Atonement is JL Rothstein’s epic, fantasy-supernatural novel. It is her debut and book 1 in the Heaven Sent series that she is working on. The series focuses on the lives of the O’Mara family, Guardians of souls on Earth, who fight the age old battle between good and evil, where Heaven defends humanity against the demons of Hell.
JL Rothstein lives in the western part of Massachusetts with her husband. Originally from Boston, JL grew up surrounded by a large and loving family. At a very young age her family moved in with her grandmother and the experience taught her and her siblings to respect, love and care for the elder members of the family. The strong sense of family that was ingrained in her idyllic childhood can most definitely be seen in the pages of Atonement in the interactions between the nine brothers and sisters. All nine characters of the O’Mara siblings have been named after her real life nieces and nephews. Being able to pay tribute to her family was something extremely special to JL.
Atonement was written a number of years ago and Rothstein admits that at the time she didn’t know anything about how to go about publishing a book and had to research how to query and pitch to agents. It was at a time in publishing when you had to have an agent to get published, however, as an unpublished author finding an agent was very difficult. After having received about a hundred rejections out of two hundred queries Rothstein says she put her manuscript into the cloud and consoled herself with the adage, ‘Don’t give up the day job.’ It wasn’t until years later after studying creative writing, and then meeting and marrying her husband, asking him to read her manuscript, that Jennifer realised she needed to make some changes to her story. So using the first draft as an outline and with copious amounts of wine, she tells me that she rewrote her story. Again attempts to get represented by an agent fell through, and wanting to get her story out into the world Jennifer decided that Self Publishing was the way forward for her.
Now working on the second book in the series JL has said that she has always loved the fantasy, supernatural genres, especially those that focus on the concepts of good vs evil and the eternal battle between Heaven and Hell. She enjoys the premise that there is so much scope to be creative in a world beyond a veil that humanity cannot see. She feels that growing up Catholic has a part to play with her love of this genre, explaining that to be frightened of concepts such as those in William Blatty’s, The Exorcist, one must have a strong faith and belief in that system.
Another novel that cemented her belief in the Heaven vs Hell concept was Clive Barker’s ‘Mister B. Gone’. This is a chilling story where the demon in the book speaks directly to the reader, blaming them for the demon escaping Hell and wreaking havoc on Earth, if the reader doesn’t stop and burn the book. JL’s own demonic creatures in Atonement very much capture the essence of both Blatty’s and Barker’s creations and what I love about her characters are the supernatural powers that she gives them in order to fight off the demons that are able to get to Earth.
Here Jennifer has kindly given me a snippet of her second book to share with you, that she hopes to publish in the Spring of next year:
“Get Out!” Deb felt herself take a step forward, but it felt like an out of body experience. “Get Out!” She yelled at Peter again.
Peter laughed at Deb’s demands. It was a sinister laugh that invited confrontation.
Panic turned to rage. Deb raised her arm out in front of her and took a deep breath. When she released the energy at Peter she screamed, “I said, Get Out!”
Peter stumbled backward slamming his shoulder against the doorway.
Frankie get to Deb. Michael ordered. Use your power to augment Deb’s, let’s see what she’s able to do.
Deb never turned away from Peter. As her left arm was outstretched in the air, she felt Frankie grasp her right hand.
What now? Kelly asked.
Breathe through the sensation Deb, it’s the only way you’ll learn to control it, let it come. Michael continued to direct Deb telepathically. When you feel it mix with Frankie’s power direct it and then release, just like letting go of a baseball.Heaven Sent Book 2 by JL Rothstein
As a Self Published author Jennifer has had to do all the marketing for her book herself. Because of this she has a very strong presence on a number of social media platforms. She explained to me that she finds using them to be very supportive as she has been very lucky to have met so many talented and wonderful people. People who are in a similar situation to herself and the positivity that she has found there has truly been a gift. In wanting to pay forward the help and positivity Jennifer has received she started her own YouTube Channel where she interviews fellow authors.
When asked how she balances writing, working, keeping track of social media, blogging and her own family life, JL explained that she doesn’t do it very well. She isn’t the type of writer who makes a schedule, as she finds no matter what she tells herself that she will do the next day, life has a way of throwing her plans off. So she tries to focus on writing her current Work In Progress at the weekends, she utilises her husband to help her keep track of her ‘to do’ list and the rest she tries to be consistent with. However, she has a healthy outlook that if she’s falling behind on writing then her ‘to do’ list gets adjusted.
With such a heavy workload it is no wonder that when she isn’t writing Jennifer likes to take time out to spend on day trips with her husband, catching up on her own To Be Read list and being creative with a new hobby of glass etching.
I’d like to thank JL Rothstein for taking the time out of her very busy life to answer all my questions. If you haven’t yet read Atonement (Heaven Sent Book 1) then I highly recommend you do, it is set to be the first in a truly epic series.
Thank you for popping by.