I really should make a graphic for these, shouldn’t I?
Today I got to interview Skylar Dorset, author of YA fantasy debut THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS, which will be out from Sourcebooks Fire in June 2014!
Here’s a short description:
Selkie thinks she’s just a normal teenager. Then she founds out her father’s an ogre and her mother’s a fairy queen…who she’s prophesied to overthrow.
Skylar is a native Rhode Islander who fully believes that the best type of ice cream shake is called a cabinet (and she prefers a chocolate one). Boston gave her a degree in English (from Boston College), a degree in law (from Harvard), and the setting for her first novel, BREATHLESS, about a teenager who finds out she’s half-faerie-princess and half-ogre. Skylar loves tea (hot and iced), breakfast for dinner, and the Red Sox.
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration for your debut book?
I had a dream in which I saw a guy I didn’t know walk into his home to find a blonde woman asleep on his couch. In the weird way of dreams, I knew a lot of the circumstances of this little moment. Like, I knew the house the people were in was an old brownstone on Boston’s Beacon Hill. And I knew that the man didn’t know the woman, had never seen him before. How did she end up on his couch? Who was she? That was what started this story (and it’s still the opening image of the entire novel).
Oh, my goodness, *titles.* Titles are, in many ways, the hardest part of writing. Sometimes a title just comes to you as if by magic and it’s perfect and you’re so excited, but more frequently, I find, you spend 60,000 words writing about these characters and then at the end it’s like, “OMG, I have to come up with a *title,* too??” My editor and I came up with “Breathless” fairly early on in the process, but then we changed it for a little while to “Never Trust a Faerie” (which is actually a phrase that’s said a lot in the book and that is the title of my Tumblr) and then we changed it back to “Breathless.” I’m actually really happy with it and I think it suits the book well! (Interviewer’s note: The title has since been changed to THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS, which is a fabulous title as well!)
The hardest part was the editing, actually. I don’t edit as I write—which I know is something a lot of people do. But I wait until there’s a draft and then I go back and edit. There are pros and cons to this approach, I feel, and I think a lot of which approach works for you just has to do with the way you write. But, anyway, going back and editing it and tightening it up so it would be the best book it could be was the hardest part of this. Editing is VITAL and it made this book such a delightful place to be that I never want to leave it but it’s still hard work, I always find.
Is there anything that helps you get into the writing zone – music, for example?
SNOW PATROL. Here’s the deal: I always listen to music when I write, always, I find it very inspirational. And my writing playlist has a lot of music on it and sometimes there’s music that suits a particular story more than another story and gets associated with that story in my head but I always find, no wonder what I’m writing, that the writing picks up if there’s a Snow Patrol song on. I have no idea what it is about that particular band, but they are MAGIC.
If I’m stuck, I like to take a shower or a bubble bath. For some reason, I find them very inspirational thinky-thought places.
What is it about young adult fiction that draws you in as a writer?
I think it’s the fact that it’s brimming over with so much POSSIBILITY. The age of young adult protagonists not only give you a lot of possibility plot-wise and emotion-wise, but, also, it gives you so much space for the characters themselves to develop into. Life is all about growth, of course, and you never really stop growing, but the age range of being young adult sits right at the beginning of all that growth, the first major time when you have to really come into yourself as a person and, therefore, decide who you want that person to be. And I like young adult protagonists because I love discovering the choice they are going to make, and because I love that it leaves me able to end stories almost at the beginning, so to speak—at the beginning of the rest of their lives, and all of us can imagine together what those lives might contain.
Yes, lots of times. There were times when “real life” just felt so busy, so overwhelming, so demanding, that I thought, “Maybe I should give up on this pie-in-the-sky fanciful notion of mine of being a published author. Maybe I should—for lack of a better term—‘grow up.’” I’m so happy that I didn’t ever let it get pushed entirely to the background.
Stick with it. Take deep breaths and take breaks when you need to. Read as much as you can. And write as much as you can. But never, as far as you can manage, let writing start to feel like *work.* You started writing because you loved it. Remember to try, no matter what, to always have it be that for you.
Can you say anything about your next project/s?
BREATHLESS will have a sequel, so that’s what I’m working on right now. After that, who knows? 😉
Thank you so much, Skylar!
You can check out Skylar’s website here. Be sure to also take a look at her Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook! You might also want to add her book on Goodreads (who am I kidding? Of course you want to!)