Interview with the Author: L.D. Lapinski

By: Cori Reed

Greetings, Travelers! In June, we were so excited to feature L.D. Lapinsky's debut novel, Strangeworlds Travel Agency. This thrilling portal fantasy is packed full of whimsy and fun!

Want a copy for yourself? Extras of our 'WONDROUS WORLDS' box, as well of extras of our exclusive edition of the book are available for purchase in the OwlCrate Shop!

Photo by @lostinbookworld

Hello there! You’ve created something truly magical with your Strangeworlds Travel Agency series. Can you tell us a bit about how this story came to be?

I've always loved stories where characters from our world find portals to fantasy lands, books like Pages and Co., or His Dark Materials, so I think I was probably always going to write that sort of book one day, I was just waiting for the right spark! And the spark came to me one morning when I was washing my hair, and the travel agency, the magical suitcases, and Jonathan Mercator all dropped into my head at once, and I knew I just had to write it. So I sat down and wrote the first ten thousand words of Strangeworlds that morning.

What is it about fantasy and other worlds that has captivated you as an author?

For me, it's always been about the idea of escaping, and yet having a safe return in the bag. I've always read books to get away from real life to some extent, and contemporary fiction has never really been removed enough for me. Even when watching TV or playing video games I prefer a world where I can explore and discover new things rather than see more of everyday life. Whilst I'm not as brave as Flick, I would love to visit other worlds, so long as I could get safely back. That's what I like about the magical suitcases - the portal back to our world is carried about with you, so you can't really ever get lost... or can you?

If you had a suitcase that could take you into any magical world, where would you want to go?

If I had to choose from one of the 743 suitcases in Strangeworlds, I would choose the first world Flick and Jonathan go to together - The Crystal Forest. I wrote it to seem particularly safe and calm, with lots of colourful crystals and a warm sort of comfortable gloom. I feel like that would be somewhere I'd like to go to relax. But if I could choose from any magical world at all, I'd choose Terry Pratchett's Discworld - so long as I could pick whereabouts in the world I ended up!

Strangeworlds Travel Agency is the first in a series and the second has already been published in the UK. Can you give us a hint at what’s to come for Flick and Jonathan?

The adventures have just begun! Without spoiling anything that happens in the first book, Flick and Jonathan barely have time to catch their breath before they receive an urgent summons from the Pirate Queen of the world of The Break, demanding they come quickly and somehow figure out how to relocate several thousand pirates, mer-people and galleons to another world - as theirs is disintegrating at an unstoppable rate. There's a race against the clock as Flick must try to work out how to sail a ship through a suitcase, and work out what exactly is causing this world to fall apart! 

Do you have any middle grade books you’ve read recently or particular favorites that you would recommend to our readers?

I loved Benjamin Dean's Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow, which is a very sweet and adventurous contemporary MG, likewise The Accidental Diary of B.U.G by Jen Carney, and Proud of Me by Sarah Hagger-Holt. And in fantasy MG I've enjoyed Maria Kuzniar's The Ship of Shadows, The Frostheart series by Jamie Littler, and Rumaysa by Radiya Hafiza!

Thank you so much, L.D.!

Want to dive deeper into the adventures of Strangeworlds Travel Agency? Check out our discussion posts!

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Graphic by Michelle Gray.