Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

When I was studying at University, the first two years were focused a lot on basic skills, like painting and drawing and I always loved that creative aspect. In my everyday life I work as a graphic designer for packaging design products, so was missing that creative freedom a little in my job. In between switching jobs a few years back, I had some free time during which all I did was painting. My cousin’s wife saw some of my paintings and thought they were really cute and asked if I could do her an illustration with a Penguin riding a buffalo, as she had always wanted one. So I made her one and that was how Tovi was born. After creating that visual I decided to make a story out of it, as ideas were popping into my head and I wanted to make that penguin and buffalo come to life. 

I wrote a few stories but it in the end it took another two years until I decided to publish the first of the Tovi books. Really, it was the birth of my daughter that motivated me to have the books out there in the real word and not just on my 

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How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I tend to write in the evenings after a full day of work or sometimes at the weekends, when my daughter is having her nap. I try never to give myself any time pressures, so I won’t publish a book until I think it’s perfect.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?

I write and illustrate at home on my desktop. I do a lot of the illustrations on paper beforehand and then I scan them in and redraw them on the computer.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

I love to be able to put the ideas that are going around in my head onto paper and to create a story out of them that can reach so many people. The only negative aspect of the whole process is that I wish I had more time to dedicate to it, since it takes time to create and to write and as a mum working a full-time job, it can be hard to find a spare minute!

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

My inspiration tends to come from my own experiences, which I can then mould into a fun little story.

For the Christmas themed book, for example, the idea came to me a few years ago when my family and I celebrated Christmas by blending our different traditions. My husband is English and traditionally celebrates on the 25th, whereas my family and I are German and celebrate on Christmas Eve. For me, the tradition has always been to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, with the 25th and 26th being a holiday when we would visit our extended family. So when we decided to do it the English way (on December 25th), it meant that we enjoyed Christmas Eve simply having a nice dinner and taking more time to just talk to each other without a thought for presents. For most people Christmas has become a commercial event that is often associated with the stress of getting the right gifts, so I wanted to focus on a story that was not about the presents but about spending time with the people you love and having fun together.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I only work with Bookbub and I’ve been fortunate in that it’s been very successful each time. I do also post a lot on Facebook and Instagram for my followers to see what Tovi is up to and when new books are coming up, etc.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I am currently working on Tovi’s next adventure: Tovi the Penguin goes away to the Seaside. The inspiration for this book came last summer when my family and I all went off to Britany for our summer holiday. I am very excited about the book and I’m looking forward to publish it and getting it out there for others to read!

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

Not really. As long as I have new ideas I will keep writing the Tovi adventures.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

For me, writing and illustrating means doing what I love, so I would encourage anyone who is thinking about it to give it a try. There is no more satisfying feeling than to see your own creation come to life.

The best piece of advice I could give though is to remember that while starting a project of your own will always mean putting a little of yourself out there, you shouldn’t be scared of doing so as this is also what will inspire you to keep going when it gets tough. One of the biggest lessons I learned has been not to be embarrassed about what I create and to be proud of it no matter what others may think.

Question for me:

What advice would you give a writer? Would you prefer the traditional publishing route or do you also believe in self-publishing?

Great question. I think the answer to the question depends on the writer. I started out in the traditional venue and sent out book requests until my fingers turned blue. When a local publishing house finally accept my work, I was ecstatic, though, as it turned out, I wasn't completely happy with my choice. 

I had very little say on the cover and the price of the book was much higher than I thought it should be. In the end, and a few years later, my brother helped me by purchasing the rights back to my book and I have been on my own ever since.

Self-publishing has been the best choice for me. I have much more control on what I do including book covers, price and more. I have also been able to help other writers, through Idea Creations Press, to get their own dream book in print.

Thank you, Janina!

Look for Janina and her books at the following sites:


Tovi the Penguin: goes Camping (Volume 1)
by Janina Rossiter

Tovi the Penguin: goes away for Christmas (Volume 2)
by Janina Rossiter

Tovi the Penguin: goes to London (Volume 3)
by Janina Rossiter

Tovi the Penguin: goes into space (Volume 4)
by Janina Rossiter

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