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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lesley Livingston Mini-Interview

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I got together with Lesley Livingston, the author of the amazing Wondrous Strange Trilogy, and did a small interview about the books, theater, and Shakespeare. Here it is:

Q: I myself am a theater person, (the musical I’m in goes up next week! Aah!), and I wanted to know just how big a role does theater plays in your life? Why did you choose theater as a main part of your novels?

Ooh! Break a leg! (er... maybe not in the way Dame Barbara does in WONDROUS STRANGE).

Theatre has always played a huge part in my life. I wanted to be an actor from the time I was a kid and it influenced me greatly growing up. I adore Shakespeare and I love the thrill of getting inside a character's head and then the rush of performing. It's funny how the two professions - acting and writing - dovetail so nicely. They are both storytelling and, while acting - essentially telling someone else's story - is awesome, at some point I realized that I also wanted to tell my own!

As for the theatrical aspects of the WONDROUS STRANGE books, well - it just fit so perfectly: I needed a girl who was living in NYC because of Central Park; the city is famous for its theatre scene; Shakespeare wrote about Faeries; and I already had a deep knowledge of the biz, so... voila! Kelley was an actress from the get-go. I love it when a plot comes together!

Q: You have an immense love for Shakespeare. How was the experience of taking characters from his plays (like Puck) and giving them a new life? Also, are there any specific scenes or lines from Shakespeare that you would go back to again and again for inspiration?

I do have a pathological fondness for the Bard, I must admit! It was both daunting and gratifying to take on the task of borrowing from his work, but I think Shakespeare was the kind of writer who would be totally okay with that kind of thing. After all, he himself built some of his best-loved stories around pre-existing plots and characters. And I always say - if you're gonna steal, steal from the best! ;-)

There is so much richness in those tales that it makes it easy to draw inspiration but I did go back again and again to the first confrontation scene between Oberon and Titania, and also to a few of Puck's speeches when I was deciding on what my version of the Fair Folk would be like.

There's also a line from Hamlet which has always inspired me in my writing and that is: "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy".

Thanks so much Lesley for answering my questions! 

Lesley is a writer and actor living in Toronto, Canada.  Captivated at a young age by stories of mythology and folk lore, past civilizations, and legendary heroes, she developed into a full-fledged Celtic Mythology Geek, steeped in stories of the Otherworld, Faeries and King Arthur. Lesley went on to earn a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Toronto specializing in Shakespeare and Arthurian literature.

For almost three years, Lesley 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. She is also a founding member and principal performer with Tempest Theatre Group.

Lesley is an unrepentant egghead – a character-trait that somehow doesn’t interfere with a love of shoes and shiny things. WONDROUS STRANGE is her debut novel, the first in a trilogy published by HarperCollins. The second book in the series, DARKLIGHT, will be in stores in December 2009. 



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