I'm very excited to be joined today by Lesley Livingston, author of a fantastic new YA novel, Once Every Never.
Guys, please give a warm welcome to Lesley!
Guys, please give a warm welcome to Lesley!
LL: Lesley Livingston
E: Welcome to Bookish Lesley! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
LL: Thanks, Evie!
Let's see... I am an author and actress living in Toronto. I frequently mis-type my own name. I’m convinced that King Arthur was a real person. I cannot sleep in a room where a television is on—I will watch infomercials until 5:00am if I can’t find the remote. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a jockey—probably the result of a steady diet of Walter Farley BLACK STALLION books. I named my feet “Wrinkly” and “Binkly” but can never remember which one is which. I have a recurring dream where I almost—almost—sing back up for U2 but always get lost on the way to the stage and this makes Bono sad.
E: Who or what inspired you to write Once Every Never?
LL: I was inspired to write ONCE EVERY NEVER during a trip to the British Museum—specifically by some of the artifacts on display there that came together in my mind to form a story based on actual historical events. I’ve always been fascinated with that period of history—when the Celtic tribes of Britain were on the cusp of great change at the hands of an invading empire. It was a sort of twilight time for a way of life and from out of that, these tremendous, epic figures emerged. I wanted to explore that from the perspective of someone—Clare, my main character—who knows nothing about those events, couldn’t—initially—care less, and winds up fascinated and deeply involved in spite of herself.
E: Do you mind telling us how long did it take for you to write your book?
LL: This particular book was written in an earlier incarnation in about 4 ½ months and then, when I revisited it after writing the WONDROUS STRANGE books, there were about 4 months worth of revisions and rewriting that went into it to truly make it the story I wanted to tell.
E: How would you describe the Once Every Never series in 5 words?
LL: Fierce, funny, flaming-arrow, time-travel, adventure-romance! (Hyphenated words each count as “one”, right?)
E: Are any of your characters based on people in your own life? Which one do you feel is the most like you?
LL: Most of my characters sort of appear to me fully-formed in my mind. I don’t generally base anyone on people I know. There are aspects of some that echo people in my life, but I’ve never based a character whole-cloth on anyone, I don’t think.
As far as ONCE EVERY NEVER goes, I’m probably somewhere right smack in the middle between Clare and Allie as far as personality similarities go. Sometimes writing dialogue exchanges between the two of them was like listening to the two halves of my brain arguing!
E: Where is your favorite place for writing? Do you have any special writing rituals?
LL: Anywhere, anytime, so long as I have Bob—my Mac Air—with me. And coffee. And my iPod if it’s noisy. I used to have rituals before I had deadlines. Now my rituals consist of… got five minutes? TYPE!
E: What’s next in line for you? Are you working on a new book now?
LL: I am! I actually have a couple of things in the works. At my book launch, my lovely editor announced that there will be two more books in the ONCE EVERY NEVER story, so I’ll be getting down to writing the second fairly shortly. And I just turned in the first draft manuscript for my next trilogy with HarperCollins (working title of the series is STARLING), which is something of a spin-off of the WONDROUS STRANGE books.
E: What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are interested in writing YA novels?
LL: Do it. If you have the passion to write, do it. Don’t talk about it, don’t think about it, do it. Write. Half of writing is editing and it’s really, really hard to edit a blank page or an empty screen. And read. Read widely, and constantly and not just in the genre you want to write in. But if you want to write YA, know what it is you’re writing and why you’re writing it. Don’t just write YA because it’s trendy. Make sure you have a story you want to tell and make sure it’s the right way to tell it.
E: What genres do you like to read in your free time?
LL: I can be caught reading just about anything! Classics, Urban Fantasy, Thrillers, Literary, Historicals, Non-fiction, Mythology and Folktales, Multi-grain Cheerios boxes…
E: Which of your favorite books would you recommend everybody to read?
LL: Shakespeare. Pick one. Probably Hamlet. (I know, technically, they’re not “books”. But they are extraordinary stories, written with genius language.)
E: Do you have any other hobbies that you enjoy?
LL: I like gardening. I’m not necessarily good at it, but I do enjoy it. The sadly neglected state of my garden at the moment is indicative of my recent level of deadline-yness.
E: If you could have a paranormal power, what power would you want and why?
LL: Flight. So long as I could get the hang of the whole take-off/landing thing, I can think of nothing as awesome as soaring through a summer sky, maybe heading down to New York without having to go through the tedium of airport check-in. Plus, you’d save so much time and money in transit.
Time travel would be cool, too—like Clare in ONCE EVERY NEVER. Only I’m pretty sure that I’d irrevocably screw up the space-time continuum and I’d wind up returning to a present where the national currency is broccoli and marmosets rule as our evil overlords. Not that I have anything against marmosets, you understand, but they are power-hungry…
- white or dark chocolate? Milk- coffee or tea? Coffee- favorite fictional character? King Arthur. Although—as I mentioned above, I’m not remotely convinced he’s fictional.- favorite movie? Raiders of the Lost Ark.- favorite song? Peter Gabriel’s “Solisbury Hill”
- ebook or printed copy? I think the two can co-exist nicely!
Lesley, thank you so much for joining us today!
I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing your next books!
I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, for more information about Lesley Livingston and her books, please visit her website: Lesley Livingston - In Other Worlds or/and read my review of Once Every Never
If you're wondering where to get Once Every Never, here are the links:
Paperback, 312 pagesExpected publication: July 14th 2011 by Penguin Canada
Clarinet Reid is a pretty typical teenager. On the surface. She’s smart, but a bit of slacker; outgoing, but just a little insecure; not exactly a mischief-maker… but trouble tends to find her wherever she goes. Also? She unwittingly carries a centuries-old Druid Blood Curse running through her veins.
Now, with a single thoughtless act, what started off as the Summer Vacation in Dullsville suddenly spirals into a deadly race to find a stolen artifact, avert an explosive catastrophe, save a Celtic warrior princess, right a dreadful wrong that happened centuries before Clare was even born, and if there’s still time—literally—maybe even get a date.
This is the kind of adventure that happens to a girl once every… never.
Giveaway Time!Interested in winning a copy of Once Every Never?
Rules:Open to Internationals (copy will be shipped through Amazon), no PO boxes please!Ends: Friday, July 22nd
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