A website dedicated to books in the Young Adult genre, featuring book reviews, author interviews contests and much more!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interview with Lesley Livingston and Contest!

in Today I'd like to extend a warm welcome to Lesley Livingston, author of the novel Wondrous Strange, and the sequel, Darklight, which was recently released.

Lesley Livingston is a writer and actor. She holds a master’s degree in English, with a specialization in Arthurian literature and Shakespeare, from the University of Toronto. A principal performer and founding member of the Tempest Theatre Group, Livingston brings Shakespearean classics to life in productions and workshops for high school students across southern Ontario.

Darklight continues the magical, romantic story of Kelley Winslow and changeling guard Sonny Flannery that began in Wondrous Strange. Can you give us a teaser or sneak peek into Darklight?

Ooh… how about this? (She said, grinning evilly and rubbing her hands together…). This is a snippet of a scene that takes places when Sonny encounters Queen Mabh in the Otherworld as he is pursuing the remnants of the Wild Hunt. At this point, Sonny hasn’t seen Kelley for several months – and Mabh offers him a peek at what Kelley has been up to….

“In spite of himself, Sonny knelt back down on the grass and glanced into the Faerie queen’s improvised scrying pool. He had no wish to spy on Kelley. Still, he found he could not look away. . . . The wild, dangerous look on Kelley’s face made her look so much like her mother that it gave Sonny a hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach. But not nearly as much as the last, lingering image that flared up in the water—the image of Kelley throwing her arms around another man…”

In preparation for Wondrous Strange, you researched a lot of mythological folklore and also toured around New York City. Can you tell us about some of the most memorable things you discovered that really sparked your creativity?

Without giving any spoilers away *grin*, I will say this about my research:

I was really inspired by the history of Central Park and it’s creation (as well as a certain story that had to do with one of the Park’s lesser-known creators). It was all stuff that formed the background and underpinnings for the over-arching story arc of the whole trilogy. It’s really only hinted at in Wondrous Strange but in Darklight, I get to explore that foundation story a bit more. In fact, the very first scene in this second book is based on an actual historical event—with, of course, my own fantastical spin on it. But I love it when I stumble on a real-world bit of information or location or occurrence that just happens to dovetail with a story idea. It grounds me and really gets me thinking ‘what if’.

As far as my delving into Faerie lore went, I was constantly surprising myself by how much of it I seem to have just sort of absorbed by osmosis over the years. I’ve been reading this stuff since I was a kid but, writing the books, I would find that I needed something particular to happen. Then, when I would go back to some of my source material, I would often find the exact bit of ‘magick’ or precedent I needed to move the plot forward didn’t have to come just my imagination, but there was also usually a key buried somewhere for me in the old stories waiting to be found.

I gotta say, researching the nastier elements of Faerie lore was a heck of a lot of fun!

The cover art for Wondrous Strange and Darklight is so beautiful. Were you a part of the decision process and are you happy with the final products?

It is, isn’t it? *large grin*

To say that I am “happy” with the end result of my cover art is to commit a punishable offence of gross understatement!! I am beyond thrilled with the job that Sasha Illingsworth and the design team at HarperCollins did. It was so obvious to me upon seeing the images for the first time that they’d actually read the books and—more importantly—got them.

The only real input I had was before they did the cover shoot, my editor asked me to send impressions and ideas and any kinds of visuals I used while writing the story (I was just finish the first book by then) and I emailed her a few jpegs of some artwork I’d drawn inspiration from. I knew they wouldn’t use any of it—it was more just to get a feel for how I saw things. She also asked me some specifics about how I pictured Kelley. Then they went out and found a young model that—really—if I’d seen her on the street, I would have just pointed and said “That’s Kelley. That girl. Right there. Go get her.” The lovely young lady that wound up on the cover of the books is almost exactly how I pictured her. (They shot the covers for Wondrous Strange and Darklight on the same day, back when I only had a 2-book contract—but I’m ecstatic to say that we got the same girl back for book three, which they just shot a couple of weeks ago down in NYC!).

What were the most challenging aspects of bringing Wondrous Strange to life?

I was under a pretty tight deadline for the first book and for the last month or so, I was rehearsing and performing in a production of Macbeth with my theatre company so it was a little like juggling cats at times! But I’m usually the sort that works best with a bit of pressure (thankfully!) and it all got done. Really, these books are just so much fun for me to write. On good days it just pours out (of course they’re not all good days!) but I will admit that book three in the series was a bit challenging just from the perspective of braiding together everything from the previous two books in a way that all makes sense! I just sent that one to my editor, so I don’t know if I actually came anywhere near accomplishing that task! *grin*

Besides being an author, you are also a stage actress and founding member of the Tempest Theatre Group. Is there a difference in performing for teens as opposed to adults?

I love performing for any audience but I will admit to a special love of performing for teen audiences! They are so passionate and they don’t really let you get away with anything. They will let you know immediately if they’re not engaged or if they think you’re trying to b.s. them. They’re not shy. They will also be your most enthusiastic supporters when you get it right. Teens in the house keep you sharp and on your toes. When you’ve got them—really got them—it’s the best. thing. ever.

What inspired you to make the jump from the stage into becoming a published writer?

For me, it’s not so much a jump as just an extension, really. It’s all story telling and that is what I love to do. Being in the theatre for so long, if you have any writing tendencies yourself, it’s hard not to pick up an ear for dialogue and story cadence. It seemed like a natural evolution for me. I’ve always loved language (hard not to if most of what you do is Shakespeare) and the chance to play with words was irresistible to me.

How did your theatre experience influence your writing for Wondrous Strange and Darklight? Do you draw from a lot of your own experiences when writing for Kelley?

Oh it was a huge influence! Yeah… sadly, Kelley and I share a somewhat similarly disastrous theatre school background. And some of what happens with Quentin might have a few real-life resonances—heh. But so does some of what happens with Gentleman Jack. And Kelley gets to experience some of the very same thrills that I have, as well as the same heartaches. The world of the backstage is kind of a strange and startling one if you’ve never been there and I’ve been told that the theatre scenes in the books have a particular ring of verisimilitude to them. That makes me happy and I know that’s because I’ve lived in that world.

What types of feedback do you receive from readers? Have there been any comments in particular that were truly meaningful to you?

I get the BEST email from readers! (Enough so that I get terribly behind in answering—especially when I’m buried under a looming deadline!) They tell me how much they love Sonny (Hee! Me too!), and how they can relate to Kelley, and how Bob and Lucky made them laugh… It’s wonderful. One that sticks in my mind was a young girl who very sincerely wanted to know if I really thought that the kind of love Sonny and Kelley share is possible in the real world. I told her absolutely yes. Because I believe that.

Currently there are three installments in the trilogy scheduled. Any chance for a spin-off down the road? Also, can you tell us what other novels we can look forward to from you in the future?

Ooh… I have some ideas… we’ll just have to wait and see! I certainly think there’s an awful lot of the world(s) in these books left to explore! As for upcoming projects, I have something on the go right now and some exciting plans for the future… but I can’t really say much at this point! Sorry! ;-)

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just that I’ve really enjoyed this chat and I really looking forward to seeing how readers react to the continuing adventures of Sonny and Kelley and company!

Darklight by Lesley Livingston
Publication Date: December 22nd 2009

Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was Faerie royalty, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved New York City from a rampaging Faerie war band. When a terrifying encounter in Central Park sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful—but cut short. For they’ve been plunged into a game of Faerie deception and wavering allegiances in which the next move could topple a kingdom...or part them forever. The fans who flocked to Lesley Livingston’s Wondrous Strange will fall hard for Darklight, the soaringly romantic second book in the trilogy. Breathless high stakes and vividly magical characters make this a can’t-miss fantasy for readers of Melissa Marr and Holly Black.

Purchase Darklight HERE.


Lesley has offered to giveaway one copy of Wondrous Strange in paperback.
To Enter: Leave a comment with your email address
Bonus Entries: Post/Link to any social network
Contest Ends 2/15/2010
This contest is open INTERNATIONALLY!


cait045 said...

Great Interview! I can't wait to start reading this one.


Margay said...

This looks like a great series!

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/Margay/status/7951971632



tina werner said...

The covers of your books are beautiful!!!

stampitchick at yahoo dot ca

Andrea I said...

Enjoyed the interview, it sounds like an interesting series.


Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Fab! I would love to be entered :)

suitejuju(at)gmail(dot)com :)

Ella Press said...

I'd love to enter, but is it open to int'l readers too?

ella_press AT live.com.ar

holdenj said...

What a wonderful interview! I love her openness and tales of writing and of herself. Would love to win and get started on this trilogy! Thanks.

Annie said...

OMG! I've heard a lot about this one. Can't wait to read it!

Please, sing me in for the contest!



Orchid said...

Nice interview. Sounds like an interesting series, count me in. :)

hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

Wendy said...

Hi, Lesley! Awesome interview, I can't wait to check out your books. :)

- Wendy (omgitswendy at gmail dot com)

LiLi said...

I keep finding Lesley Livingston giveaways but all have been for Darklight. I haven't entered any for fear of never getting to read Wondrous Strange first. This has to be the first giveaway I've found for it, yay!

Tweeted about contest: http://twitter.com/Lilixtreme/status/7961544014


Jen said...

I would love to win this :)

Jennifer M.

Lauren said...

Lovely interview! I would love to win this. :)


WilowRaven said...

Ooo - please enter me!



Emma said...

Excellent interview! I didn't know how much involvement she had in theatre. Really amazing.

StephTheBookworm said...

Please enter me in the contest.


van_pham said...

want to read it!! please enter me :)


tetewa said...

I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, doll. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Stacy Stew said...

Pretty covers. Please enter me.

pepsivanilla said...

Great interview, Lesley's hilarious!
Please count me in, I'd love to read the book :)


Emily said...

Loved the interview! Enter me in the contest please. Thanks for hosting!

emily DOT wittenberg @ gmail.com

Erin said...

Great interview. I haven't read this series yet, but I need to get started!


~Erin D.

Bethie said...

I would love to win this. Please count me in. Thanks for the chance.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Martha Lawson said...

Great interview! Beautiful covers.

I follow

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

~*Ruby*~ said...

Many thanks for posting this interview. Kindly include me in the giveaway!

rubs.escalona [at] gmail.com

+1 posted on twitter:

misskallie2000 said...

Thanks Lesley for this great giveaway of Wondrous Strange. You did a terrific interview Kim and now I not only want to read this book but the series. Pls add my name to the hat..Thanks
I am follower

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Beleth said...

I would love to read this book! Count me in!

battyaboutbats at gmail.com

Bunny B said...

I love the covers! I want to read this please :)
bunnybx at gmail . com

Bunny B said...

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/bunnyb/status/7981207220
bunnybx at gmail . com

Bere said...

I really love the covers for these books!
They are great!
The interview was amazing!
Thank you for the contest, please
count me in!

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/LunitaBere/status/7981232805


Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I've wanted to read these for a while :)
Great interview!


Anonymous said...

Oh I'd really like to win this!

infiniteplaylist AT gmail DOT com

Precious said...

Awesome interview! And yay! An international contest!

COunt me in please! I've always wanted to read Wondrous Strange but I'm always broke from buying YAs.

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/precious_shusky/status/7984161555

Sidebar link: http://shusky20.blogspot.com/



Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

This is a series on my wishlist that I really can't wait to start! Thanks for the interview & please count me in :)

here's my tweet: http://twitter.com/hefollowedme/status/7984924419

hefollowedme AT gmail DOT com


Bee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bee said...

This is lovely!
I like how the fictional plot is related to factual stuff. That's an interesting blend.
Please enter me. I really want to read this book. Btw, the covers are absolutely gorg!!

I tweeted (@bee_muses)

Email: bee_muses@yahoo.com

SloMo2639 said...

nice contest! *is excited*



Rhia Raye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhia Raye said...

I really want to read these books! Great Interview!


Lindsay's Photographys said...

I would LOVE to win this!!
Thankyou!! :D:D:D



Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

elaing8 said...

great interview and beautiful cover
please count me in for the giveaway

tweeted http://twitter.com/elaing8/status/7994406505


dor said...

What a great interview and I love the book.

dorcontest at gmail dot com

kimikimi said...

I'm really interested in the story, especially that she's in theatre.

ki mi ka io @ yahoo.com (no spaces)

Kathrin said...

I absolutely loved the interview. Sometimes, I had trouble staying on my chair (as opposed to next to it on the floor ;-) )!

Please add me to the giveaway, I think I'm close to hooked!

dreamworldofabookaholic AT googlemail DOT com

purplg8r said...

Great interview! I'd love to read Darklight!

And I blogged about the contest here.


Jenny N. said...

Nice interview< i learned a lot about Lesley.

+1 I tweeted: http://twitter.com/Jullysay/statuses/8011589027


Mystica said...

Please include me in this giveaway.


mariska said...

Thank you for making this Internationally !!
I'm eyeing this book coz the cover is so beautiful : )

+ i tweet'd here http://twitter.com/becunique

uniquas at ymail dot com

YA Vampire Books said...

Great interview! And thanks for having this contest international :)


Ana R. said...

Please count me in!

+1 tweeted: http://twitter.com/ana_rm5/status/8024697150


mummazappa said...

yay an international contest!!!!!!!!!! i would love to read this series, it's been on my TBR list for awhile!


mummazappa said...

yay an international contest!!!!!!!!!! i would love to read this series, it's been on my TBR list for awhile!


E.J. Stevens said...

Great contest! :)


Becca said...

Please enter me! I'd love to read this.

I blogged about it here:


avalonne83 said...

Great giveaway!
Please count me in. Thanks.

avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

Spav said...

Nice giveaway!

Tweet: http://twitter.com/Sparima/status/8053501481


MannaB said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway!


InABox said...

I've wanted to read Wondrous Strange since I first heard about it, and this preview of Darklight makes me want to read them both all the more!

whatinabox at gmail dot com

+1 Sidebar: http://bookishinabox.blogspot.com/

Keyla said...

Please enter me in the contest. Thank you.


Katrina said...

would love to win

ykatrina at hotmail dot com

brizmus said...

Ooh! I've heard such fabulous things about this book! Enter me!
+1 it's in my sidebar under the contest list - http://brizmusblogsbooks.blogspot.com


Pagecrawler said...

Looks like a great series Please enter my name in the draw


Pagecrawler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EVA S said...

Great interview. It's definitely piqued my interest in this book.


Marian said...

I enjoyed the description of how the covers were created, and the model is perfect for them.


mdperera at hotmail dot com

bookaholic said...

I so want to read Wondrous Strange!! Your interview was superb! It really provided a deep insight into the book and Lesley's mind..
The book covers are absolutely stunning..so magical!!!
I tweeted(http://twitter.com/Debasmitadhar/status/8143030225)

P.S.:Thanks so much for the opportunity! I love the look and format of your blog!!


Angela said...

I would love to read this series!


GMR said...

Great job on the interview ...as usual! Count me in on the contest, please!

+1 - linking on blog under contests - http://insatiablereaders.blogspot.com


bianca_riot said...

great interview. Love It! Definately wanna read it. And the cover illustrations are awesome.

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/bianca_riot/statuses/8265593617


Bani said...

What a nice lengthy interview.

My interest in this series keeps growing and growing.. I definitely want to read it.

wakeupangel at gmail dot com

+1 stumbled upon http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/LoveMonster/

+1 Blogged about giveaway

+1 tweeted giveaway

+1 Reddit http://www.reddit.com/user/lovemonster/

throuthehaze said...

Count me in please

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Anna ♥ said...

Great interview!

I would love to read Wondrous Strange, please count me in!

Linked on sidebar: http://goodgonegirl.blogspot.com

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/thegoodgonegirl/status/8313803002

Anna ♥

dsandyboy said...

Count me in.


Anonymous said...

Please enter me. walkerd@primus.ca

Megan said...

Count me in. Looks like a great book!


skyla11377 said...

This Series Sounds Like A Series I Would Love To Jump Right Into. I Have Heard A Lot About This Series And Would Love To Be Entered Into This Giveaway.

Bonus Entries: Post/Link To Any Social Network.
I Blogged About This Giveaway.


namie_mcr said...

I really want to read this book. Please,please,please count me in..:)


Brodie said...

Loved the interview! She's fully won me over now and so I really need to read Wondrous Strange and jump on the bandwagon with everyone else who loves the book! Definitely count me in :D


Marietta said...

Great interview! Count me in :)


tacylovestoread said...

love your site,would love to win.\


ginnn7 said...

great interview, enjoyed it thanks.


YA Vampire Books said...

nice interview! Please enter me in this contest :)


Samo ;D said...

This series sounds gorgeous, can't wait to start reading it when I see it out in book stored here in Australia!

PS Great Interview, I just discovered this blog,and I am really liking it!

Nancye said...

Great interview! I would love to win this book! Please enter me!

Tweet! Tweet!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Margie said...

This looks like a good one! Thanks for the giveaway.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Sarah (Limerick) said...

Count me in!

+1 sidebar

two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

Shy said...

Do count me in!


Julie! said...

I want this book so bad!!


cipriano_lol said...

i want to enter!

ily_lotslotslots at yahoo.com

dsandyboy said...

Count me in.


Anonymous said...

Please enter me. walkerd@primus.ca

Elizabeth said...

I read the first book it was great hope i win the second :)

Elizabeth said...

I read the first book it was great hope i win the second :)

The Graef Family! said...

Count me in! The girls on the covers of these books are beautiful!!


I also retweeted about this. (I don't even really know how twitter works).

Thanks for the great interview!

Chiara said...

I love the covers and I'm looking forward to read the book!! my email is rj_laura05@hotmail(dot)com

catsontheshelf said...

I'm entering almost all of your contests. I just want to read them all!


Anonymous said...

Giggity this sounds great!

Abi said...

This series looks so good!


Teresa said...

Sounds like a good read
mstlee2000 @ hotmail.com

Jenny Le said...

Please consider me! Thank you!


Mary said...

Sounds like a good series
darrma2000 @ gmail.com

Kelly said...

Great interview! I would love to read this book.