Michael Moccio ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor-in-Chief
After reading Lois Lane: Fallout, and absolutely falling in love with it, we knew we had to sit down with the author to fully appreciate how this novel came to be! For those of you who haven’t read the book yet, Lois Lane: Fallout is about–you guessed it–Lois Lane as she traverses through her new school in Metropolis trying to stay on her father’s good side and uncovering a sinister plot about a fellow group of students. As such a positive feminist icon, Lois Lane has been a champion, which is why we were so excited to see her character translated into a Young Adult novel.
Emertainment Monthly: What’s it been like, writing such an iconic character like Lois Lane?
Gwenda Bond: A dream I didn’t even know to dream for come true. She’s such a treat to write, and just in general this has been the most fun to get to do. Now I’m hearing from both long-time fans of her character and/or Superman, but also from people who are discovering her through the book. It doesn’t get better than that.
With comic book fans notorious about being sticklers for “the canon,” were you apprehensive at all for writing about characters with so much back story and history? What kind of research did you do, if any, to prepare?
I always say I didn’t do that much research, but it’s probably not entirely true. I have a lifetime’s worth of keeping an eye on Lois Lane as a character after falling in love with Margot Kidder’s portrayal of her as a child, and am a long-time comics reader. Once I knew I was writing the book, I revisited some of my favorites among her appearances in various media and sought out some history of and writing about the character. I tried to focus on putting the world of this story together in order to find my version of Lois’s voice, which obviously draws from that rich history.
What does the novel format bring to Lois Lane’s character that film, animation, or comics can’t? What makes this medium unique for Lois?
The thing that novels can do that no other medium accomplishes in quite the same way is to show us the interior life of a character. They allow us to feel closer to the mind and perspective of characters than any other form of storytelling. And young adult novels tend to allow the reader access to that interior life during the crucible of a particularly formative time of life. So bringing Lois into not just a novel, but a young adult novel, allows us to get a new origin story for her in a way that’s unlike any of her past 77 years’ of appearances.
What were some challenges in using first-person narration throughout? Why was that best suited to tell this story?
I mentioned above the strengths of novels in showing an interior life, and of young adult novels in particular. Getting to really experience Lois’s voice and perspective firsthand feels like at least half the fun—it definitely is in terms of the writing, and I hope for the reader too.
There were so many great and empowering messages in the novel! What’s the one thing you would want readers to take away from this above all else?
I can’t imagine a version of Lois Lane that wouldn’t be empowering. It goes with her territory, so this is an excellent question. I had an adult reader come up after an event recently and thank me for including the bullying element of the story, because she was bullied as a teen and as an adult. She said Fallout made her think about all the Lois Lanes in her own life—her mother and sister, friends—the women who stood up for her and helped her get through those times. The biggest takeaway about Lois as a character for me is very tied to that. She’s a superhero without any superpowers. What that means is we can all embody the traits that make her a hero: standing up for those who need it, being committed to truth, and caring deeply about other people and the world.
How did the science fiction angle come into the story? There are so many avenues writers can take characters like Lois Lane and Clark Kent down–what attracted you to having computer games and government experiments on high schoolers to the story?
Well, this is a nerdy answer, but it’s the honest one. At its heart, Superman is a science fiction story—Superman/Clark Kent is an alien, and super science is such a feature of so many of my favorite Superman stories. But it’s a little more complicated when you’re dealing with a world before Superman is really Superman, as I am here, because he’s also the first superhero. I didn’t want to lose that fun science fictional element though, so it felt right to me to have there be strange things beginning to happen in the world as he’s out there growing up and exploring his powers, and for Lois to be among the first people to realize it.
What’s next for Lois Lane? Will there be another book? (I hope so!) If there is, can you give any indication as to what the next book will be about and when we can expect it?
I feel like you’re asking me to reveal my secret identity! I’m afraid I have to be cagey about the answer for now. So, everyone go buy Fallout. I’ll keep writing stories about Lois Lane as long as they let me.