14 July 2014

Author Interview: Jennifer Novotney

Today I'd like to welcome Jennifer Novotney to Iola's Christian Reads. Jennifer is about to release her first novel, Winter in the Soul. Welcome, Jennifer.

First, please you tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? 

I’m originally from Los Angeles, California. Currently, I live in Northeast Pennsylvania with my husband and daughter. We moved here about five years ago.

It’s said that authors should write the kind of book they like to read. What is your favourite genre? Who are your favourite authors? 

My favorite genre is young adult and inspirational books. I have to say that I love the classics. I’m a teacher, so I think that fits pretty well. I love Shakespeare and a lot of the gothic literature like Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. As for contemporary literature, I like Amanda Hocking and Paulo Coehlo.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why/why not? 

The last book I read was The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. I would definitely recommend it. It is a touching book about the holocaust told from the point of view of a child and is wonderfully written.

What kind of books do you write? Where and when are they set? 

I write inspiring books set in both fantastical worlds and in modern day. I mostly write young adult and new adult, although I enjoy creative non-fiction as well.

Tell us about your latest book. Who will enjoy it? 

Here is a little about my latest book, Winter in the Soul, a Young Adult Fantasy:
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?
Readers who enjoy books set in a fantastical world with brave heros and epic battles will enjoy this book. I think both young readers and adults alike will enjoy it.

What was your motivation for writing Winter in the Soul? 

I wanted to write a book to inspire and entertain readers. I love creating worlds very different from modern day and I think I achieved that pretty successfully in Winter in the Soul. There is no technology in their world and the characters live pretty simple lives. My motivation also sprang from reading The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo, which is one of my favorite books. I strove to create an allegory with a similar inspiring message.

Who is your favourite character and why? Do you have anything in common with him/her? 

My favorite character is Lilika, the main character in Winter in the Soul. She’s very tenacious and brave. I’d like to think that I have that in common with her. When she sets her mind on something, she goes for it until she achieves her goal. I’m the same way.

Does your novel have an overt faith element? 

I would say it is more subtle since it is an allegory rich with imagery and symbolism. There are faith based themes like the corruption of greed, the strength of the common man, and the purity of the natural world. I think readers of all belief systems will enjoy and identify with the story.
What are you working on at the moment? What other books do you plan to write? I just completed a young adult story set in modern day. I also have plans to write an inspirational non fiction book in the near future. The sequel to Winter in the Soul is also at the top of my list to write.

What motivated you to start writing? 

I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I actually first started writing poetry when I was a teenager and got published at seventeen years old in a few literary magazines and book anthologies. I always knew I wanted to be a writer and have written all my life.

What’s your favourite part of writing a novel? Your least favourite? 

My favorite part is the invention stage when I begin to develop my characters, setting, and plot. I love that part because I can be as creative as I want to be and really stretch my imagination. My least favorite part involves the editing process. I know some writers love this stage, but I prefer the first draft when the stakes are low and it’s just me and my writing.

What advice do you have for someone seeking to write and publish a novel? 

The best piece of advice I can offer is to never give up. Even if you receive rejections, keep going. There are countless writers who received many rejections, sometimes hundreds, before they found success. Rejection is part of the game. Learn to live with it and keep going anyway.

(I'm not normally a fan of book trailers, but I really liked this one!)

Author Bio:

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.

Website: www.jennifernovotney.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jennovotney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jen.novotney

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20869515-winter-in-the-soul
Anaiah Press: http://www.anaiahpress.com

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