New Brighton resident publishes debut novel

Janell Butler Wojtowicz of New Brighton recently published her first novel, “Embracing Hope,” a contemporary Christian romance that takes a look into the broken heart and daily struggles of college dean Drew McKinley.

Janell Butler Wojtowicz of New Brighton recently published her first novel, “Embracing Hope”, a contemporary Christian romance. (Photo provided by Brian Tanning)
Janell Butler Wojtowicz of New Brighton recently published her first novel, “Embracing Hope”, a contemporary Christian romance. (Photo provided by Brian Tanning)

As he navigates through the turbulent first year after the sudden death of his wife, McKinley crosses paths with Allison Bennett, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office, and Chris Whitney, the handsome but egotistical student senate president. The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart, substance and domestic abuse, a violent assault, and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares, and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

The idea for “Embracing Hope” came to Wojtowicz in a dream after she watched the BBC version of “Jane Eyre” in 2007.

“I literally dreamed the beginning, middle and end of what became ‘Embracing Hope’,” said Wojtowicz “I modernized a classic.”

From beginning to end, it took Wojtowicz nine years to get “Embracing Hope” on the shelves of book stores.

“At one time the book sat for almost a year ­— life happens,” she said. “Then I lost a really close friend and a mentor about a year and a half ago and I heard his voice saying ‘Janell it’s time’.”

Janell Butler Wojtowicz of New Brighton recently published her first novel, “Embracing Hope”, a contemporary Christian romance. (Graphic provided by Discern Publishers)
Janell Butler Wojtowicz of New Brighton recently published her first novel, “Embracing Hope”, a contemporary Christian romance. (Graphic provided by Discern Publishers)

After countless rejections from pitching agents, Wojtowicz got back on the horse and her work eventually paid off when a Canadian publisher contacted her through Linkedin.

“It just fell together really well and in November I got published,”  she said.

Wojtowicz is now working on at least three more books to follow “Embracing Hope.”

“I never really thought it would be a series but a friend of mine gave me the idea,” said Wojtowicz. “So now in my mind there are four books.”

Wojtowicz, born and raised in Bristow, Iowa, has been a professional writer for 33 years. She spent 10 years in community journalism in Iowa. Since moving to Minneapolis in 1993, she has worked in public relations at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, Leadership Foundations of America in Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. In addition to writing novels, Wojtowicz owns A Portrait in Words freelance service.

Published by Discern Products, “Embracing Hope” is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon.com, and in ebook on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Kobo.

Wojtowicz will be hosting a book-signing on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Birch Pond Condos club room, 20 Windsor Lane in New Brighton from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Contact Sam Lenhart at [email protected]