Reader Nicholas Kotar is a seminarian in his final year at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, and taught for seven years at St. John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy in San Francisco, CA. His first full novel and most recent work, Raven Son, is a work of fantasy based on traditional Russian fairy tales, and went on sale on February 17.
In an interview with the website Book Country, Nicholas explained how the idea for the novel came about:
"I was on my way to Cairo for a month-long trek through Egypt, Sinai, and Israel. I had a thirteen-hour layover in the Amsterdam airport, and for some reason I thought it would be smart to stay awake the whole time. So I drank lots of coffee, opened a notebook, and one of the Syrin ‒ paradise birds whose song has been known to drive people mad ‒ started singing to me… I wrote the first scene without lifting my pen from the page. Later, when I got back from the trip, I thought it would be interesting to write down my experiences in the form of a fairy tale. But by page fifty, the story had run away from me. It went wherever it wanted to go, and I had to follow it, trying not to lose it. The next few years were incredibly eventful… Through it all, Raven Son kept writing itself, while I struggled to follow. It was exhilarating.
A review of the novel by Sophia Moshura reads, in part:
"Through the high art of storytelling, the author in an involving and acutely personal manner leads us to believe that regardless of our individual missteps, we can always draw strength from our faith in order to become the people we were created to be. ‘Whatever happens, do not lose hope. There is always hope.’ Entwined with motives from ancient Russian fairy tales and legends, the novel is not simply a fantasy book filled with striking descriptions of Nature, raging battles and insuperable foes, it strikes the deepest chords of our hearts, sweeping the reader through Voran’s victories and defeats, and gently guiding us to analyze our own life path and choices."