Somewhere In Between, a Young Adult/New Adult crossover novella about two friends who find a portal to another dimension. They use the this “in-between place” to avoid the stress of their everyday lives in high school, then later when they reconnect after graduating from college. What they don’t realize is that every time they enter, they alter reality.
I wanted to write about some of the issues that my generation is facing. Making decisions about the future is daunting, and often starting and building our lives is further complicated by student loan debt, limited job opportunities, and economic disparities like the rising cost of living and gentrification. I wanted to write about these issues and talk about coping mechanisms—like escape through drugs, denial about bad relationships, or even binge-watching Netflix. I’m also a huge anime fan, so I wanted to set these themes in a surreal, out-of-this-world setting.
I originally got the idea for a shifting-world back in 2010, but I let the idea sit on the back burner while I pursued other projects. It wasn’t until I noticed a gate by my local train station that had been left slightly ajar that I thought, maybe I could put that strange world behind a simple, average place.
Trying to pin down the characters was tricky until I heard the voice of a narrator describe them walking and talking together after school, and noticing the gate. It was enough to finally have a starting point to launch into the plot and see where the characters wanted to go, and what they were trying to say. It was smooth sailing after that, and even inspired a spin-off project—the e-zine, The Beautiful Worst.
The manuscript to my previous book was a whopping 120,000 words, so I decided to keep Somewhere In Between short. It went through a very methodic round of revisions and beta reading, with developmental and copy edits by Tanya Gold and book design by Colleen Cole. I share my process on my blog and social media. Feel free to follow along to see my process on the next book!
Katie Li writes fiction and narrative non-fiction about personal transformation and unlikely possibilities. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Bitch Flicks, and Xenith. She is a co-organizer of Social Artists and Writers, assistant editor of Novella-T, and curator of the e-zine The Beautiful Worst. Somewhere In Between is her first book.