Saturday, February 21, 2009

Guest Blogger of the Day: Gwenda Bond!

I had the great fortune to get to know Gwenda Bond through our MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts; she and I were fellow Revisionistas, and learned on our first night, over several glasses of wine and chatter, that we had many friends and colleagues in the YA-verse in common.

(Here we are at graduation with the rest of our kick-a$$ class; cute, right? And ps: how SHORT am I?)

To date, she is one of my first stops when I'm looking for feedback or an opinion on industry stuff (she has also been one of the beta readers for my Deep Dark Secret Spec Project, for which I'm eternally grateful!).
Gwenda blogs about all things lit (and pop culture, and cupcakes, and pets) over at Shaken And Stirred—when she isn't hard at work on a novel that promises to take the teen book world by storm.

Blog: Shaken & Stirred


Blogs are a central part of the Bradford Novels universe. They are also, more and more, a central part of the YA-writing universe. When and why did you start blogging?

I should know, shouldn't I? The oldest post the editor shows on the old version of my site is in 2002. So, we'll say 2002. Anyway, who can say exactly when I started? Not me, apparently. But, wow, seven years-ish. That's a long time ago.

I do remember why I started though. It was because I was constantly e-mailing articles -- particularly New York Times articles -- to my friends, and I figured it would be less bothersome if I had a place to put them where they could nab them if they wanted, and ignore if they didn't. It was also a way to reduce the amount of e-mail I had to do. Several of my close friends started blogging around the same time, and so we could track each other's movements too. Clearly, that evolved over time. My posting got a lot less personal once strangers started reading the site, and once I discovered there was a whole burgeoning community of people writing about books (thanks to my friend Barb and the infamous Jennifer Howard Washington Post article in 2003 about how insular litblogs were), I recognized that was what I wanted to do. With room for miscellaneous posts about TV and dogs. I should also say that I discovered very quickly that litbloggers weren't insular at all. There's a real sense of community.

Completely agree! What's your favorite thing about blogging?

The sense of connection with the larger literary world I associate with it. I think I would get very lonely, writing and reading in my little corner, reaching out via e-mails to people who are also getting too many e-mails. I like talking about pretty much everything, and I like getting to know really interesting people. I like making recommendations, and drawing attention to other people saying worthwhile (or infuriating) stuff. Blogging has been a great gift to me, in terms of both discovering new books to love and in all the friends I've initially met through the site over the years. I try to give gifts back whenever I can.

What's the difference between a blog and a diary? How confessional do you like a blog to get? What sort of blog posts most appeal to you? What are some of your favorite blogs (book or otherwise) out there right now?

There are some great confessional blogs, but I mostly don't read them. Although I do ADORE reading other people's friends-locked livejournal entries. Those are more like diaries than traditional blogs, I think, and so it's a bit like getting a peek behind the curtain into someone else's real life, not just their online one. Plus, the secrecy is very appealing.

But, as I said above, the thing I like best about the blogosphere is the conversation of it, and I find the confessional sites frequently to be less about having a conversation. So they're just not my thing? This is one of the reasons I'm now addicted to Twitter. It's one big endless, flitting discussion.

The exception would be The Nervous Breakdown, where I'm a new poster. Many of the posts at this massive group blog of mainly writers are more personal essay in nature, but they're so funny/true/well done that I find it completely addictive.

Blogs I love: God. There are so, so many. I think Colleen Mondor does amazing work both on her own site, Chasing Ray, and as the mastermind behind Guys Lit Wire. Carolyn Kellogg has made the LA Times Book Blog Paper Cuts a must read. I still love About Last Night, one of the first blogs I ever discovered. Sarah Rees Brennan is hilarious. Oh, and Justine Larbalestier is so fabulous as blogging --far more thoughtful about it than I'll ever be. Betsy Bird. Cynthia Leitich Smith. And I'll stop now, because I could on and on and on and on. Clearly.

GoldenGirl is full of scandals and exposed secrets. What was the biggest scandal at your high school? Did your classmates discover any of your deep, dark secrets?

Biggest scandal... Hmm... I honestly can't think of anything that was huge! And my secrets are very well-protected. It was probably a bit of a scandal the couple of times I got detention, given that they announced your name over the loudspeaker in first period and I was the principal's daughter. Also, during my Jim Morrison phase, pre-driver's license when I still rode to school with my mom she once said, "I pledge allegiance to The Doors" during the morning address, because we'd just been fighting about how loud I wanted to play them in the car. I have about a million stories like this.

What’s the worst thing you ever did to a friend (or vice-versa)? Are you still friends with her or him?

I'm actually a pretty good friend, I hope, and more on the dangerously loyal side. That said, I think it was probably in college. I dealt poorly with a friend's crush, once I figured out he was serious and that I didn't reciprocate. Sadly, we actually did fall out of touch after that, but neither of us handled it that well, so that's some small comfort. As far the vice versa, I refer to my high school/early college best friend as Satan. Make of that what you will.

Sounds like she'd fit right in at Bradford! And...since Bradford is all about the rumor mill: rumor has it you've got some exciting book news on the horizon, too! Anything you want to share?

Um, I recently had the good fortune to sign with Jennifer Laughran at the Andrea Brown Agency.

Oh, exciting! Can't wait to hear more good news! And thanks for stopping by!


  1. great interview and congrats on signing!

  2. GoldenGirl comes highly recommended, especially if you want a light read.