The Book Pixie: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Lesley Livingston: I'm a mythology geek with a love of shoes and shiny things. I'm a writer and an actor. I live in Toronto, Canada. I am an unrepentant egghead. I have a Master's Degree in English from the University of Toronto specializing in Shakespeare and Arthurian literature. For almost three years, I hosted weekly late-night movie marathons on the nationally broadcast television show, SPACEBAR, as the Waitron-9000, a sparkly holographic waitress with an encyclopedic knowledge of obscure B-movie trivia. I can be dangerously flail-y to sit next to during hockey games.
TBP: What three words would you use to describe your writing?
Dark-sparkly (hyphenated words count as one, right?)
TBP: Do you believe in faeries?
LL: I think they would be very upset with me if I didn't!
Seriously - I think Shakespeare said it best when Hamlet says "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
I've been fascinated by faerie lore since I was a kid. The stories that intrigued me the most were never the ones that portrayed the Fae as tiny, sweet, sparkly things. Rather, I was drawn to the idea that these were the creatures that existed beyond the circle of firelight, or just on the other side of the threshold, or just over that far hill; things only ever glimpsed out of the corner of your eye - if you were lucky! I love the dangerous aspects of the Fair Folk. I always appreciated that you got that sense with Shakespeare's creatures pretty quickly. Those are the ones I believe in.
TBP: Did you always want to be a writer?
LL: I've always wanted to be a storyteller, certainly. I guess I sort of fulfilled that ambition two ways - through both the acting and the writing. I know they are two very different mediums, with very different disciplines but, to me, they've always felt connected. I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to develop my ear for language under as a great a tutor as Shakespeare. Once I started writing seriously - when I was in my late teens, I guess - I realized pretty quickly that this was something I wanted to do, probably the rest of my life.
TBP: What is your favorite thing about acting?
LL: The audiences. It is such an amazing experience to walk out on stage, hit your light, speak your lines, and actually be able to feel the audience response coming back at you, informing and shaping your performance. It's so cool. But - honestly - there are so many things I love about the theatre (film acting is a different animal altogether!). I love the heightened reality. The costumes, the sets, a good fight scene, a good love scene...
TBP: Aside from the final book in the Wondrous Strange trilogy, is there anything else you are currently working on?
LL: Yes! As a matter of fact, there is! I just recently signed on with Penguin Canada to write a novel called ONCE EVERY NEVER. It's a story about a modern teen girl who spirals back in time to Rome's bloody conquest of Britain - where she befriends the daughter of a fiery queen, falls for a fierce warrior prince, and discovers that she may be the only hope of averting a devastating blood-curse. I'm really excited about it! It should hit store shelves some time in late summer, 2011.
(Ugh, that is TOO LONG to wait. I'm so excited!)
TBP: What is a song you feel fits Wondrous Strange and Darklight?
LL: I actually have entire playlists that my boyfriend puts together for whatever project I'm working on so I have more than one! For a general overall feeling for the entire trilogy, I would say that the Roxy Music album Avalon captures that pretty well. For DARKLIGHT, there's a song called When Ye Go Away by The Waterboys that captures the mood of the book, and also one by INXS called Afterglow. For WONDROUS STRANGE, Manhattan by King of Leon and The Waterboys' Whole of the Moon. Throw in some U2, some Arcade fire, a little Blue October, Dave Matthews...there you have it! I also had a friend write and record a song for me based on the first book - which was awesome - and I listen to that a lot when writing.
TBP: What do you hope for people to take away from your books?
LL: A bit of a sense of wonder, I hope. Enjoyment of the story and the feeling that these characters are people they could see themselves befriending in real life (well, maybe not the leprechaun boys). Maybe a desire to check out some of the source material... like reading A Midsummer Night's Dream, or visiting Central Park to experience that magic first-hand.
TBP: What are some of your favorite YA fantasy books?
LL: I'm really digging Suzanne Collins' HUNGER GAMES series at the moment. Of course, it doesn't exactly qualify as "fantasy", but I thought I'd mention it anyway because it's just so good. Guy Gavriel Kay's FIONAVAR TAPESTRY series which came out when I was a teen has always been at the top of my fantasy faves list. Also, I'm looking forward to Lisa Mantchev's second book in her theatrical fantasy series, PERCHANCE TO DREAM. The first book, EYES LIKE STARS was tremendous fun!
TBP: What are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
LL: To keep telling stories that my readers enjoy. Because, honestly, it just doesn't get any better than that!
TBP: Anything else you'd like to add?
LL: How about a heart-felt appreciation to you and my readers out there? You guys - with your passion for books and reading and your willingness to share that passion with each other, in blogs and in person - you are awesome. You make this job ('job' she says - ha!) so totally worthwhile! Thank you!
And thank you, Lesley; I really appreciate you doing the interview. As to all my readers out there, I hope you all enjoyed this great interview and will show your love for Lesley in the comments. :D