Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming the fantastic Gwenda Bond to the blog, to talk about her debut release Blackwood. I reviewed Blackwood here and rated it A- :) You MUST read this book, you UK followers have a chance to win this book as well!
JADE (Ink Scratchers): Hi Gwenda, thanks so much for being here today!
JADE: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
GWENDA: I’m a writer who lives in Lexington, Kentucky, in a hundred-year-old house that was originally a doctor’s office (but which isn’t haunted—first question people ask), with my husband, Christopher Rowe, who’s also a writer, and three unruly pets. I’m a constant reader, all different kind of things, and probably watch too much TV. Oh, and I’m probably on twitter too much, too.
JADE: How on earth do you keep up with a husband, three pets, writing, reading, watching and Twitter?! I'd struggle, but maybe I'm just lazy...
JADE: Can you tell us a little about Blackwood?
GWENDA: Blackwood is based on a well-known piece of American history (though I’ve learned that it’s not well known at all outside the states). In 1587, more than one hundred English men, women, and children signed on to a voyage to found a colony on what is now Roanoke Island, North Carolina. After running into severe hardships, they sent Governor John White back to England—but he wasn’t able to return for three long years. When he did, all he found was the world CROATOAN carved into a tree. Thus was born the Lost Colony of Roanoke.
Blackwood brings that story onto present day Roanoke Island. When a mass disappearance of 114 people—the same number as the vanished colonists—occurs now, two smart 17-year-olds must uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony to save the missing people and themselves.
JADE: When I first received Blackwood through, I was fascinated! I read up on the legend and it's haunting and mysterious, I can well understand why you wrote a book about it!
JADE: Quick, tell everyone in five words why they should read Blackwood?
GWENDA: Fun mystery nerd romance YA! (That was tough. Five words isn’t many!)
JADE: THAT is the perfect description. <3
JADE: Where did the inspiration for Blackwood come from?
GWENDA: The first time I heard about the Lost Colony, in elementary school, the story intrigued me enough to stick. And then several years back, seeing the word Roanoke on a road sign and the two things came together into a story idea, mashing up then and now. I knew I also wanted a romance to be part of it, but with nerdier characters than I usual see in a story like this. And I wanted the relationship between Miranda and Phillips to develop over conversations, even with the high stakes backdrop.
JADE: The romance works perfectly, as does the history and the paranormal, I loved it!
JADE: The story in Blackwood is based on a 'true' story. How much research went into writing this book?
GWENDA: I did a great deal of research on both the history of the Lost Colony and on alchemy, and on the real island as it exists today. I tried to be ruthless about cutting historical darlings that weren’t necessary for readers of this story, but there are a few things experts may get a special kick out of. And, of course, I made leaps as well, though almost all of them started from some sort of factual place.
JADE: Sounds like a lot of work... another thing that makes me wonder HOW you do it all. Though I'm not an expert, everything did seem to work so well!
JADE: What books would you recommend to people that enjoyed Blackwood?
GWENDA: : Oooh. Well, if alchemy and thrillers appeal to you, then definitely Robin Wasserman’s Book of Blood and Shadow, which I loved (and in which the exploits of John Dee’s partner in alchemical crime, Edward Kelley, figure). For gothic fantasy, Sarah Rees Brennan’s new Unspoken is wonderful, as well as Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Tantalize series.
JADE: Hmmm... good picks, though I wasn't a fan of Book of Blood and Shadow. I really want to read Unspoken, even more so now and I did absolutely love the Tantalize/Eternal/Blessed series, I have to read Diabolical sometime soon!
JADE: What has been your favorite read in 2012 so far?
GWENDA: So hard! Probably Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue. I think she’s a genius.
JADE: I can't wait to read this, I've been putting it off because it's so big though!
JADE:One last question! Do you have anything that you'd like to say to the readers?
GWENDA: I would say thank you to anyone who reads my book. There are lots of other ways you can spend your time, and your taking a chance on a new author is much appreciated. I hope you enjoy it, and would love to hear from you.
JADE: I hope they enjoy it too. Guys, there may be other ways to spend your time, but reading Blackwood is better! Read it! :D
JADE: Thanks so much for stopping by!
GWENDA: Thank you for the invitation, Jade!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.
Thanks to Strange Chemistry, I have one copy of Blackwood to give away to ONE lucky UK winner:
-Giveaway will end on 21st September. Winners will be contacted within 48 hours of the giveaway ending.
-Prizes will be posted out by the publisher, so this giveaway is UK ONLY! I am not responsible for the posting of the books, so if it is lost or damaged this is not my problem.
-Enter using the rafflecopter form below.