An Interview With...
Bethany James Leigh Shady
Where did you grow up and what activities did you enjoy as a little girl?
I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My brother, Justin, and I were pretty much inseparable. We used to love camping out in the living room with the dining room chairs and a few blankets as a makeshift tent. And we played an insane amount of hours of Contra on Nintendo.
What did you imagine you would grow up to become?
I've always wanted to be a writer, but there were definitely several points in my life when I wanted to be a paleontologist as well. That was pretty much after Jurassic Park had been released in '93, though.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first book in the first grade and it was titled "The Bird That Kept Coming By Me". My first grade teacher really encouraged us to write and would "publish" our books with cardboard and colored tape and fabric. It was brilliant. I still have all of the books from back then but right now they're in one of the many boxes that have been packed for the move next month.
What other influences inspired you to become a writer?
Writing was just in me, but I've definitely been inspired by other writers as I grew older. I fell in love with Vladimir Nabokov's wordplay immediately when I first read "Lolita" about twelve years ago. I would love to have his mind.
What type of writing do you prefer to write and what do you prefer to write?
I'm very much into middle-grade and young adult novels. I still feel like that mischievous, adventurous kid at heart, and reading those types of stories allow me to escape the stress of being an adult and go on exciting adventures in my own mind. And my writing does that for me as well. I tend to write things on completely different ends of the spectrum. I'll write a children's book or poem but then I'll go and write stories about murder, disease, and hauntings. It really just depends what mood I'm in.
Who are your favorite authors or books?
I love anything written by Vladimir Nabokov and J.K. Rowling; Nabokov for his wordplay and Rowling for her story. Nabokov's book, "The Real Life of Sebastian Knight" is one of my favorites and a small piece of it actually inspired me to write the story of the book I'm currently working on. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" is, without a doubt, my all time favorite of the Potter series. Rowling's got such fantastic ideas in that story like the introduction of the Marauder's Map, the Knight Bus, and the trips to Hogsmeade. And the twist at the end was brilliant! Professor R.J. Lupin is my favorite character of all the books. I think I'd like to marry him someday :) Another favorite book of mine is "Survivor" by Chuck Palahniuk. His writing is very real and his stories are a bit disturbing. They make you feel like your own life is pretty normal. His writing has definitely inspired a lot of my short story writing over the years.
What are you currently reading?
Right now I'm into this middle-grade book titled, "The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey", which is actually the second book of a "Mysterious Benedict" series. It's a fun story about a group of kids who are much more mentally advanced than most children and who have been selected to take on perils of the world. "The Perilous Journey" is a bit of a treasure hunt around the world with clues and riddles. It's a fun story to escape into as I crawl into bed at night and read a chapter or two before knocking out.
When you get "writer's block", what do you do to get ideas and words flowing again?
I can usually just call my brother, Justin, and hear what he's currently writing and it gets me going again. I definitely like to surround myself with other writers or artists or creative people to be inspired.
Do you want to do any more acting or "extra" work? What were the best and worst parts of being an extra? Did you use your own clothing or was it supplied for you by the show?
Extra work on LOST was really fun. The days are very long but I was working with the most amazing group of people. The wardrobe was provided by the show.
How long have you been living in Hawaii?
I've lived in Hawaii for three and a half years now. I actually kind of had a hard time adjusting to living in such a small, secluded place when I first moved out here from Los Angeles. But then I grew to appreciate the mellow environment and just how beautiful it is. It's going to be hard to deal with leaving.
- 5 May 2010
11 May 2010
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