>Interview with Skyler White and Giveaway!!

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*This Contest is Now Closed*

Skyler White crafts challenging fiction for a changing world. Populated with angels and rock stars, scientists, demons and revolutionaries, her dark stories explore the secret places where myth and modernity collide.

She is the nationally bestselling author of dark fantasy novels and Falling, Fly (Berkley, March 2010) and In Dreams Begin (Berkley, November 2010).

The child of two college professors, Skyler grew up in an environment of scholarship and academic rigor, so naturally left high school to pursue a career in ballet. She’s been dancing around research and thinking through muscle cramps ever since. She has a master’s degree in theater and work experience in advertising; she’s won awards as a stage director and appeared on reality TV. She is a mother and an instigator, a wife and a realist, a liberal living in Texas and an atheist who believes in mythology. She is a sucker for paradox, and it’s a fortunate thing, too!

Hi Skyler, welcome to Paperback Dolls!

Thank you! It’s great to be here.

Like and Falling, Fly, In Dreams Begin elicits so many questions eagerly waiting to be asked, but in the interest of our readers, could you tell us more about it in your own words?

Happy to. “In Dreams Begin” is a dark romance/horror in which the consciousness of a modern woman wakes up in the body of Irish Victorian freedom fighter Maud Gonne. In Maud’s body, Laura meets and falls in love with the poet W. B. Yeats and must negotiate the body- and mind-shifting that happens between them and her modern life.

You said you wrote In Dreams Begin because “I fell in love with W. B. Yeats, which created some interesting problems for me.” can you elaborate more on it?

The problems Yeats created for me were really a more mental version of what Laura faces. Yeats, (to me anyway) represents this wild, passionate Irish emotionality and idealism that’s deeply at odds with my modern goals of balance and reason. I like my life, but there’s part of me that longs for the Irish poet down on one knee in the middle of a moonlit lake. The danger and the romance appeal to me. I want to take risks. Just not really risky risks. At least not with my life. So I take them with my writing.

In writing In Dreams Begin, were you able to answer your own questions? Do you truly possess your own body? Is it yours to maintain, enhance, neglect or add horns to?

I think so. But I had two big “a-ha” moments, relative to my body, in writing Laura’s body-hopping experience. The first came out of research. I came to realize how modern the Body-As-Improvement-Project idea is. Maud would never have thought of her beauty (and she was famously beautiful) as something she worked at. Exercise for anything other than health wasn’t a concept she would have understood, and certainly cosmetic surgery would have been an alien idea. Women dressed and corseted themselves, used make-up and perfume to be more attractive, but they thought of it as ornamentation, not alteration. Bodies were for feeling through, not looking at. And that has been a change of perspective that, when I have tried to adopt it, has made me happier. To a certain extent, it’s a continuation of some of the ideas in “Falling,” the switch from being wanting to wanting, the difference between being seen and feeling…

The other moment, more personal maybe, came from imagining Laura, the modern woman, looking at her twenty-something body after having inhabited Maud’s forty-something, post-baby body and discovering, to my surprise, that Laura didn’t like the comparison. Rather than seeing young and beautiful she saw the lack of story on her body. It was a cool moment for me, to start looking at my flaws as history, as the story my body has lived rather than the ideal it’s failed to meet.

Can you tell us how this love of W. B. Yeats started? When and why you think it started?

I think it’s who I’m afraid I really am. I’m afraid I’m that emotional, extravagant, argumentative, unfaithful, self-indulgent romantic ready to throw it all away for passion and hopeless dreams. I love him, not because he was brave enough to really be that, but because it never occurred to him to be otherwise. He has innocence, a total lack of self-consciousness that I can’t even attempt from my twenty-first century vantage point. To him, it was perfectly possible that science would prove the existence of the human soul, that experimentation would yield techniques for speaking with dead loved ones, and that ritual acts might determine the course of re-incarnation. His pre-World War optimism, his absolute faith are so attractive (and so problematic) to me. And the clothes! He ran around in a huge Inverness cape. He wore the loose white poet shirts. He wrote the most gorgeous lines.

Both and Falling, Fly and In Dreams Begin take place in Ireland, and we know that you’ve taken many trips there for research. So why Ireland? What calls to you from there?

I come from there. Or least I chose to believe I do. I was adopted at birth and don’t have any genetic information about my background. Ireland *feels* like home, so when I was writing “Falling” and needed Olivia to go back somewhere primal, that’s where she went.

Ida uses mesmerism on Maud for Laura to possess her. Can you tell our readers what mesmerism is and why you chose this method?

Ooh, awesome question! Mesmerism is basically the same as hypnotism, pioneered by a guy named Mesmer. The ritual Ida uses to mesmerize Maud comes from a book that was hugely popular at the time the story is set. The occult – mesmerism, séances, mediums, mind reading, etc. — was the Victorian era’s “reality TV”. It was huge business, very lucrative, with its own stars and circuits, and certainly qualified as “edutainment.” I chose it because it allowed me to free Maud’s mind from her body, which left her open to possession by Laura’s awareness.

It really came out of a very convenient confluence of real history. Maud believed herself to be part faerie, one of the Irish Sidhe, a particular breed of creature with a propensity for stealing souls. This was handy. Secondly, Maud was active in the occult. She attended séances and wrote in her autobiography about spirit visions and ghosts from her childhood on. Finally, Maud and Yeats had what they both referred to as a “spiritual marriage”, or a marriage to one another on the “spirit plane.” Mesmerism, which would have been very accessible to women like Maud and Ida – and Miss Hunt’s book of complete instructions having been published seven years before the first scene in the book – allowed me to tie the stealing of souls with the spiritual plane and whisk Laura’s soul into Maud.

Speaking of Laura, when the readers are able to read In Dreams Begin, they will notice the similarities between not only your character Laura and yourself, but to Maud Gonne as well. How much of Laura is Laura Armstrong or Maud Gonne and how much of her is yourself?

Laura is my given name. Yeats’s first love was named Laura. Maud and I share a birthday (the winter solstice) separated by exactly 100 years. I’m adopted. Maud believed she was part Sidhe, that she had sold her soul to the devil, and that she was possibly a faery changeling. There’s a lot of overlap, and that’s just history. Once you get into fiction, you could argue it’s all me, since I’m the author.

In and Falling, Fly we visit Hell, but your own view of it. Then again in In Dreams Begin. Are we visiting the same place? Does it still hold no real power of its own as the Hell in and Falling, Fly? Why do you suppose you always find your characters returning there?

::Grin:: OK, spoiler alert. “Dreams” is a prequel to “Falling.” Gaehod looks the way he does in “Falling” because he’s wearing MacGregor’s clothes (and body). Hell looks the way it does in “Falling” because that’s how Ida describes it to the devil of possession when she’s vamping for time. (As a side note, all her descriptions are stolen by her from the way Yeats described the Castle of Heroes that he wanted to build on the island in Lough Key, and his vision for that we have because Maud recorded it.)

What do you hope the reader will take away from the experience of reading In Dreams Begin?

Pleasure, primarily. I hope the book is fun – engaging, challenging, erotic, intellectual fun. If I’ve done my job the way I want to, the book should be a good, if not easy, jumping-off point for a great conversation.

What would you ask of your readers?

Talk back. To me, to other readers. Writers spend so much time alone, but really what we make is just the opening salvo. We build these constructs – characters, ideas, stories – as a sandbox, and it’d be very sad if we had to not only create, but also play, alone.

All of us at Paperback Dolls would like to thank you for visiting and hope that you feel welcomed to come back at anytime, but in the meantime, can you tell us where we can find you?

Absolutely! My website has excerpts from both books, a blog, a contact form and links to all the usual social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.): http://www.SkylerWhite.com

Thanks so much for having me, and for the really intelligent, interesting questions. I love having to think about these things!

~*~*~*In Dreams Begin Giveaway*~*~*~

Skyler is offering ONE signed copy of In Dreams Begin to ONE lucky follower! All YOU have to do is answer this question: Do you think you truly possess your own body? Is it yours to maintain, enhance, neglect or add horns to?

This contest is US/CANADA ONLY and we will always give you more ways to win:

+1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your comment.

+1 subscribe to Paperback Dolls – either via a reader or email (see the RSS button at the top of the right sidebar or the entry form to the left sidebar.)

Giveaway ends October 30th and the winner will be chosen by random.org on October 31st. We ask the winners to post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out. Also, we will try to contact the winners, but we ask that you check back to see if you’ve won.

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21 responses to “>Interview with Skyler White and Giveaway!!

  1. >I do think our bodies are our own to cherish or destroy. please enter me.kriscrets @gmail .com+2 I follow and twittered. @kriscrets

  2. >Yes, I think I truly possess my own body. It is mine to maintain, enhance, neglect or add horns to. Believe me, I don't think anyone else would want it, LOL.The more I'm reading about In Dreams Begin, the more excited I am to read it.Barbed1951(at)aol(dot)comGFC follower

  3. >"Do you think you truly possess your own body? Is it yours to maintain, enhance, neglect or add horns to?"Great question! I do believe that the body, while part of me, is not the whole of me and it does have a sense of itself that is separate from my conscious mind. Which, for me, explains the mind/body connection nicely.In a sense, you do own the body as a part of yourself, but do I have the right to mistreat it? Your body would have an opinion about that, just like the horse you ride doesn't want to jump off a cliff at your direction. oddly appropriate word veri: minedless

  4. >Yes, I do. I take the responsibility for my choices, therefore, I can choose what happens to it. No one has the right to tell me what I can or can't do to myself.twoofakind12@yahoo.com

  5. >Great interview.Yes I do think we truly possess our own bodies. You can do with it as you wish,whether be enhancements,tattoos,piercings,exercise to stay fit or to neglect.+1 tweeted http://twitter.com/elaing8/status/27584301387+1 subscribe to Paperback Dolls –via a readerelaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

  6. >"Do you think you truly possess your own body? Is it yours to maintain, enhance, neglect or add horns to?"Absolutely! My body is mine to do want ever I want, will and can do to it. Own it baby!

  7. >I some times think my Body Possess me and the healt of it is taking things from me that I wold like to do in my life so I dream instead of doing.but i have gone far in dreams far there then my body more then likely would have bean able to go to far of plants and star and beyond.+1 I subscribe via e-Mailsasluvbooks(at)yahoo.com

  8. >Do you think you truly possess your own body? Is it yours to maintain, enhance, neglect or add horns to? I believe we truly possess our own body. We can do whatever we want with it. We can neglect it or maintain it and keep it in good shape. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

  9. >I think you have you have to be strong to do it but you can+1 subscriberelizabethcerna2011@gmail.com

  10. >Great interview!Yes, I do think we possess our own bodies. I think we’re free to make the choice to either enhance or neglect them.-Tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/Rachel498/status/27650489601-Email subscriberRes498(AT)aol.com

  11. >Hmmm… I definitely think my body is my own in a sense… I have the freewill to decide what happens to it, what I put into it, how I treat it… but if I let it be used as a vessel someone else has control… in my case the Lord, in the case of others,… who knows?Please enter me in the giveaway…justpeachy36@yahoo.com

  12. >I don’t know about this. I want to say YES, our bodies are our own, but as a 7month pregnant woman I’m not sure I am the best judge. I definitely don’t feel like my body is my own at the moment.:(I have never heard of these books or author, but I am 100% fascinated and would love the opportunity to read them! Thank you for intoducing me to the author and the great contest.gg5andcounting@gmail.com

  13. >Not eligible to enter but i just wanted to say that I enjoyed this interview!!Thanks so much for hosting it!!I love the premise of this book and the whole rational behind it.It is so deeply romantic hwo two people can be married/linked on the spirit plane. <3Adding the books to my TBR pile! XD

  14. >Yes I do, if we don’t own ourselves and take responsibility for ourselves, then what do we really own? thank you for the contest!!inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  15. >As long as you don't have a pimp then I think we all posses our own bodies. I don't even want to consider if someone thinks they own me.+1 tweetedhttp://twitter.com/#!/Mari_1717/status/27862641866+1 follow on Google readerpatronus89013 at yahoo dot com

  16. >Yes I do. I take responsibility for every decision and choice that I have ever made, even the bad ones. I wouldn't have learned if I didn't experience it and what is life if not for the fact that we don't carry some regret somewhere. If you don't regret than you haven't grown as a person. GFC followerjune111@att.net

  17. >I do believe that we possess our own bodies however that does not mean we should neglect it. We should take care of our bodies simply because it is the only one we have and if you neglect the body the body will neglect you.Twitter: http://twitter.com/jmspettoli/status/28054969428Subscriber via GFC.spettolij AT gmail DOT com

  18. >This sounds very different than what I'm used to reading, but i am intriguied nonetheless…yes, our bodies are the vessels for our souls to travel the earth in. that is my belief anyway.EmJaneGee@gmail.com

  19. >Yes I believe that our bodies are ours to keep or neglect as the case may be, and to cherish the feeling of yourself!Please enter me into win! This book looks amazing!oldbookwormcb(at)yahoo(dot)com

  20. >I believe we possess our own bodies and it is ours to maintain.+1 subscribe in google readerthrouthehaze at gmail dot com

  21. >Thanks everyone for entering Skyler White's In Dreams Begin giveaway! The winner is up on our Week in Review, so check back to see if you've won. "Do you think you truly possess your own body? Is it yours to maintain, enhance, neglect or add horns to?"My answer would be yes and no, I think we do along with Skyler. However, how much of it do we really own? Yes we can maintain enhance or add horns to our bodies as we please, but our society dictates what we do or don't do to our bodies. We exercise and diet in some cases to stay healthy, though, most woman do it to maintain societies ideals that women are suppose to be 110 pounds. Or neglect in the same manner of over weight, anorexia and bulimia. We enhance our bodies to maintain what society thinks of 'beautiful' at the time. Like Maud, we use makeup, but now days we might have boob jobs or tummy tucks. As for adding horns to? Would you? I know I'd like a tattoo on my forearm, but society has rules about what's proper. Those times are changing, but they haven't changed yet.So yes we do own our bodies and we can decide what we choose to do to them, but only in the limits that society has set for us.

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