West Milford High School senior Valerie Soovajian recently published her first book, a novella called “Lotogettar.”
The 18-year-old has been writing since she was 13 and always had a fondness for literature and fantasy worlds. However, she started out writing horror stories.
“Originally I wasn’t going to write fantasy novels. I started with horror, but I started watching fantasy movies and reading fantasy books by J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin. It inspired new things in me that made me want to write about fantasy.”.
Before she started writing, Valerie wanted to make movies. While preparing a script, she discovered her passion for writing.
“I suddenly loved the idea of fantasy, something new. I see all these TV shows and books and they all seem the same, with no new ideas. ... I wanted to write something I haven’t seen before.”
Valerie has written many stories, but this is her first book.
“Lotogettar” is a fantasy romance about a girl who is transported to another world, akin to that of “The Lord Of The Rings,” filled with fantastical beasts, magic, and kings and queens.
The title is a combination of the words “love” and “together.” “It’s part of the made-up world I made in my novel,” she said.
The novella is described as a young adult novel for those age 12 and older. “It’s an epic fantasy romance for anyone,” Valerie added.
She started writing “Lotogettar” in 2022 and it took about a year.
Like any other aspiring author, Valerie had her troubles. “Sitting there for hours trying to figure out what to write next. The writer’s block was annoying, coming up with ideas and the world building was difficult.”
Her solution to writer’s block? “Going out and interacting with people and having a good time, essentially, taking a break cured my writer’s block.”
Although difficult, Valerie enjoyed writing “Lotogettar.”
Her favorite part was “how I made this whole entire world.”
“I love how I created this dynamic duo between Mary and Noah as well as this character Alexander, who comes into the scene out of nowhere and tries to come between the two main characters.
“I loved writing the fantasy romance theme most of all.”
The story conveys a theme of defiance and independence through the main character, Mary. The story begins with Mary running away from home in rebellion against her mother, who is trying to send her away.
“It shows how Mary wants to do what she wants and not what people tell her to do,” Valerie said. “It shows the reader there are chances to do other than what people want you to do.”
Through the character, modeled after herself, she tries to tell the readers to carve their own path.
Valerie said a sequel to the novella is in the works, featuring the same trio of main characters.
She also has ideas for a third book in the series in the same world “but with different characters, similar to ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit.’ ”
Valerie plans to continue writing with the goal of becoming a full-time author.
She attributes the completion of her book to those that inspired, aided and motivated her.
“My biggest motivator was definitely J.K Rowling. I saw how she got rejected multiple times and how she continued to go for it as well as (J.R.R.) Tolkien. I really love how he created this whole world within ‘The Lord Of The Rings.’ which inspired me the most. And myself. The way I motivated myself, looking past the doubters and doing my own thing.
“My biggest supporters are my parents and my aunt, who told me to go for it, as well as my teachers at school who told me they were proud of me.”
I love how I created this dynamic duo between Mary and Noah as well as this character Alexander, who comes into the scene out of nowhere and tries to come between the two main characters. I loved writing the fantasy romance theme most of all.” - Valerie Soovajian, author of “Lotogettar”