by S.J. Lem
Publication date: April 19th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
All eighteen-year-old Ri wants is to cure her adoptive father Samuel from his hallucination-inducing illness. Everyone in her village tells her it’s impossible. But when she meets two newcomers in the forest—a gruff rogue with a vendetta against the gods and a charming fugitive who saves her life—she’ll be torn away from Samuel and swept across the sea to an oppressive city governed by a ruthless tyrant. Once there, she’ll not only have to confront Samuel’s unlawful past, but a vicious evil that threatens all mankind.
In this tale of bravery, friendship, and unforeseen love, Ri risks it all to save those she cares for. But if she prevails, she’ll find the one thing she yearns for most—a cure for Samuel.
~AUTHOR INTERVIEW with S.J. Lem~
What gave you the inspiration to the storyline?
I had always wanted to write a book (and dabbled a bit in my childhood years). Unfortunately, school, work, and family commitments made it difficult to squeeze in the time to write. It wasn't until I reached my thirties that I finally achieved a work/life balance where I could explore writing once again. The idea for The Waterfall Traveler came to me during my train commute to work one morning. It was a very rough concept, but after outlining and gaining an understanding of my characters' needs and motives, it took shape into an action-packed YA novel.
Are there any hidden themes in the book that you hope readers will discover?
When I wrote the book, the primary themes were finding courage to deal with conflict, and discovery of new places, inner meaning, and strength. Some readers have interpreted other themes as well, which I find fascinating.
Are any of the characters based on real people you know?
No, my characters are the creation of my own imagination.
Who has influenced you most as a writer?
Other authors in my critique group have influenced me the most. Not only have they provided me with such valuable feedback during the process of writing my novel, but they also gave me the encouragement to continue when I experienced moments of self-doubt. I'm tremendously grateful that I had the opportunity to work with such talented and supportive people on this journey.
If you could have any three literary characters over to your place for game night, who would you invite, what would you play, what would you serve, and why?
What a fun and original question! It's hard to narrow it down to three characters, but my first choice would be Muffin Dragon (from Stephen Cosgrove's children's book of the same title) because I think it would be neat to meet a dragon (most other dragons in literature would either eat me or totally wreck my house, but I think Muffin Dragon would be somewhat behaved). My second choice would be Tyrion Lannister because he's awesome, and my third choice would be Deadpool because he's hilarious. We would play Codenames, and I would serve muffins (to appease Muffin Dragon) and milkshakes from Potbelly's (because I’m addicted to them).
Thank you so much for your wonderful interview and featuring me on your blog.
S.J. Lem is a digital art director gone writer in hopes of expanding her creative aspirations. Whether it’s introducing dimensional characters, crafting imaginative worlds, or transporting readers into high-stakes adventures, she strives to deliver an immersive experience.
She lives in Chicago with her husband and son. When not writing, she enjoys pottery, gardening, and volunteering. Connecting with readers and fellow writers is one of her greatest joys.
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