Friday, May 9, 2014

Interview with Skylar Dorset

The Girl Who Never Was (Otherworld #1)
by Skylar Dorset
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: June 1st 2014
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THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?
When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.
Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.

Click here to learn more about the Otherworld

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is about a girl who thinks she’s totally normal but finds out she’s half-faerie-princess, half-ogre, and that she’s destined to lead a coup d’etat to overthrow her evil mother. Her life gets pretty complicated pretty quickly, as you might imagine.

Selkie is a Boston teenager who feels young and old all at once. She is smart and capable and determined, but she doesn’t see herself that way at all and considers herself to be flailing about without a goal. But I think that’s the best thing about Selkie: Even when she’s confused and feeling overwhelmed, she just keeps on going. She gets a lot of crazy stuff thrown at her and she never feels like she has any idea what she’s doing, but she also never lets that stop her from doing *something.* And all while keeping a wry and self-deprecating sense of humor to boot!

The opening image of Selkie’s story, about a man walking in to find a strange woman asleep on his couch, came to me in a dream. Eventually, I figured out that this was the story of Selkie’s parents, and that I wanted to write about Selkie herself. I didn’t do *specific* research, but her story was influenced by the city I was living in at the time. Every little odd Bostonian quirk somehow found its way into Selkie’s story. Every time I learned a new little fact about New England history, it was fun to work its way into the story I was telling.

I think the most difficult part of the book to write was the ending. I wanted to get it just right. There are a lot of swirling emotions and also important plot points all at the same time, and I wanted to hit that balance. My favorite part of the book to write would be a spoiler to tell all of you but suffice it to say it involves cuddling in the rain. ;-)

I think they need to know that it’s a truly awful place that has terrified all of the supernatural creatures in the kingdom with a cruel and capricious rule. Also, it’s a place that dislikes remembering and forces you to forget. And to realize how bad that is, all you have to do is think of your favorite memory and think of having it taken away from you.

I stayed up all night writing the climactic scenes of the book, and I still couldn’t sleep even when I was done and ended up giving up and just sitting in bed, re-reading what I’d written.

The Otherworld is populated mainly by faeries, ogres, gnomes, and goblins. If I had to be one, I admit I’d probably be a goblin, because they like to cause mischief and have fun.

Never trust a faerie!

I actually listened to one album over and over and over again while I was writing the book, and it was Andrew Belle’s The Ladder. I highly recommend discovering it if you haven’t already. The one song I think describes the whole story the best is “Oh My Stars” from that album:

Oh, my my
Oh, my stars
Everything we see is ours
Or it could be
If you would try
I wish you would
I wish you might
Oh, if everything you’ve said to me’s been true
Then all my stars are leading me to you

It’s been magical! Which is probably a clichéd way to describe having a fantasy book published, but it’s so apt. Sometimes I feel like it’s all happening to someone else, or like it’s just another story I’ve written in my head, how wonderfully this has all turned out. J

BE STILL MY HEART on the big screen thing. But casting is always the hardest question from me because I’m always like, “Who’s that girl who’s in the thing? It would be her.” But here’s what I think currently:

Can I get Claire Holt (from “The Vampire Dairies” and “The Originals”) to play Selkie with an American accent? And Torrance Coombs (Bash from “Reign”) to play Ben.

I can tell you that it’s AWESOME. Does that count?

I can also tell you that it involves lots of new characters and all of the old ones, kisses and quarrels, subways and bells. And a spangly silver-and-black coat.

The key to happiness is finding a tea or coffee beverage that is readily available to you at all times.

Skylar’s first story was a tale of romantic intrigue involving two feuding factions of squirrels. Think “Romeo & Juliet” but with bushy tails and added espionage. She was seven.

Since that time, Skylar’s head has been filled with lots of characters and lots of drama. She is delighted to be able to share some of it with all of you now, because, honestly, it was getting pretty loud and crowded in there.

Skylar is a born-and-bred New Englander, which is why Boston was a natural setting for her debut novel, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS. Skylar shares her home with a cardboard cutout of the Tenth Doctor, lots of Mardi Gras beads from the time she spent living in New Orleans, and a harp she’s supposed to be teaching herself to play. She’d like to get a dog.

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