tea or coffee?
Coffee (For now! I switch back to tea every few years.)
Drama or comedy?
Comedy. You can’t make me feel if you can’t make me laugh.
e-Books or physical books?
Physical books, but I read both!
Indoors or outdoors?
A gazebo? Is that cheating? I told you I am a greedy guts.
Karen Joy Fowler.
Rosamond Purcell for art, and at the moment Zoe Keating for musician.
His Girl Friday (today!).
Favourite ice cream?
Chocolate Mint Chip.
Thanks so much for the interview, Daphne!
Thank YOU Gwenda!
About The Woken Gods
Five years ago, the gods of ancient mythology awoke around the world.
This morning, Kyra Locke is late for school.
Seventeen-year-old Kyra lives in a transformed Washington, D.C., home to the embassies of divine pantheons and the mysterious Society of the Sun. But when rebellious Kyra encounters two trickster gods on her way back from school, 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, an intriguing Society field operative, only to discover that her scholar father has disappeared with a dangerous relic. The Society needs it, and they don’t care that she knows nothing about her father’s secrets.
Now Kyra must depend on her wits and the suspect help of scary 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.
About Gwenda Bond:
Gwenda Bond is a contributing writer for Publishers Weekly, regularly reviews for Subterranean Online and Locus, and guest-edited a special YA issue of Subterranean Online. Her nonfiction work has appeared in the Washington Post, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among others, and she has been a guest on NPR’s Weekend Edition. She holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ program in writing for children and young adults. Readers of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet may know her as everyone’s Dear Aunt Gwenda. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband author Christopher Rowe, and their pets: Hemingway the Cat, Polydactyl, LLC; Miss Emma the Dog-Girl, CPA; and Puck the Puppy, INC.
She is represented by Jennifer Laughran of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.