I’m always on the lookout for new books that catch my eye and that’s what I had with Imagining Elsewhere. Today is my stop on the tour for this book hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. I had the chance to interview the author. So keep on reading to find out more about this book and read my interview with Sara Hosey.
Imagining Elsewhere by Sara Hosey
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Paranormal
Publishing 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.
What inspired you to write Imagining Elsewhere?
My primary inspiration was an old Twilight Zone episode, “It’s a Good Life,” about a boy with supernatural powers who rules over a small town. If anyone does or says anything he doesn’t like, he says, “I wish you away to the cornfield” and they die.
When I was a kid, this episode scared the pants off me. They remade it in the 80s—it’s in the Twilight Zone movie too—and I really found both versions harrowing. I think there was a part of me that was fascinated by the idea of ultimate power—but also about what it might be like to be young and not really mature enough to handle that kind of power.
Although it’s not a reboot or even a retelling of that Twilight Zone episode, Imagining Elsewhere does explore that theme and pushes it even further: what would even non-supernatural, regular folks do if they had that kind of power? Or if they have proximity to that kind of power? That’s what happens to Astrid, the protagonist. She herself has had not-awesome history in terms of bullying and dominating other people and when she moves to Elsewhere, she has the opportunity to be close to Candi and to take advantage of being her “bestie.” And that’s part of why I wrote Astrid to be a complicated, imperfect character—I wanted the decision to bully or not to bully to be a true choice for her, something that she really struggled with.
What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
It is so satisfying to work with editors and other publishing professionals who are excited about what you are doing. I love the team at CamCat Books. And the only thing better than working with great editors is when you meet readers who also really get it!
Describe Imagining Elsewhere in five words or less.
Popularity at what price?
What is your favorite quote from Imagining Elsewhere?
“When Candi says jump, you don’t say ‘how high.’ You just jump.”
What do you hope readers take away from your story?
I hope that my readers are able to recognize that despite some of the unfamiliar elements—the weird town and the 1980s and the supernatural stuff—Imagining Elsewhere dramatizes real, everyday relationship issues. Many of us are constantly negotiating our positions in all kinds of groups, adjusting our attitudes ever-so-slightly in response to the people around us. Ever have that one friend who is so great when it’s just the two of you but who really changes in a triad? Ever recognize it when you are that friend?
Being in relationships comes down to making millions of tiny choices, choices that are influenced by the millions of choices the people around you are making. And so the ultimate question of the book is not just, who do you want to be, but, how are you doing to do it?
If you were a character in Imagining Elsewhere, what kind of character would you be?
Sadly, I feel like I might be one of the characters who doesn’t like what Candi is doing, but isn’t sure how to really advocate for herself or for the people she loves. But I’d like to believe I’d rise to the occasion—that I’d be an Astrid!
This week there are quite a few amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers participating in this tour. Click here to follow along with the schedule and see the different posts.
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.
So that’s my spot of the tour for Imagining Elsewhere. I’m very curious about this story! I love that it takes place in 1988. Does this story sound like something you’d read?