When I started writing Winter in the Soul, I was initially inspired by the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I loved the allegorical tale of adventure and motivation. I wanted to be able to inspire readers this way. So, I started to write. I didn't have a clear plan of where my main character, Lilika, would end up, but I knew she would live in a fantastical world void of technology. I knew that she would discover the world around her. I knew she would rise to the challenges she faced. I knew she would be a hero.
It was during this time that I thought about pursuing my doctorate in English. I wanted to focus on creative writing and wrote the first thirty pages of Winter in the Soul as a writing sample for a novel I wanted to continue writing as part of my dissertation. Although this was my initial intent, I didn't stop at those thirty pages. I kept writing. Something was pulling me in to this story and I just couldn't shake the characters or the world out of my mind. I had to write. I couldn't stop.
By the time I got my first acceptance into a PhD program, I had already written most of the novel. I even received a top scholarship, but in the end, decided to put the degree on hold. I also put Winter in the Soul on hold, but only temporarily. I changed jobs and was busy adjusting to my new position, but something was still calling me to my manuscript. I wanted to see it in print. I wanted to continue to pursue my goal of getting it published.
In the process of writing the first draft of Winter in the Soul, I set it aside several times. Each time I picked it back up to write, I fell into the magical and inviting world and experienced something new about it.
Funny enough, this novel was not my first attempt at writing a full length story. I had written about two others that will never see the light of day. I think it is certainly a specific skill to write a longer piece, one that takes practice and perseverance. With the others, the story sort of ran out at a certain point and as much as I tried to stretch it and make it work as a longer piece, it just didn't. With Winter in the Soul, however, it was just the opposite. When I realized the magnitude of this story as opposed to the others, I knew I had something special.
I've always known that I'm a big thinker. Someone once described me as a visionary. I see the big picture of things. I was inspired, in a sense, by everything I've experienced. I thought of a world in which I'd want to live. My main character is one I'd want to be. To me, those are the best stories. To be able to escape in a book and live through the eyes of the main character is what got me interested in reading in the first place. In one way or another, every book I've read has inspired me to write Winter in the Soul because they have formed my love of reading and writing.
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?
Release Date: July 15, 2014
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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