Lesley Livingston is the Author of the fantastic Wondrous Strange and the new Starling series and today here to promote the exciting sequel to Starling: Descendant. I’m happy to be part of her promotional tour and had the opportunity to interview her. And, I was so amazed when I saw her answers because she truly took her time to answer all my questions so very thoughtfully!
So please welcome Lesley Livingston’s and read how we chatted about New York, Faery Lore and Nordic Lore , which plays a major part in the Starling series:
Hello Lesley, I am so excited to have you here today at the Bookworms.
I’m excited to be here!
I am a huge fan of your books. I loved the Wondrous Strange series and I am now deeply and completely in love with the Starling series.
Aw, thanks! And can I just say – it really is pretty fantastic for authors to hear stuff like this – it never gets old!
Both stories are set in New York, is New York a special place for you – or why did you decide to place both series in New York?
As the song goes, “I love New York in June… How about yoooouuu?” Although, actually, I love that city pretty much ANY time of the year. The first time I set foot there, I think it was February and bitter cold but it was still magic(k)! One of the things that made me fall in love with New York is, as you may have guessed from the WONDROUS series, Central Park. I knew the moment I saw the place that I needed to set a story there and once I started to research the park itself and the history behind its creation, I discovered so many fascinating details and factoids about it that dovetailed so beautifully with the books. The more I researched, and the more I visited the city (I try to go at least once a year), the more it seemed to unlock these secrets about its past. All of the places I mention in these books exist—from Titania’s hotel in DARKLIGHT to Rafe’s nightclub in STARLING to the Hell Gate Bridge and North Brother Island and the High Line Park (I even found the warehouse where Fennrys has his hidden loft), to all of the landmarks in Central Park. I may have tweaked a detail or two—like a name—but it’s all there. My editor started calling me “New York’s supernatural biographer”!
Mason is going to a very special boarding school directly in New York and I loved your description of the Gosforth Academy.
Thanks! The name of the Academy, by the way, comes from a tiny town in the north of England, settled by Scandinavians in the 9th century that boasts an intricately carved stone monument depicting certain key Norse myths. I had fun with that!
Did you have a special school or place in mind when creating it for the Startling Series or does it all come from your imagination ?
When I decided to locate Gosforth on New York’s Upper West side, I visited the neighborhood to get a sense of the place and the kind of architecture that was already there and I found a group of marvelous old Gothic buildings on the edge of Columbia University that physically fit the bill for how I wanted the school to appear on the outside. As for the inside, and what goes on behind those imposing stone walls, that mostly came from my imagination. I did have a lot of fun mentally building in the details for things like the gymnasium and the oak tree—before I gleefully demolished both—and Mason’s room is a little reminiscent of the dorm room I had in university. Basically, Gos is my ideal of a posh private (mystically protected) school.
In Wondrous Strange you picked up old Faeries lore and now in the Starling Series you picked up Nordic Lore about which I am especially excited. For which lore did you do more research and which one was easier to develop for your stories?
As a kid, I was fascinated with all kinds of mythology and folklore and I read everything I could get my hands on that had anything to do with that stuff. So a lot of the lore was already stuffed up inside my head when I started to work on these books. I would occasionally have to do specific bits of research—and sometimes that would give me more and different ideas of how to approach my subjects—but a lot of it was already there in my brain. The wonderful thing about both Faerie lore and Norse myth is the amount of latitude you have with interpretation. Both are very malleable and shapeable. The STARLING books may have been a wee bit harder, just because I also incorporate other ancient mythologies as well. But my giant mythic sandbox is just so much fun to play in!
Which of the Nordic Creatures and Characters do you love most and why? Well, apart from gorgeous and mysterious Fennrys, which we all love so deeply:)
I am fond of Fenn, yeah… but there’s so much to love about the Norse myths. They’re so weird and twisty and gleefully grim. Would it be strange to admit that I have a soft spot for my storm zombies, the draugr? And I had great fun imagining the Norns. Of course, everyone loves Loki… Hel and Heimdall were fun to play around with… And Odin… And Sleipnir, Odin’s fabulous eight-legged horse! And the Valkyries!!
Talking about Fennrys – why did you choose him as your hero?
He sort of chose himself, actually! When I was finished writing TEMPESTUOUS, the last book in the WONDROUS STRANGE series, he pretty much refused to quietly ride off into the sunset—no matter how much I might have decided that was what was going to happen. No no, he just kept bugging me and bugging me to tell his story. So I did. And I’m glad I did, because that meant I got to tell Mason’s story, too.
Which of the Nordic legends or characters is the one that you loved most to implement in the Starling series?
Well, it was fun to take a run at Ragnarok, the prophesied Norse end of the world, and see if I couldn’t sort of turn whole the idea of prophecy—and its effect on different people—on its head a bit. It’s fun telling your characters that something like the apocalypse is about to happen, that it’s fate and it’s inevitable, and then watch and see how they react. Some embrace their fate, some fight against it, and some do everything in their power to facilitate it.
Any new exciting new characters we will meet when the series progresses?
Oh… you mean who? Well… that would be telling now, wouldn’t it?
Haha!! Well, it was worth a try right? Thank you so much for taking your time to answer my questions and of course, thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for graciously hosting me! Cheers!
I absolutely loved chatting with Lesley and I absolutely loved reading all her answers and wonderful insight into her creation process! If you haven’t read her books you will see how much love for detail she is adding to her pages and it makes reading her stories just more exciting!
Descendant by Lesley Livingston
The last thing Mason Starling remembers is the train crossing a bridge. An explosion . . . a blinding light . . . then darkness. Now she is alone, stranded in Asgard—the realm of Norse legend—and the only way for her to get home is to find the Spear of Odin, a powerful relic left behind by vanished gods.
The Fennrys Wolf knows all about Asgard. He was once trapped there. And he’ll do whatever it takes to find the girl who’s stolen his heart and bring her back—even if it means a treacherous descent into the Underworld. But time is running out, and Fenn knows something Mason doesn’t: If she takes up the Spear, she’ll set in motion a terrible prophecy. And she won’t just return to her world . . . she’ll destroy it.
In this pulse-pounding sequel to Starling, Lesley Livingston delivers another electrifying blend of nonstop action and undeniable romance that will leave readers breathless.
About Lesley Livingston
Lesley Livingston is a writer and actress living in Toronto. She has a master’s degree in English from the University of Toronto, where she specialized in Arthurian Literature and Shakespeare. She frequently performs with the Tempest Theatre Group, of which she is a co-founder. She is also the author of WONDROUS STRANGE and DARKLIGHT.
You can visit Lesley online at www.lesleylivingston.com
Visit the other Tour stops for more exciting Interviews, posts & more!
- 8/19/2013- The Happy Booker– Guest Post
- 8/20/2013- Bewitched Bookworms– Interview – Today!!
- 8/21/2013- IceyBooks– Review
- 8/22/2013- Tater’s Tall Tails– Guest Post
- 8/23/2013- [B.O.O.K.L.I.F.E.]– Review
- 8/26/2013- Fiktshun– Character Interview Fennrys
- 8/27/2013- Wholly Books– Review
- 8/28/2013- Book Jems– Review
- 8/29/2013- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post
- 8/30/2013- About to Read– Interview
Lesley Livingston at the Bewitched Bookworms
Quote from my Startling Review:
Starling comes with a phenomenal and thrilling set of characters. Girls can swoon over Fenrys and connect to Mason. The gorgeous New Yorker setting adds to an incredible story that only scratched the surface of an ancient lore. Starling will easily be one of my favorite paranormal series where I will eagerly await the sequel.
- Wondrous Strange Series Review – (set in the same universe as Starling but can be read completely separately)
Thanks to Lesley we have a Giveaway for you guys: 2 signed sets of STARLING & DESCENDANT Us/Canada Only. Enter via the Rafflecopter below.
And now, I want to know: have you read anything from Lesley before? Did you read Starling and loved it just like I did? And ..what would you like to ask Lesley?