Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all steampunk pirates and fantasy lifestyles—Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it…This Jessa is going to live.
Check out my review for TRAVELER here!
What authors and/or books inspired your writing?
I love love love Cassandra Clare and the way she weaves her storylines (and her amazing, richly detailed characters). So often in her stories, she makes you revisit scenes and look at them from another perspective. I can't get enough of her, J.K. Rowling, or Sarah J. Maas.
What is your ideal writing setting (outside, at a desk, etc.)?
I always kind of laugh at this question. I have no “writer’s nook”, no “writing rituals”- none of that sacred writing space sort of stuff. I’m a single mom with a full time day job and two kids - one of whom is special-needs. I write whenever and wherever I get a chance, with a laptop on my lap, my kitchen table, or a café table, if I’m lucky enough to get away. I can write with the TV and dishwasher on, while one kid is singing and the other is yelling at him to shut up. I think it’s made me a better writer.
How do you deal with writer's block?
The trick with writer's block is to just write. Badly, if you have to, but keep writing. One thing that's been a tremendous help to me is using Google Voice Typing ( In the Tools menu on Google Docs - you need a headset with a microphone). I write a scene by talking it through, and the great thing here is all voice typing programs suck in various ways. They don't put in quotation marks, they randomly capitalize words, they sometimes mis-hear you. So you know that whatever you get down will be flawed. You accept that. And it frees you up so much to just keep going no matter what--no second guessing, no going back and fixing it once each line is down (thereby stopping your train of thought). You plan to go back and fix it all once the scene is finished, and it works. For me it really works.
In TRAVELER, do you have a special connection to any of your characters?
That would be Danny, and to a lesser degree, Jessa. I am an autism parent – my son is on the spectrum – and his relationship with his sister features heavily in some of Danny and Jessa’s scenes. Danny is every inch my son on paper. I wanted very much to show not just a person with autism in a positive way, but also to shine a light on what it’s like to be a sibling of a special needs person. Jessa has had to grow up very differently than some people because of that – and not in a bad way.
What are some of your favorite writing tropes that most people usually hate (I.e. love triangles, etc.)?
I absolutely LOVE a good love triangle! So much great tension and heartache, when it's done right (but soooo annoying when it's not).
TRAVELER is about taking portals into other universes. Are there any ideas for universes that didn't make it into the books? Will we ever get to see them?
I had a whole list of alternate realities--and a few historical realities (in the original draft of the story, Jessa also time traveled). I had a reality where everything was bubbles! People living in bubbles, driving floating bubble cars, dancing on bubble clouds. I had a great reality that Jessa and Finn traveled to, only to discover that he had a boyfriend in that reality. And Jessa was going to visit the Aztecs and nearly get her heart ripped out. I'd love to write ten more books in the series, but I guess we just have to hope it gets picked up by Netflix Originals.
What can we hope to see from you in the future?
I have a few different irons in the fire right now. One is a YA fantasy based on Irish mythology, another is a YA Sci-fi thriller, and the third is a contemporary YA. We'll have to see which one gets to the bookshelf first!
Any advice for aspiring authors?
First, finish your book. You will never be a published author without a finished book. Second, as you're shopping for agents and publishers, remember how subjective the process is. You can have a great book that still gets rejected (See: Harry Potter). Perseverance is a grueling waiting game, so keep writing while you wait for your book to find its home. Most of all, believe that it will.
L.E. DeLano is a novelist rep’d by Barry Goldblatt Literary agency, author of the YA fantasy novel “Traveler” (Swoon Reads/MacMillan) and lifelong writer. Her work has been featured on various online outlets and she lives in Pennsylvania with two very adventurous kids and two very ridiculous cats. In her spare time, she writes (of course) and binge-watches way too much Netflix.