Their Very Best: Gwenda Bond talks the Cirque American comics + a giveaway!


cover of cirque american girl over paris by gwenda bond and kate lethGwenda Bond’s YA duology Girl on a Wire and Girl in the Shadows is a fantastic series – but did you know that there’s a comic that bridges the gap between the two books?

After a high-profile tumble, Cirque American’s star wire walker, Jules Maroni, has a lot to prove-and her invitation to an exclusive exhibition in Paris looks to be just the opportunity to put her back on top. Unfortunately, the City of Lights glitters with distractions, including the presence of her first serious boyfriend and a mysterious figure haunting the venue.

Take a peek inside the world of the Cirque American below and then keep scrolling to enter a giveaway to win the set of individual comics.

Your Cirque American world now lives inside a comic! Whaaaaat!? When did the idea first come up?
I know, right? My editor on the Cirque books and the editor of the Jet City comics imprint basically asked if I’d be interested in telling a standalone story set in the Cirque American world in comics. And there was no catch! In fact, they were clear up front that I’d be able to oversee every stage and have input on who we hired to work on it and that it would be a really great way to learn about how comics get put together (it was). Of course, I said yes — because I’ve always loved comics and the world of the Cirque seemed like a perfect fit for the medium. This was in late 2015, which tells you a lot about how quickly comics projects come together.

What has the process of working with everybody been like?
This has been a dream project start to finish. I love collaboration, and have given quite a bit of thought to what makes for a successful one. (I’m co-writing a middle grade series with my husband, Christopher Rowe, so you know, that has to work well.) To me there’s three main things: the right team, a clear vision of what you’re trying to accomplish, and editorial support for that vision. Our editor Paul and the team at Jet City were on the same page with us start to finish; we had the freedom to do exactly what we wanted. I did a detailed outline up front and I think Paul knew then that I was ALL IN. When he asked who I wanted for the project, I gave my ideals, never believing we’d land them. I’m a huge fan of both the brilliant Kate Leth (who wrote the scripts) and the brilliant Ming Doyle (our artist) and was over the moon when they signed on. And I’m now a huge fan of Andrew Dalhouse, our colorist, and Deron Bennett, our letterer, as well. And we had great extra pin-up/variant art from Jen Bartel and Brittney Williams, whose work I adore. Everyone brought their very best to this. I feel so grateful I got to work with them on it.

Is there anything you’ve been able to add to the world with the comics that you couldn’t fit into your novels?
Hmmm… Interesting question. I think there’s something interesting about seeing the physicality of everyone — they’re performers and there is a lot of performance in the books. The books can tell you how the performance FEELS and hopefully does create an image in the readers mind, but the comics can capture the spectacle of it in a more tangible way, as well as the interiority. Kate and Ming really nailed those sequences and Jules’s (and Remy’s) performances, from the action to the costuming to the emotional narration. And I feel like that’s true even in the scenes where they’re navigating the city or interacting with the ghost.

If you could see any other YA books adapted into comics, what would you pick?
SO MANY! I think Malinda Lo’s fantasy novels would make wonderful comics.

What’s been your favorite part of the comic?
Working with Kate and Ming – getting Ming’s art in the old inbox is something I already miss. The excitement of reading a new script from Kate. I miss them!

What else do you want people to know about the comics?
I’d just say check them out! Especially now that you can get the graphic novel with everything collected, PLUS some amazing extras from Ming and our pin-up artists. I’m so very proud of this story and everyone’s work on it. The other great thing about collaboration is that it’s so much easier to recommend and be proud of than your own work, because neuroses.

What would you recommend for fans of your Cirque American universe?
Angela Carter and Station Eleven and the Circus miniseries and Carter Beats the Devil and and and all the books I mention in the acknowledgements of them.

Want to read the series? Fill out the form below to enter to win one of six sets of the Cirque American series. Open to the U.S. only. Void where prohibited.

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Nicole Brinkley

Nicole is the editor of YA Interrobang. She has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. Follow her on Twitter at or Tumblr at . Like her work? Leave her a tip.

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