Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston!

Wondrous Strange
by Lesley Livingston

Kelley Winslow is living her dream. Seventeen years old, she has moved to New York City and started work with a theatre company. Sure, she's an understudy for the Avalon Players, a third-tier repertory company so far off-Broadway it might as well be in Hoboken, but things are looking up—the lead has broken her ankle and Kelley's about to step into the role of Titania the Fairy Queen in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Faeries are far more real than Kelley thinks, though, and a chance encounter in Central Park with a handsome young man will plunge her into an adventure she could never have imagined.

For Sonny Flannery, one of the Janus Guards charged by Auberon, the King of Winter, with watching over the gate into the lands of Faerie that lies within Central Park, the pretty young actress presents an enigma. Strong and willful, she sparks against his senses like a firecracker and he can't get her out of his mind. As Hallowe'en approaches and the Samhain Gate opens, Sonny and Kelley find themselves drawn to each other—and into a terrible plot that could spell disaster for both New York and Faerie alike.

10 Questions with Lesley Livingston

IBT: If you could choose one fictional character to bring into real life, who would you choose?

LL: King Arthur. (Although I have my doubts that he was, in fact, entirely fictional!)

IBT: How did you survive being a teen?

LL: A sense of humor. Because, at that stage of my life I certainly didn’t have a sense of proportion! I found that an ability to find the funny in any given situation became my way of dealing with all of the crap one has to go through trying to navigate the vast mine-field that is teenager-dom.

IBT: Have you ever written something that you feel uncomfortable writing, knowing that your family and friends will probably end up reading it

LL: I don’t think so... In truth, the first person I’m really writing for is ME so I tend not to write things that would make me uncomfortable in any case. That said, I’m tearing the pages out of the first book I write that has a really steamy sex scene in it before I give it to my mom!

IBT: What do you think are the biggest issues that teens need to be thinking about today? Do you think teens today are looking for quality in the books they read, or just to live vicariously through superficial characters?

LL: There are so many tough issues facing teens today. I don’t envy them. But – based on a lot of the teens I’ve met – I do have a lot of faith in them. I think there is a need for thoughtfulness in this generation – the generations that have come before have thrust that necessity upon them. They are being forced to think about a great number of things outside of themselves and outside of their control – things like war and the environment. But also internal stuff - like priority-setting in a consumer-drive ipod generation and self-worth in the days of Paris Hilton and her ilk. So... thoughtfulness. It may sound like a generality but I believe it’s an important concept for kids growing up today; actions and consequences.

As for what teens are looking for today in books? Well, everything! Teens are people. I think adults – some adults – seem to forget that sometimes and just like anyone else, the likes and tastes of teens span the spectrum. That being said, I’ve never seen so much quality, thought-provoking, exciting and innovative reading crammed into small spaces as I do today on the YA shelves of bookstores. Not to mention stuff that is just plain fun! Teens are extremely fortunate right now in that there is some really awesome literature – fluffy stuff, deep stuff, and anywhere in-between stuff, that is being written SPECIFICALLY just for them! And, as a consequence, I think teen readers are developing very sophisticated literary palates.

IBT: How have the books you’ve read inspired the books you’ve written, if at all?

LL: As a writer I think it’s almost impossible to not be inspired by the stuff you read. When I was a teenager I read widely and eclectically. I still do, I suppose. But, then as now, it was usually the stories with elements of the historical or fantastical, lots of action and heightened emotion – and beautiful language – that really hooked me. I guess that explains my Arthurian fixation. But when I read Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cave books or Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry or – my all-time favorite Arthurian re-telling – Parke Godwin’s Firelord (Man! Godwin can use language!) it was always the small, poignant moments between characters – in those epic stories – that stayed with me long after I’d closed the covers. If I’ve done anything in writing WONDROUS STRANGE, I would hope that in some way, my readers wind up feeling the same.

IBT: What is the strangest thing you have ever gotten inspiration from? Where did the inspiration for Wondrous Strange come from?

LL: I don’t know if you can exactly classify this under “inspiration” but it was definitely strange. I wrote a short story – the first thing I ever wound up having published, actually – that was really sort of a character study and yellow roses played an important part in the imagery of the story. I finished writing it one winter evening and went to meet some friends. The weather was mucky – wet, dirty snow everywhere – and when I stepped out of the subway, the story still incredibly fresh in my mind, there on the ground lay a bunch of yellow silk roses. They didn’t belong to anyone – I waited to see if anyone would stop and pick them up and no one did - and they were pristine. Not a boot-print on them. Everyone else just walked around them as if they didn’t even see them. They are sitting on a shelf in my office now.

That short story, in part, held the germ of an idea that became WONDROUS STRANGE and a character that became Kelley Winslow. Neat, huh?

IBT: Many writers say parting with a character is hard. Do you ever look back on a character and wish you had changed something about him or her?

LL: I don’t think so. Just like people, the characters are who they are and they come with their own set of flaws and foibles. I will say this, though – I once killed off a particular character and it nearly did me in. The screen was a blur as I typed. And then my best friend who was reading the story as I wrote it called me up weeping and ranting, saying, “I can’t believe you did that! I’m never speaking to you again! Call me!”

IBT: What is the one thing such as, sky diving or any other daring thing, that you would love to do but you are too afraid?

LL: I think maybe scuba diving. I love being underwater but I think if I ever went too far down, I would panic. And I hear that the bends is really not a lot of fun. Plus, I’ve seen Jaws way too many times.

IBT: What do you do when you are faced with writer’s block? What helps you get over it?

LL: Write. That’s really the only thing that helps. Wait – I don’t actually mean that to sound flippant. It just really is the only cure for me. Having a deadline helps immeasurably, too.

IBT: Paris is the one city I cannot die without first visiting. Do you have a place you've yet to visit but cannot live without?

LL: Camelot. No seriously. I have theories as to it’s historic location. Also – I’m pretty sure I know where Avalon is. I’d like to go there, too. (And New York again even though I’ve already been there several times!)

IBT: Are you working on anything now and can you share anything about it with us? Will we see Kelley and Sonny again?

LL: I actually just handed in my first-round revisions on Book Two in the WONDROUS trilogy! Now it’s on to Book Three! So – you will definitely being seeing more of Sonny and Kelley. And company.

IBT: Thanks, Lesley! That was fun!!


Moravia said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



carmen said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Karen Kincy said...

I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on this one! Great interview.

donnas said...

Great interview. I am really anxious to read Wondrous Strange. It sounds really good and fairies are such interesting characters.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Yan said...

"But also internal stuff - like priority-setting in a consumer-drive ipod generation and self-worth in the days of Paris Hilton and her ilk."--lol xD ahhh Paris, we can never escape you can we?

I think my friend would LOVE this book~

Liviania said...

This one looks *so cool* to me. Shakespeare and faeries . . .

I love that she's a King Arthur fan. I think he's my crack. I started studying medieval lit due to him.

Amy said...

great interview!

danie88 said...

Great interview!


Breanna said...

Awesome interviews! I always love your interviews <3. I can't wait to read this one. The first time I saw the cover I was completely sucked in. I know, I know, don't judge a book by it's cover..I do it anyway. Please enter me :)