Winter in the Soul by Jennifer Novotney
In a world divided by power and greed, seventeen-year-old Lilika harbors an intense desire to return to Winter in the Soul, the place her family left to escape the darkness that was manifesting from a coldness of the soul.
When she meets Talon, their connection is evident right from the start, and together they travel through the Black Kingdom to recover Lilika’s stolen locket. And in search of an answer to the mystery behind Winter in the Soul.
Lilika holds the key to stopping the darkness from spreading. The fate of their world lies in her hands. Will she stop the Black Kingdom before its darkness overtakes them all, or will they succumb to the darkness that is spreading across the land?
Jennifer Novotney was born in Burbank, California and lived in Los Angeles for most of her life until settling in North Eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter. She attended California State University, earning a bachelors degree in journalism, and Northern Arizona University, earning a masters degree in English. After college, she spent several years writing and teaching, including at Pennsylvania State University.
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Interview with the Author
Answer: I think fiction is one of those genres where writers don’t necessarily need classical preparation in order to succeed. That said, I do have a Master’s Degree in English, which definitely helped. The other preparation really included a lot of hard work and practice. Fiction writing takes a willingness to work at your craft and improve your storytelling.
Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help from people or circumstances?
Answer: In my non-writing life, I’m an English teacher, wife, and mother. Teaching gives me so much inspiration for my writing because I am with young adults all day long. I get to experience the world through their eyes and discover what makes them tick. Life does sometimes get in the way of my writing due to time. Sometimes, there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, but I’m very tenacious and usually manage to hit my writing goals regardless of what life throws at me.
Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction besides writing?
Answer: I’m very active and love exercising. I go swimming with my daughter several times each week and walking with a friend through my development. It’s fun to be social and get exercise at the same time. I read all kinds of books, both fiction and non-fiction. I enjoy spending quality time with my husband and daughter. I also like to cook and bake. There’s usually a fresh batch of banana bread in our house.
Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — do you use beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: Working with Anaiah Press on my book has been amazing. I went through several levels of editing before the final product was ready for readers. I worked with editors from Anaiah on developmental, content, and line edits before the final read through and I think it shows in the quality of my book, Winter in the Soul. Anaiah also designed the fantastic cover and layout.
Question: Have you done anything writing-related, but besides actually writing your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
Answer: I’ve always been good at writing in school. I think that’s why I became an English teacher in the first place. My bachelor’s degree is in Journalism, and I excelled in that style of writing as well, but just didn’t see myself in that career. Academic writing has always been a strong suit of mine and I was constantly encouraged by my teachers and professors to become a teacher myself.
Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
Answer: I think the main message of my writing is to inspire readers. I love reading books with an encouraging or inspirational message and I wanted to create fiction that had the same effect on readers. In my own life, I’ve had to motivate myself on many occasions that the path I was taking was the right one or that I would succeed with hard work. I’m largely inspired from within and my writing organically translates that message of inspiration to my readers.
Question: Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why.
Answer: I got the chance to meet a New York Times number one best selling author. She gave me some great advice. She said that she’s always promoting a book, editing another book, and writing a third book at any one time. That put things into perspective for me of how much work and time becoming a successful writer really takes. I could tell that she really loved it too. She loves her fans, her books, and the whole process. That made a big impression on me because I saw first hand how she made it work.
Question: Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry.
Answer: Getting a book published is no easy feat. They romanticize it in the movies for sure. I’d read so many stories of authors being discovered and having their work gain so much success, but it is definitely not an easy road. When Anaiah Press offered me a contract for Winter in the Soul, it was literally a dream come true. I’d wanted to be a published novelist for as long as I can remember and to have that dream realized was like no other feeling in the world.
Question: How many books do you have out? Are you planning a specific number altogether, either in this series or separately?
Answer: Winter in the Soul is my debut novel. It’s a young adult fantasy and we are planning for it to be a series. I’m working on the sequel, but I don’t have a set number of books I plan to write for this series. I think the possibilities are endless with the characters and their world. I also have other projects in the works and plan on writing for a very long time, so I don’t necessarily have a set number of books I’d like to write. I’ll keep writing as long as the ideas come to me.
Question: What are your future projects?
Answer: I’m working on a few projects now in several different stages. I have a young adult novel that I’ve just completed. I also have an idea for an inspirational nonfiction book I’m going to start next month. I constantly have new ideas and am working on several different writing projects at any one time. Winter in the Soul will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my first novel and the work that connected me with Anaiah Press.
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