Books·Magic 8 Q&A

Lesley Livingston on why her superhero name would be Deadline

The author of The Valiant answers eight questions submitted by eight other authors.
Lesley Livingston is the author of The Valiant. (Joseph O'Brien)

YA fantasy writer Lesley Livingston's latest book, The Valiant, is set in ancient Rome during the height of the Roman empire. It tells the coming-of-age story of Fallon, the daughter of a Celtic king who is captured by bandits and sold to a female gladiator training school the night before her 17th birthday.

Below, Lesley Livingston answers eight questions submitted by eight of her fellow writers in the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A.

1. Zsuzsi Gartner asks, "Why do you write what you write and the way you write it?"

I write the books I want to read, I guess. I wouldn't know how else to go about it! 

2. David McGimpsey asks, "If you were to pair your latest book with a signature cocktail, what is that cocktail called and what's it made of?"

Heh. That's easy: a Bloody Caesar. Extra spicy. With pickle spears and probably some other garnish stabbed through with those little plastic swords. 

3. Bill Richardson asks, "There is no word in English for the horrible feeling of finding a typo or some other grievous error in your own printed book. What should that word be?"

Oh, there's definitely a word. But I write young adult so it doesn't often show up in my public lexicon. Or if it does, it's a series of symbols. 

4. Alexi Zentner asks, "Would you want your kids to be writers?"

My kids are furry little bags of razorblades and kibble. The only time they show any interest in a keyboard is for the purposes of sleeping on it. That being said, had I human children, I would gently counsel them that there are easier, more lucrative ways of hurtling towards insanity and then I'd let them discover any writerly inclinations for themselves (while pointing and laughing).

5. Karen Solie asks, "At what stage of composition do you show someone a work in progress?"

Typically, when I hit the "send" button on an email addressed to my editor, moments before pouring a healthy glass of wine.

6. Anita Rau Badami asks, "What is more difficult, and which is more satisfying: starting a novel or finishing it?"

In all honesty and without being (too) facetious? Yes. And yes.

7. Robert Wiersema asks, "If someone were to create a comic book based on your life, what would your hero name be, and what would be your special gift/skill?"

Call me Deadline. I control (imaginary) people with my mind. I can leap tall manuscripts in a single bound (and three–four drafts). I bleed red ink (I'm not sure that's a gift or a skill...). 

8. Eden Robinson asks, "Who was your most influential mentor?"

Shakespeare. I spent a couple of decades as a Shakespearean stage actor and that was an ongoing master class in storytelling and language usage. Still is.


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