L.D. Lapinski’s debut novel, The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, thrilled children and adults alike with its phenomenal world-building and dazzling tale.
Now Lapinski is back with the second book in the series and we cannot wait to join Flick and Jonathan on their next adventure.
Can you tell us a bit about your new book The Strangeworlds Travel Agency: The Edge of the Ocean
The Edge of the Ocean is the second book in the Strangeworlds trilogy, so there are more magical suitcases, more mysteries and more adventures! Flick and Jonathan (and new character Avery, Jonathan’s sort-of-cousin) receive a summons from Pirate Queen Nyfe, and head off to the world of The Break, which is falling apart so quickly there seems to be no hope of saving it. Flick and her friends need to find a way to help the pirates and the mer-people of The Break escape into a new world, but it isn’t as simple as it first seems… How do you sail a ship through a suitcase?
The worlds you create feel both familiar and fantastical at the same time. How do you go about creating a new setting?
I have to juggle a lot of different worlds – in the first Strangeworlds book, there were ten! – and I always want them to feel distinct and memorable, and not to have one world that seems more important than any others. To do this, I made sure each world was written so that Flick and her friends (and by extension the reader) would have a specific emotional reaction. And that would be different to any other world in the same story. So there was a world deliberately written to be scary, another to be funny, one to feel nostalgic and so on – that way, even if younger readers miss the name of the world, they know which one it is later because of how they and the characters felt there.
What was an early experience where you learned that language has power?
Language has always meant escapism, for me. Stories were – and are – places I went to to be comforted, to travel, to get away from real life. Whether that was reading them or writing them, I have always loved disappearing into other worlds.
Which of your minor characters do you think deserve a novel of their own?
I love all of my minor characters way too much! I’d love to write a book about Daniel Mercator, Jonathan’s dad; or Elara Mercator, their ancestor. Or Tristyan Thatcher, the apothecary from another world. I get way too invested in all the backstories I don’t have room to tell.
Which novel (other than your own) do you think would make a great TV adaptation?
I would love to see Akwaeke Emezi’s PET onscreen. I think it could be visually astonishing, and really well-done with the blend of futuristic contemporary and fantasy monsters that it has. PET is one of my favourite books of all time, I would love this to happen so much.
Is there a question you wish authors were asked but rarely are?
What our favourite stories are, rather than just favourite books. Two of my favourite-ever stories aren’t in books at all, they’re in video games! And they’ve both had a big influence on my writing and creativity. Someone still had to write the script for them, they’re still storytelling, just delivered and engaged with in a different way.
You can also buy the first book in the series here.