The Waterfall Traveler
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.
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.
How has digital art aided you in writing?
Like many new writers, I still have a day job. I'm currently the Manager of Digital Creative Direction for a large company, which requires me to have a strong understanding of our communication goals, creatively solve problems, and listen to feedback in regards to improving the experience or visuals of an app, website, electronic signage, etc.
Having these skills has greatly aided me in writing. For example, when I have writer's block, I often do the same exercises as I would when I encounter a design problem. I may brainstorm and jot down all ideas without immediately judging whether they are "good" or "bad." I may post some rough ideas online to gain feedback from others. Or I may just simply go for a walk so my mind has a chance to wander—usually that's when my best ideas come to me.
I also try to follow a process now (just as I would a design project), after years of letting the characters lead the way. I never outlined when I first started writing (and this works great for some) but I found that I ran into plot holes and inconsistencies. Now I outline! It keeps my story and me on track.
I also approached writing as a "team effort" much like I would a digital project. I joined a writing group, and it was the best decision I ever made. I received such valuable feedback from my critique partners—everything from character and plot development, improving dialogue, and increasing tension. And above all, they gave me the encouragement to finish. I honestly don't think I would have completed The Waterfall Traveler without their help.
What do you hope writers will take away from The Waterfall Traveler?
I wrote the type of story that I adore to read (fast-paced adventures with strong main characters who take action). I hope that readers with similar tastes will enjoy The Waterfall Traveler as much as I enjoyed writing it.
How have you overcome roadblocks in publishing?
I think the important thing is to keep moving forward when you encounter a challenge, and also be open minded to other solutions if something isn't working. Today there are many new opportunities for writers that didn't exist fifteen years ago. We have an opportunity to connect with other authors and readers via social media, self-publishing is no longer seen as a poor publishing option, and there are more tools available to us to make our writing projects run more smoothly. I think having that sort of mindset has really aided me in this writing journey.
Thank you so much for featuring me on your wonderful blog!
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