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Author Q&A: Shari Goldhagen on In Some Other World, Maybe

Monday, January 19, 2015

Last week I reviewed the darkly witty In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen (go on, take a look). After finishing the book, Shari very kindly answered some questions for me, so without further ado...

What inspired you to write In Some Other World, Maybe?

I’ve always been really interested in shared cultural experiences. There are the big ones, like where you were on 9/11, and then the smaller ones, like who you were with the first time you saw Star Wars.

And I had these different characters—in different parts of the country--kind of rattling around in my brain, and I was curious to see what experiences they shared and how they could be connected.

Which of the characters do you relate to the most?

Honestly there’s likely a lot of me in all of these people. On the surface, I have the most in common with Sharon—she’s from my hometown, she works at the kind of magazines where I’ve worked, and of course she’s a fangirl—but our minds are pretty different.

My worldview is probably most inline with Adam; I suspect that he would laugh at my jokes.

Did you put some of your own experience into Sharon's writing journey? Publishing a book is one of the few permanent ways to leave your mark on the world in this age of the disposable - how does it feel to know you'll always have a part of you somewhere out there?

It is weird to finally have the finished product after all the drafts and edits. I actually can’t read my finished books, because if I find a typo or some phrase that bothers me, I can’t do anything about it anymore. I read the galley instead. That way, if something makes me cringe, I try to convince myself it was fixed by the final version.

My publishing experience wasn't all that similar to Sharon’s (shout-out to my agent Alex Glass). But Sharon does have this sort of crazy, irrational anger at her boyfriend for killing it in his field while she’s struggling in her own, and I’ve definitely felt that. It’s awful to have that undercurrent of jealousy, even as you’re trying to be supportive.

What was your 'Eons and Empires' whilst growing up?

When I was a little kid, Superfriends on Saturday morning was the highlight of my week. And the first short stories I ever wrote were adventures of Batman and Batgirl that I dictated to my mom—apparently I was a very early adopter of fanfic.

But not a whole lot has changed, I unabashedly own a whole bookcase worth of comic books and all four seasons of Batman The Animated Series.

What music - if any - did you listen to and did you change it up depending on the year the characters were in at the time?

Great question! When I was writing the early sections, which take place in the mid 90s, I MAY have broken out some Pearl Jam and Nirvana CDs.

The chapters where Phoebe and Adam are living in their crappy LA apartment were very Ryan Adams, Codplay, and Sarah Harmer for me.

I played tons of Tom Petty for Oliver's parts. And, when writing Sharon's middle sections, I listened to a lot of Tori Amos--there's an iciness to some of those songs that seemed fitting for where she was at that point.

Quite a chunk of the story is centred in Hollywood. Which actors/actresses did you picture as the four main characters?

Hmm this is tricky, because the characters are teenagers when the book starts and in their thirties by the end. 

In my head, a grown-up Phoebe looks like Gemma Arterton or a young Jennifer Connelly or Rachel Weisz. Sharon’s a little trickier; she’s cute but not necessarily the first person you’d notice in a crowded room. Maybe Ellen Page or Thora Birch?

For Adam, I’d love to see Ryan Gosling, because, well, Ryan Gosling! But I’ve actually become a fan of Fox’s Gotham, (which is kind of like the TV show in the book) and I think that Ben McKenzie could be interesting in the role. And Eddie Redmayne would be a great Oliver.

Thanks for taking an interest!

In Some Other World, Maybe is out now - check it out!

Find it: Goodreads
Talk to Shari: Website|Twitter

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Shari Goldhagen. All opinions expressed are my own. 

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