From self-publishing to G.P. Putnam’s Sons

At first J.L. Witterick didn’t seriously consider writing, so she put her creative aspirations aside to pursue a business degree. But, she eventually went back to something she always wanted to do — write a novel. “I always thought it was amazing that you could put words together that would create thoughts and ideas that didn’t exist before,” says Witterick.

She first attempted to publish traditionally. “I approached many publishing houses and I either received no response or a ‘no thank you’ response.”

Witterick had self-publishing in the back of her mind, and iUniverse was the perfect fit. Within weeks Witterick’s book, My Mother’s Secret, rose to the top of the best-selling list.

iUniverse author J.L. Witterick sitting in a chair while holding her published book, My Mother's Secret, in front of a fireplace.
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A Profound Story

My Mother’s Secret is based on the true story of Franciszka Halamajowa, who along with her daughter, Helena, sheltered two Jewish families and a war-weary Nazi soldier in WWII Poland. “She hid them because they were in trouble, not because of who they were culturally,” explains Witterick “I found that so compelling, I wanted to tell that story.”

Witterick said even though Holocaust experts, law professors and English majors helped edit the book first, “iUniverse tightened it up even better. They made a big difference in shaping the book to have that professional feel to it.”

Surprising news from G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group

Soon after iUniverse published her book in March 2012, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, one of the world’s leading trade imprints, expressed interest in the gripping story. The traditional publisher, an imprint of Penguin Group, quickly picked up the book, bought the international rights, and now plans to make it available in different countries and languages all throughout the world.

Witterick was surprised and overjoyed that her story would be shared with so many people. “Being translated to Chinese means that my parents will be able to read it in their own language as well, so that’s a big thrill for me.”

Best-selling author J.L. Witterick discusses her self-publishing journey.

A Dream Fulfilled

Witterick was sure that she wanted to write a book, but had no idea it would be so successful. “…For me writing was a dream. But this book and the success of the book tells me that if you’ve got a dream too, go for it.” To keep up with Witterick and find the latest information on My Mother’s Secret, you can connect with her on Facebook or visit her website.

My Mother's Secret by J.L. Witterick

"…For me writing was a dream. But this book and the success of the book tells me that if you’ve got a dream too, go for it."

J.L. Witterick

About the Book

My Mother’s Secret is based on the true story of Franciszka Halamajowa, who along with her daughter, Helena, risked everything to safeguard two Jewish families and a defecting Nazi soldier in their small home in Sokal, Poland during the Nazi invasion.

This profound, captivating and ultimately uplifting tale intertwines the lives of these characters, along with those of the mother and daughter who team up to save them.

Awards & Honors

TEDx Presentation: The Power of Resourcefulness

2013 National Jewish Book Award - Outstanding Debut Fiction Finalist

Book Reviews

“I highly recommend this wonderful book…one that shows the extremes of the goodness and the evil in human nature. It's a book that lingers in one's consciousness long after the last page is turned.”

"J.L. Witterrick is a master of understatement, with a deft hand on knowing that her spare, but intense chapters tell a profound story of the human spirit. Well done!" Continue reading

“I love that this story is not as dark and depressing as many Holocaust novels. It is a ray of hope shining in a genre of many disgustingly dark portrayals. I recommend it for all.” Continue reading

iUniverse author Julie Hockley sitting on a couch holding a book, with cheerful laughter.

Julie Hockley

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iUniverse author Clifford Thompson, face in focus, unfocused background.

Clifford Thompson

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iUniverse author Lisa Genova in front of a black background.

Lisa Genova

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iUniverse author J. Boyce Gleason in his home holding his published book, Anvil of God.

J. Boyce Gleason

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