June 17, 2014

Interview with Skylar Dorset, Author of The Girl who Never Was


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.


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The Girl Who Never Was (Otherworld #1) 
by Skylar Dorset
Publication Date:  June 1, 2014
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire


Top Favs with Skylar Dorset

You’re home alone, there’s a fire!  Top 3 things you’d grab and save from the fire.

(1)    My phone, so that I can alert people to the fact that I’ve been in a fire!

(2)    My passport, birth certificate, and Social Security card (does that count as three??), because I’d imagine those things are a pain to replace.

(3)    My purse, because it would have in it already important things like my wallet, my car keys, and my MP3 player.

Top 3 Favorite authors (dead or alive) and why

(1)    J.K. Rowling, because she taught me how to plot and also was the initial opening of my eyes to the amazing world of YA.

(2)    Aaron Sorkin, because he taught me how to write dialogue and I will be forever grateful for that.

(3)    Steven Moffat, because he taught me that you should have fun with what you’re writing.

Top 3 Favorite snacks while writing and why

(1)    Tea. Always tea. I just find it very soothing, especially if you happen to catch it at exactly the right moment.

(2)    Anything chocolate. Because that’s just how I roll.

(3)    Anything cheesy. Because that’s another way I roll.

Top 3 Favorite books that inspired you to write and why

(1)    “Johnny Tremain,” because it really got me lost in a world that wasn’t my own and I wanted desperately to do that for someone else.

(2)    “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” because it reminded me of that long-ago feeling of getting lost in a world that wasn’t my own.

(3)    “Neverwhere,” because I read it at a time in my life when I had lost my way and it woke me up again to how fabulous fiction can be.

Top 3 favorite songs to listen to while writing and why

These change CONSTANTLY. Here are my three current:

(1)    “Change of Time” by Josh Ritter: This song is one of those songs that I find to be a mood-setter. Like, can’t you just envision two people just staring at each other, trying so hard to communicate all the things they can’t figure out how to put into words? This is my current go-to for emotional scenes. [wasn’t sure if you wanted links to these, or to any of the things? I’ll give you YouTube links to these, and let me know if you’d like some for the other stuff I’ve named]

(2)    “Keep the Car Running” by Arcade Fire: This one is for more action-oriented scenes. It has a nice, driving beat that helps me keep up the pace of the story-telling.

(3)    “Go Slow” by HAIM: This song kind of crept up on me. Like the first song, I find it atmospheric. It sounds like it’s all about relentless longing, and that works well for pining scenes.

Top 3 favorite techniques to overcome writers block and why

(1)    Changing the approach on the scene. If I’m in third-person POV, I’m a huge fan of switching the POV of the scene where I’m stuck to see if I’m stuck because I’m not coming at it from the right character’s angle. The other thing I do is start the scene in a different place—earlier or late than where I’m planned. Finally, sometimes I’ll back up to the scene before and keep writing that scene, because maybe that one hadn’t ended correctly and that’s what’s causing the problem.

(2)    Taking a bath or a shower, preferably with music appropriate to the book playing. So seldom in life do we give our brains a chance to just mull over things. I love baths and showers because there’s little to be done but *think.* I find them to be perfect places to consider why I’m stuck on a story and where it should go next.

(3)    Read something good by someone else. Nothing makes your competitive juices flow like that!

Top 3 musicians/bands/groups and why

(1)    The Killers, because their songs have been the soundtrack of so much of my life, and they’re so fantastic in concert.

(2)    Snow Patrol, whose music always ups my writing. One of my “overcome writers block” tips should have been: Put on some Snow Patrol.

(3)    Shakira, but in Spanish. Because.

Top 3 favorite movies of all time and why

(1)    Gone with the Wind. When I was younger, I loved this movie for the pretty dresses. Then I loved it for Rhett Butler. And now, as I’ve gotten older, I realize that I love it for its complexity. There is so much problematic about Gone with the Wind, so much it says about us and our society, and that’s part of what makes me want to dig into it. And it’s got some of the best characters ever put on screen (or on paper, incidentally).

(2)    1776. Have you seen 1776? If you haven’t seen 1776, you have to go right now to find it and watch it. It’s hilarious and adorable and clever, and its songs are ridiculously clever. It’s about a historical time period I have a huge weakness for. And, friends have recently pointed out to me, it’s basically a movie about how awesome Massachusetts is.

(3)    Back to the Future. This movie is just so sweet and charming, and it has such a great soundtrack. If you haven’t watched it in a while, you should re-watch it. It holds up so well.

Top 3 favorite animated movies and why

(1)    Toy Story. Because it’s hilarious and clever and touching and true.

(2)    Beauty and the Beast. Because Lumiere and Cogsworth are awesome, and the movie’s songs are all just ridiculously brilliant. I defy you to resist singing along.

(3)    Lady and the Tramp. Because it’s about dogs, and it’s crowded with pet names (“Darling,” “Jim Dear,” “Pigeons”). I have a weakness for pet names among OTPs.

Top 3 favorite movie moments and why

(1)    Scarlett O’Hara proclaiming that tomorrow is another day at the end of “Gone with the Wind.” Pretty much the best ending in cinematic history.

(2)    Jimmy Fallon kissing Drew Barrymore on the field at the end of “Fever Pitch.” Because, as a Red Sox fan, you really never get over the emotion of that entire moment.

(3)    That first lingering shot of Benedict Cumberbatch in “Star Trek into Darkness.” For shallow reasons.

Top 3 favorite actors/actresses and why

(1)    Benedict Cumberbatch. Because he is adorable.

(2)    Andrew Garfield. Because he is also adorable.

(3)    Martin Freeman. Because he is *also* adorable.

Top 3 favorite gadgets and why

(1)    Dishwasher. Because my least favorite household task is washing dishes.

(2)    Washing machine. Once my washing machine broke in the middle of a cycle and I tried to finish up the clothes myself and it was basically like being a pioneer person and this is why I love washing machines.

(3)    Laptops. I know that tablets and smartphones are also pretty great, but my laptop lets me write, easily, quickly, anywhere, without dealing with touch typing or tiny screens, and the invention of the laptop basically improved my writing life seven thousand times.

Top 3 favorite dream destinations and why

(1)    The South of France. I’ve already been there, and I just fell totally in love with it. It’s gorgeous in every way and I would love to just kick back on a balcony somewhere there and write to my heart’s content.

(2)    A tea plantation somewhere. Because I love tea and I’d love to see it get made.

(3)    England. Because it is England.



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.


Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Tumbler | Goodreads


  1. Megan

    Great interview! This book sounds interesting and kind of reminds me of Tithe by Holly Black.

  2. CJ Listro

    What a lovely interview! Let’s be best friends. :P Seriously, though, I’m very excited for your book. I love a good faerie tale. I also feel convinced to go watch this “1776”. Cheers!

    Sarcasm & Lemons

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