Life is imitating art for Ian Harding!
For the past seven seasons, the 30-year-old actor has played writer Ezra Fitz on the hit Freeform drama Pretty Little Liars, and now Harding himself can add author to his resume thanks to his new book, Odd Birds.
"It did sort of dawn on me at the beginning of writing it that this could be a big cliché," Harding dished to ET during a live Facebook interview this week
. "People are like, 'Oh, you play a writer on TV, are you going to be a writer in real life too? Cool.' That was on my mind a lot, [but] probably halfway through season six [of PLL
], I wanted to try something different."
Harding confessed that it was his father, Stephen Harding, who also happens to be a New York Times bestselling author, who first suggested that he write a memoir. "It's sort of a compilation of autobiographical and humorous essays with a theme on this [bird-watching] hobby that I had as a kid that I kind of re-adopted as an adult -- hence the title, Odd Birds," he said.
The actor-turned-author admitted that working on Odd Birds while filming the final few seasons of Pretty Little Liars helped to bring him "a lot of peace," although he was initially hesitant about fully bringing his passion for "birding" into the spotlight.
"I kept it really quiet for a while," Harding said with a laugh. "Because I started doing it as a kid but then I kind of put it away for a while, because it's not a fast track to dating. Like, with birding, if you bring that up, it's an instant buzzkill usually."
During our interview, a fan asked, "Which bird would best describe [your PLL co-star] Lucy Hale?" and Harding had the perfect answer ready to go: "Something tiny, lovely, but aggressive," he said.
"It's a thing called an American Kestral and it's one of my favorites. It's essentially this little bird of prey," Harding explained. "It's actually red, white and blue and it's so aesthetically pleasing. They can do all sorts of crazy feats that you wouldn’t think that they could -- like fly backwards, and stuff like that -- but they can also fight off things, like, twice their size."
"So that's appropriate for Lucy," he concluded. "Compact, adorable, beautiful, but also occasionally violent."
As for Harding and Hale's onscreen counterparts, the actor dished that Ezria fans can still expect a wedding in our PLL future -- but there's a catch! "I would say yes, but with a footnote," he said. "It's kind of just like with everything you've seen on this show before. I think people will be happy, but just know that happiness is never permanent in this show. So people will be like, 'Yes!' and then it will all be destroyed."
1. Who was the first person you thought was A.D.?
IH: Oh, Aria.
2. What was your craziest/most jaw-dropping moment of the series?
IH: Of the whole series? I thought it was hilarious when I was not A.D., but I told [Aria] on a ski lift. I was like, 'This is insane!' That was crazy. So much fun.
3. Name a couple that you personally "shipped" on PLL? (Side-note: you can't say your own!)
IH: It can't be my own? I don’t know, I was always a big Spencer/Toby [fan]. Spoby? That sounds like a disease like, "I've got Spoby -- oof! I've got three ears."
4. What is one word you would use to describe the series finale?
IH: One word to describe the finale: all engrossing, lovely, heartbreaking. That was like 97 words.
5. How did you feel about the reveal of A.D.?
IH: I knew it. It, like, dawned on me at one point. I was like, 'I bet it's this thing, person, place, thing.' to be vague, but I was like, 'Oh yeah I get it. This makes sense.'
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Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.