Monday, January 9, 2012

Author Spotlight: Janet Gurtler

It is my pleasure to introduce you to a wife, mother, and fabulous author of young adult fiction. She also would rather write then chat on the phone. :)
Janet Gurtler, YA Author of I'M NOT HER & IF I TELL
 Have you always known you want to write?
I think the writing bug for me was always there, but it really hit me that I wanted to write when I was in Grade 6. I had an encouraging teacher who really made me feel great about my creative writing skills and he made me feel it was something I should keep doing.  All through school I LOVED English the most and then when I graduated high school I went to college and took a Communications diploma. I was a copywriter for a short time before I went back to school and into sales. The writing bug kind of hibernated but returned after I had my son.  That’s when I started writing books and knew I wanted to try to get novels published!

What drew you to write YA?
Oh my Gosh! I just love the voice and the hope and the emotional depth in YA.  I started out writing adult romance, but my voice never felt authentic. I moved on to Chick Lit and then when I started my first YA,  I KNEW I had found what I loved to write. And read. I love reading YA more than anything. 

So true about the voice and emotion in young adult literature.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?
For me I think the best advice I’ve been given was to write every day. I have to admit that I don’t always do it, but when I am in a writing groove, it is what works best for me.

Signature Graffiti Wall questions: Yogurt or ice cream? Hot tube or swimming pool? 
Okay. I want to say Yogurt, but that would be my responsible adult self who should be concerned about healthy choices talking. What I really LOVE is Ice Cream. Chocolate Mint. Yum.

I am not really big on hot tubs. I do love to swim though. As long as the water is warm. I do not do cold swimming pools very well. J

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you? What skills do you implement to work through it?
The hardest part of writing for me is getting the first draft down. And this varies in difficulty with different books. I really love the revision process which is probably because I am more of a seat of my pants writer, so most of my fine tuning and character development takes place in the revisions. The skill I use to get through it is plain old perseverance, which kind of ties back to the best writing advice, write every day. Even when it’s hard and I don’t want to, for first drafts for me -it’s the best way.  

If you could choose another genre to write in, which would it be and why?
I love the chick lit voice, but that genre kind of got killed off.  Let’s pretend it’s revived and I’ll choose that, okay? I love first person and snarky twenty year olds are kind of fun (and a wee bit naughty) to write.

You’ve worked as a DJ and in media advertising; you’re a mother, sister, wife and a spectrum of titles. How have those aspects of your life influenced your writing?
I think that my past experiences have helped me with character development, because I’ve worked in a lot of jobs where you really have to watch people or try to understand what they really want, versus what they say or think they want. i.e.- sales, motherhood and wife. J  I’ve met some interesting people over the years and seen some interesting things. That’s helpful when creating stories. I think overall with my experiences I’ve learned that I  really genuinely like people or at least I find them incredibly interesting  trying to understand them and that serves me as a writer?  I’ve kind of grown up with titles and jobs that make me ask why?

I totally agree. Living each and every day, while paying attention, definitely helps develop those fantastic characters.

 Your first YA book, I’M NOT HER, was released in May of 2011. I was honored to review it HERE. What inspired the story? (fabulous premise, by the way) 
Thank you! My inspiration for I’m Not Her really came with a vision of two sisters who had specific roles in their lives. I wanted to see what would happen when those roles were suddenly and drastically changed.  I wanted to write from the POV of the sister who was always in the shadows, and kind of comfortable there, and how things changed when she had to come out in the open (in more ways than one).

Your agent is the amazing Jill Corcoran of the Herman Agency. What was the biggest difference for you from writing unagented to becoming agented?
Jill is awesome. I think the biggest difference for me having an agent is that I don’t feel so alone in the writing process. Oh. That kind of makes me want to hug my lonely self. But honestly, it’s true. It’s hard to write stories when you don’t have an agent and you don’t know if the stories are going to sell, or even if they’re any good. An agent like Jill gives me feedback and reassurance, or a kick in the pants if I need that. And after the sale she takes care of all the yucky details of a contract J. Having an agent doesn’t mean everything I write will sell, but having someone on my side who believes in my writing is a huge confidence booster. And most writers need that boost. I know I do!

Your second book, IF I TELL, was released in October of 2011. Tell the readers a bit about it.
IF I TELL is a different book than I’M NOT HER in many ways, but it also has similarities. I hope that like I’M NOT HER, it’s an emotional journey about growth in the face of adversity. It’s the story of a teen girl who feels very alone in her world and is forced to keep secrets from her mom and other people around her. It makes her angry and isolates her and she has to learn who she can trust and when mistakes should be forgiven. I hope people like IF I TELL, it’s special to me in many ways!

Well, I've read it and it's fabulous! I'll be releasing the review soon. Thank you for sharing yourself with us, Janet.

Visit Janet on her Website, Blog, & HERE to find out where to purchase her books.


  1. Awesome interview. I loved hearing about Janet's journey as a writer. Sounds like you have a great year coming up Janet. Good luck with your books.

  2. Someone else who struggles with the first draft! Always the hardest part for me as well. I like editing much better.
    Good luck, Janet!

  3. I'm not much for first drafts either. I'm with Janet and Alex. Editing rocks!

    I didn't know the part about DJing. Obviously I don't know Janet as well as I thought I did. :D

  4. Oh Janet it's so nice to meet you. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Getting my first draft out is easier than the editing so maybe I can switch off with Alex :-D

  5. omg! I've heard these books are awesome from like everyone! Can't wait to snag my copy. And *sigh* so glad to know the following: I'm not the only one who'd rather write, I also have a tough time with first drafts, I also think my communications career helps with my writing... Hey! Are we the same person?? j/k. Great interview, guys! :o) <3

  6. This was fun! Thanks for posting Salarsen.

    P.S. Did you get prettier over the Christmas? o_o

  7. Whoa! You were a DJ? Like a radio DJ, or a club DJ? Either way that's pretty awesome. Thanks for having her, Sheri!

  8. Great interview. Janet is really interesting. And yum to the chocolate mint ice cream. I had some yesterday. :)

  9. Ha! Thanks for the nice words all. Interesting. Me? Tell that to my son! Ha ha.

    I was a club DJ back in the day. But I did work at a radio station and did voice overs for some commercials I wrote. Of course that was way back when too!

  10. Also. I think Sheri does get prettier every day.

  11. Firstly, writing the first draft is like pulling out my own fingernails. I have moments of absolute clarity and excitement and then I fall off the end of the cliff. Ugh. So frustrating. I need to learn to just let go and write already. lol

    And isn't Janet fabulous! *nods head Her writing is so smooth...oh, wait! My next review comes next week, plus a giveaway. Can't give any more away.

    As far as my looks, prettier or not...seriously, guys, these are professional photos taken by a professional photographer for the pageant I'm in next month. They can do amazing things with a camera. My first two photo shoots were awful. I looked like a deer in headlights and I'm not kidding. I had to laugh at how uncomfortable I was. lol

  12. These books sound great! Both topical issues.

  13. I can relate to much of what you've said here, Janet. Best of success on your latest book.

    Good job, S.A., of showcasing this author and her new book.

    Tossing It Out

  14. Chocolate mint is the best!!!! Nice to meet you Janet!

  15. Great interview, Sheri! I've heard so many good things about both books, and they've been on my wish list/TBR pile forever. Can't wait to finally read them. :)

  16. Great interview. I tend to get the first draft out pretty quick, until the ending. Always struggle with that. I'm glad you found your YA voice, I started with Christian fiction and ended up writing high fantasy romance and YA. I think it takes some of us time to find the right genre.

  17. Congrats to Janet on her release! It was nice to 'meet' her and learn more about her.

  18. I have to read If I Tell! It sounds great! Thanks for sharing, Sheri!

  19. Such a wonderful interview, ladies. Lots of insightful information to keep in mind. Good to have a reminder about perseverance. It can a difficult but worthwhile path, this whole writing thing.

  20. terrific interview! i can't wait to read both books now. my to-read list is getting a little crazy!! with mint chocolate chip ice cream :)

  21. Great interview! I really enjoyed both of Janet's books and definitely recommend!! :)

  22. Very nice interview. I enjoyed learning about you and your writing, Janet. Your books sound interesting. Best of luck with them.

  23. Lovely interview! I wish you luck with your writing career, Janet!

  24. Great interview! Two books released within six months of each other! That's really impressive. IF I TELL sounds totally intriguing.

  25. Another wonderful interview. Can't wait to read this now! thanks!


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