Friday, February 28, 2014

Behind The Pages #2 - Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

This is my second Behind The Pages post! You can find the first post of this feature with The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver here.

What is Behind The Pages all about? I asked some of my favourite authors and a bunch of promising 2014 debut authors to annotate a scene, page or more of one of their books. I see the feature as a chance to show readers what's behind a page. Authors can share their favourite writing memories, the music that influenced a certain scene or anything else that comes to their mind. We might get hints to what the characters were thinking and feeling that exact moment or other fun details about their story.

Hope you enjoy Behind The Pages as much as I do. I'm intending this feature to be a monthly post here on the blog. Today I'm happy to have Trish Doller sharing a page of her second novel, WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE. Plus she wrote an awesome guest post about girl friendships in her story. Thanks to all the fabulous authors who took the time to annotate a page or scene for us, your comments are always so insightful and fun to read. When readers can't get enough of a book and its characters it only shows how much the author's work means to them, to us. Thank you! 


Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility. 

About Trish Doller: I've been a writer as long as I've been able to write, but I didn't make a conscious decision to "be" a writer until fairly recently. For that you should probably be thankful.
I was born in Germany, grew up in Ohio, went to college at Ohio State University, got married to someone really excellent, bounced from Maine to Michigan and back to Ohio for awhile. Now I live in Florida with my two mostly grown kids, two dogs, and a pirate. For real.
I've worked as a morning radio personality, a newspaper reporter, and spent all my summers in college working at an amusement park. There I gained valuable life skills, including counting money really fast, directing traffic, jumping off a moving train, and making cheese-on-a-stick. Also, I can still welcome you to Frontier Town. Ask me sometime.​
These days I work as a bookseller at a Very Big Bookstore. And, you know, write.

Book Summary from Goodreads, Find Trish's author bio and her picture here.  


Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller


Trish Doller's Guest Post on Girl Friendships in WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE

When I started writing the book that would become Where the Stars Still Shine I knew there were going to be a lot of issues to unpack. Callie, the main character, is the victim of parental abduction, neglect, and sexual abuse—big issues in their own right. I also knew issues would arise over being reunited with a parent she doesn’t remember and tension within her new blended family. But when I sat down to write, I didn’t know that girl friendships would play an important role in the book.

Kat—we learn in the scene that begins on the page I’ve shared—is Callie’s second cousin and they played together when they were little girls. Except when I began the scene that would introduce Kat, I had no idea that she was Callie’s cousin. I imagined her as a Greek-American girl who worked at one of the local shops who would take Callie under her wing, but when I realized they could be related it just felt...right.

Once Kat started taking shape in my mind, I knew I wanted her to be different than Callie. There is an unabashedly “girly” side to Kat—she likes clothes, jewelry, and makeup—but she owns it. And that was something I felt was incredibly important. Girls can like makeup and be kind to little old ladies. They can enjoy shopping for shoes and be fiercely loyal to their friends. They can whip on eyeliner like a pro and like to laugh. None of these things are mutually exclusive and girls can enjoy whatever they want. Kat’s “girlyness” doesn’t make her a throwaway character any more than an actual teenage girl’s “girlyness” makes her a throwaway girl.

When I understood that Kat was comfortable with herself, I realized she made the best kind of friend for Callie. Kat is optimistic. She’s buoyant, even when Callie is awful. But friendship is not innate and Callie’s mom robbed her of the skills the rest of us learn when we’re young. Callie has never had a friend so she doesn’t know how to be a friend, but Kat is strong enough to handle it. She teaches Callie what a real friend looks like. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any best friendship that haven’t included fights, hurt feelings, or misunderstandings—even for girls who carry less emotional baggage than Callie. And if Callie’s and Kat’s road to friendship had been smooth, how boring and unrealistic would that have been?

I sometimes joke that if Kat is the friend who would bail Callie out of jail, Ariel is the friend who’d be in jail with her. The similarity between them is that I had no idea Ariel existed, either. 

When I first wrote the bookshop, the person who worked there was Ariel’s male counterpart. But I realized that Callie had spent so much time—and not much of it good—in the company of men. I toyed with the idea that she need a male friend who was not a romantic interest, but she kind of had Nick and Connor, so in the end I decided I wanted Callie to have another girl friend. 

With Ariel, I kind of wanted to poke at how we judge people by...well, everything under the sun. Callie sees tattoos and plugs and black-rimmed glasses and thinks pretentious hipster (which: see above about how girls can like anything they want) but later learns that Ariel is a is a drop-everything-and-get-the-keys type of friend. No question asked. She was only meant to be the girl who worked at the bookshop, but she turned into something so much more than that.

I think, to me, what sums up the girl friendships in Where the Stars Still Shine is the scene in which Kat presents Callie with a string of fairy lights.

Thanks. For—everything,” I say. “And I’m sorry about what I said earlier.”

Ooh! That reminds me.” Kat ignores my apology and rummages through the pile of bags for the small one she said was a surprise. Inside is a box of tiny white star-shaped Christmas lights. “Every girl needs a string of these for her room,” she says. “Not only are they beautiful, but when you have fairy lights, you’re never completely in the dark.”

The lump in my throat won’t let me speak, but she doesn’t wait for a reply. Instead she hands me one end of the string. “Let’s hang them now.”

We loop them around the curtain rod on the window beside my bed. It takes only a minute and when we finish, Kat plugs her end into the outlet. With daylight still streaming in through the window, the stars are pale yellow and weak.

Well, okay, they don’t seem very special at the moment,” she says. “But later? They’ll be spectacular.”


Click on the picture to see Trish's Pinterest inspiration board for WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE.


  1. I like the sound of the friendships being portrayed in this one. Thanks for sharing, Trish and Sarah!

  2. I love this!! So much YES to the fact that girls can be many things, and that being a certain way doesn't define you and doesn't make you lesser. This is such an important fact that I think a lot of books and shows sadly ignore.

    Also, I completely adore this book, and highly recommend it!