Sunday, February 12, 2017

0 L.E. DeLano, author of TRAVELER, on her "other self"

We couldn't be happier to have L.E. DeLano stop by and talk about her debut novel TRAVELER with us.

L.E., what was your inspiration for writing TRAVELER? 

I saw “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (the 1973 version) when I was six and living in England. Afterward, I passed by a rather ornate mirror we had hanging in a dimly lit hallway, and I swear to you, I saw the other me blink. It freaked me out pretty badly – I kept covering up the mirror in my bedroom for ages after that. To this day, I still get a wary feeling when I catch my reflection in dim light. That feeling led to me exploring what it would be like to switch with your “other self” and experience other realities.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love? 

I can’t discuss the one that was hardest to write because it’s a major spoiler, but I do love the scene where Jessa attends the ball in the Steampunk reality. She and Finn were just amazing fun to write.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or vice versa? 

Hmmm. I’m going to go old school here and say it’s a cross between A Wrinkle In Time and The Host. I chose the first because of Jessa’s strong ties to her family, and the second because there’s a bit of a love triangle in the book, but it’s nothing like a love triangle you’ve ever seen before. And it’s all the more poignant for it.

How long did you work on TRAVELER? 

I began writing it in 2014, took it to the New York Writer’s Workshop YA fiction pitch, reworked it a few dozen more times, and then in January of 2015, I submitted it to Swoon Reads as part of their YA contest.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself? 

That I can do this. Even when I think I can’t, even when I feel like I’m writing badly, I can tough it through, edit it down, revise and refresh and get it done.

What do you hope readers will take away from TRAVELER? 

The feeling of having been on an adventure, first and foremost, but most of all, the feeling that Jessa will always be Jessa and Finn will always be Finn, and they will always gravitate to each other.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published? 

This is where I confess that I have another pen name – and I’ve been self-publishing romance for a couple of years now, with moderate success. I’m not an Amazon blockbuster, but I have my loyal readers and it’s been good practice. I’ve also published a couple of non-fiction titles in relation to my parenting and autism blog, but YA was a new genre for me. I got great feedback and excitement from the editors that I pitched TRAVELER to at the New York YA fiction pitch, but once I started sending out the manuscript and follow-ups to my queries, I felt like I was standing in a big room with crickets chirping. The only comfort I got from the process was hearing over and over from other authors about being unacknowledged or outright ignored for months – even from editors who gushed over their initial pitch! It was rough, but I refused to be derailed. Once you’ve written a book you believe in, persistence is your only weapon.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it? 

My first real AHA! moment came from finishing that first book. I’d always had half a dozen partly-finished projects lying around. The day I powered through and finished one was the day I realized that discipline was just as valuable as creativity.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc.?

I always laugh a little at this question. The fact is, I’m the mother of a child with autism. He’s hilarious fun and I love him like crazy, but it’s a fact that he talks, sings, shouts, and calls my name a lot. He had a vocabulary of 25 words at one point, and now he can’t stop talking. I mean, ever. It’s a real balancing act giving him the socialization practice he needs without derailing my train of thought. The end result is I can now write anywhere, anytime, no matter what is going on around me. Seriously, I think a death metal band could be playing in my living room while clowns singing show tunes pelted me with cupcakes and I would still hit my word count that day.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers? 

Write. Just do it. The difference between thinking about it and actually getting it done is what will get you published, in the end.

What are you working on now? 

Right now I’m still in edits for DREAMER, the sequel to TRAVELER. After that, I’ve got an epic adventure brewing that involves magic, a couple of sarcastic, bad-ass protagonists, and the ancient gods of Ireland. We’ll see how that one grows!


by L.E. DeLano
Swoon Reads
Released 2/7/2017

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.

Purchase Traveler at Amazon
Purchase Traveler at IndieBound
View Traveler on Goodreads


L.E. DeLano is a blogger and autism advocate under her alternate moniker, Ellie DeLano. She comes equipped with a "useless" Theatre degree that has opened doors for her in numerous ways. Though mostly raised in New Mexico, she now calls Pennsylvania home. When she's not writing, which is almost never, she's binge-watching Netflix and trying her best not to be an unwitting pawn in her cat's quest for world domination. Traveler is her debut novel.


Have you had a chance to read TRAVELER yet? Have you had something eerie, like seeing your "other self" happen? Has it led you to a great book idea? Do you have a bunch of half finished novels? What are you doing to power through them? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

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