World building of THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN
One of the pleasures of writing fantasy is that you can be as far out as you like, invent entirely new worlds, fresh rules, odd societies, unfamiliar customs, and so on. The Impostor Queen includes all that stuff, but I chose to connect it to a very real place.
The northernmost point in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the Keweenaw Peninsula. If you know the place, you will find the map of Kupari in The Impostor Queen to be quite familiar. Part of the peninsula is actually referred to by some as Copper Island—or “Kuparisaari”—in Finnish. Copper mining was the primary industry in that area for a time, and immigrants from Finland were a large part of the population.
When I create a world, I feel no real obligation to stick to facts and history (that’s why it’s called “fantasy”), but I like using them as prompts or jumping-off points, and Keweenaw was exactly that for me. I used Finnish language and mythology as inspiration, as well as the general climate and geology of the Upper Peninsula, and then I just made a bunch of stuff up. That’s my (crazy, wonderful, can’t believe I get to do this as a real) job as an author. But the actual place provided the rich soil from which so many of my ideas grew, including the notion that the copper in the land might have something important to do with why only the Kupari people possess ice and fire magic, and why pulling it from the ground might impact more than just the environment.
I think grounding a fantasy in the familiar or real can sometimes help us as readers connect to a world while still allowing it to be strange and fresh in our imaginations. It gives us a scaffolding from which to hang all the fantastical ornaments we discover throughout the story. I hope that the wintery world of the Kupari feels that way: new, yet reachable, and a place easy to fall into and difficult to leave behind. Now that The Impostor Queen is out in the wild, we’ll find out if it worked!
ABOUT THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN:Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
ABOUT SARAH FINE:
I’m the author of several books for teens, including Of Metal and Wishes(McElderry/Simon & Schuster) and its sequel, Of Dreams and Rust, the Guards of the Shadowlands YA urban fantasy series (Skyscape/Amazon Children’s Publishing), and The Impostor Queen (
McElderry, January 2016).
I’m also the co-author (with Walter Jury) of two YA sci-fi thrillers published by Putnam/Penguin: Scanand its sequel Burn. My first adult urban fantasy romance series, Servants of Fate, includes Marked,Claimed, and Fated, all published by 47North in 2015, and my second adult UF series — The Reliquary, kicks off in summer 2016. When I’m not writing, I’m psychologizing. Sometimes I do both at the same time. The results are unpredictable.
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