Title: The Waterfall Traveler
Author: SJ Lem
Genre: Young adult Fantasy
Release Date: April 19, 2017
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.
What is the biggest interest that brought you to this genre?
I’ve always enjoyed YA and Fantasy novels that feature fast-paced, adventurous plots. So naturally, when the story idea came to me, that’s the shape it took. I initially started writing The Waterfall Traveler for fun, but after joining a writing group I began to take it more seriously. The authors in that group had the biggest impact on my writing career since they encouraged me to finish the novel even when I experienced moments of self-doubt and uncertainty. Of course, as a full-time working mom, it was a challenge to find the time to write, but I loved storytelling so much that I wrote during my train commute to work each day. The finished book is the result of a team effort, and I’m tremendously grateful for all the help I’ve received.
When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process?
Daydreaming about the story, closely followed by writing dialogue.
When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
Though I do love YA and Fantasy, my tastes are pretty varied and I’ll read most genres if the book blurb draws me in. Recently, I’ve been revisiting my childhood favorites with my son, such as The Velveteen Rabbit, The Serendipity Book series, Charlotte's Web, and Where the Wild Things Are.
If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
I’m not sure if I can answer! There are far too many authors I respect and admire to narrow it down to one. However, now that I am a mother, I think it would be wonderful to write a children’s book. I’d be honored to work with any of the authors of the above-mentioned books.
Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you later in life?
I always wanted to write, but I didn’t start writing until my thirties due to demanding school, work, and family commitments. I’m so glad that I’m able to write now, and am excited to share my debut novel with the world.
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.