Weather Forecast


'Elsewhere' author wraps up series

Author and Red Wing resident Jacqueline West has wrapped up her popular series of novels, “The Books of Elsewhere.” She will visit the Anderson Center as part of the Summer Celebration of the Arts 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 12.1 / 2
Volume 5 of the Books of Elsewhere, “Still Life,” is the final in Jacqueline West’s series. The book is for sale now and was released last month. 2 / 2

For author Jacqueline West, ending her popular “Books of Elsewhere” series meant saying goodbye to friends.

“I already miss them,” the Red Wing resident said of the characters in her middle-grade series. The fifth and final volume, “Still Life,” was released last month.

West is touring to promote the book — including a stop at the Anderson Center on July 12 — so she hasn’t left the characters behind quite yet, but said it will be tough once that’s all done.

But lovers of West’s writing shouldn’t worry. She’s already got a contract for a standalone young adult novel that will be out in a year or so, she said, and she’s also working on a middle-grade fantasy that could turn into a trilogy.

“I’m really enjoying getting to know these characters,” she said.

Finishing the popular “Books of Elsewhere” series was difficult, but West said she has known this was the plan since the second book.

“I’ve known for a long time, which has been really helpful,” she said.

Still, it was a challenge to provide an ending that was satisfying for her characters and readers. But so far the reception has been good, she added.

“It’s so tricky to wrap up five books’ worth of plot,” West said.

She said she doesn’t usually outline her writing. “Often I don’t know what’s going to happen beyond the scene I’m working on,” she said. She noted the first book wasn’t necessarily meant to be the start of a series, though she thinks she might have subconsciously planned that.

“I left the characters in terrible situations with no resolution,” she said.

But West said she did have an end in mind for her Books of Elsewhere series that is played out in “Still Life.”

“I had a vision of how it would conclude,” she said.

West, who also has written poetry and short fiction for adults and children, said her inspiration stems from a variety of sources, from what she sees around her to dreams to artwork.

“It’s kind of like you’re a giant lint roller,” she said, picking things up everywhere and anywhere.

The “Books of Elsewhere” did have an initial area inspiration — and old home in West’s hometown of River Falls.

That piece waited in her mind while she gathered other bits and parts of the story and characters for years, she said.

“It feels like a giant jigsaw puzzle,” West said of putting together the novels.

When West was searching for a publisher for her first “Books of Elsewhere” volume, “The Shadows,” she said she never dreamed it would actually get picked up or that the books would become so popular with readers around the globe.

A former teacher, West said she enjoys the opportunity the books have provided for her to talk with school groups and interact with fans worldwide and of all ages.

“It’s all been a wonderful surprise,” she said. “These books have changed my entire life.”

The Books of Elsewhere

Author Jacqueline West will visit the Anderson Center as part of the Summer Celebration of the Arts 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 12. She will be signing and selling all volumes of the Books of Elsewhere.

The series includes:

• Volume 1: “The Shadows”

• Volume 2: “Spellbound”

• Volume 3: “The Second Spy”

• Volume 4: “The Strangers”

• Volume 5: “Still Life”

More information on West and her books is available at

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

(651) 459-4629