I’m so excited to be a part of the book tour for Imagining Elsewhere that is hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. I was really excited to also be able to interview the author for this book!
Interview Stuck in FictionWelcome Sara! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
Hi! Thanks for having me! I am an author—Imagining Elsewhere is my second YA book. My first one, Iphigenia Murphy, is about a homeless teen who lives in an urban park in the 90s. It’s realistic and a lot heavier that Imagining Elsewhere in a lot of ways, although I’d say that both books grapple with some difficult issues.
I’m a reader, a parent, and a tree-lover. I discovered my love of trees sort of recently. I think that my eyes were always moving upward, or even outward, toward windows, and whenever I’ve drawn or painted (which isn’t often, but still), I find myself trying to capture trees. And so now I’m just totally embracing my interest, and I’m reading a lot about trees and taking lots of pictures of them. And I’ve learned a lot too—for example, looking at nature activates our “involuntary attention” in ways that are good for our physical and emotional health. Trees rock!
How would you describe Imagining Elsewhere in one sentence?
What would happen if the local bully wasn’t just cruel, but also had supernatural powers?
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of Imagining Elsewhere?
Astrid is our protagonist and she’s really pretty far from perfect. In fact, she starts off the novel as someone who has recently gotten in a lot of trouble for bullying a girl at her school. And while Astrid says she feels bad about it, I think it’s clear that what she really feels bad about getting in trouble. That is, she’s still sort of justifying her actions—the old “I’m sorry, but…” move.
So Astrid definitely has some work to do when she embarks on her adventure in the small town of Elsewhere. That’s when she meets an even bigger bully—Candi—and if you thought Astrid was remorseless, watch out. Candi has no qualms about dominating, bullying, or even murdering others.
Meeting Candi forces Astrid to confront who she has been and who she wants to be—it’s truly an opportunity to turn things around, she thinks. Although turning things around, of course, can be easier said than done.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I honestly often have no idea how a book will end. Sometimes I have a goal—a message or a concept that I want to end with—but often that is not where the novel winds up going. Once I start writing and building out the narrative, I find out things about my characters—about how they would act or respond in different situations—that wind up becoming crucial and that can alter the shape of the narrative. So, basically, the characters take over and they’re the ones who determine what will happen next!
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
I decided to use footnotes in Imagining Elsewhere. Basically, I kept having this experience of wanting to explain certain elements or provide background info on aspects of the story as I was writing and instead of continuing to deny that impulse, I decided to embrace it. My favorite footnotes are those when the narrator sort of pipes up to correct something Astrid is saying or thinking. For example, she’s writing a college application essay and she writes that she’s a good person who has always wanted to help others and the narrator jumps into say, “Um, not true.” I thought writing the footnotes was so fun.
What is something readers will find in Imagining Elsewhere that they may not realize based on the synopsis?
The book is simultaneously an attempt to capture a certain kind of John Hughes’ 1980s idea of high school and a description of Candi’s attempts to capture that vibe. What I mean is, Candi is really influenced by 80s pop culture and movies and is convinced that she can recreate the world that she sees is movies in “real life.” So a lot of what happens at Elsewhere High is purely performative. For example, there is a cheerleading squad and a football team, but there are never any games. It’s like a high-stakes game of pretend. So it’s kind of functioning on multiple levels: the book is an homage to the 80s, but also a critique of that media as well.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed Imagining Elsewhere?
I definitely recommend Adriana Mather’s How to Hang a Witch for the creepy small-town with-a-sinister-secret vibe, as well as Melissa Albert’s The Hazelwood and Zoraida Cordova’s Labyrinth Lost, for some witches and folklore and magic.
ABOUT THE BOOK
TITLE: Imagining Elsewhere
AUTHOR: Sara Hosey
GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy Paranormal
RELEASE DATE: June 28, 2022
Being a better person can be a lot harder than it looks.
It’s 1988, and former bully Astrid is forced to move from Queens to the small town of Elsewhere. Although this town is totally weird, Astrid sees the move as a way to reinvent herself. That is, until Candi—the teenage tyrant with supernatural powers who rules Elsewhere—decides she wants Astrid to be her new bestie.
Having to choose between the perks and safety of being the Queen B’s best friend and the desire to be a better person could literally cost Astrid her life. As Astrid and her new friends begin to dig into the dark history of Elsewhere and the source of Candi’s powers, they form a dangerous plan to resist Candi’s compulsion and to escape Elsewhere, or else be doomed to live under Candi’s rule forever.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Queens native Sara Hosey is the author of a novel, Iphigenia Murphy, and a novella, Great Expectations, as well as short fiction appearing in publications including Cordella Magazine and Casino Literary. Sara has also written an academic book about popular culture: Home is Where the Hurt Is: Media Depictions of Wives and Mothers.
Sara has held many jobs—she’s been a nanny, a home health aide, a chaperone for exchange students visiting the United States, a relay operator for the hearing impaired, and a security guard at the US Open in Flushing. She has worked in retail and in restaurants, in theaters and on screen as an extra in an educational film. These days, however, she mainly teaches English at a community college and writes. When she’s not working, she likes to spend time with her family and pets in upstate New York.