Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Janet Gurtler

Today I'm thrilled to be hosting YA author Janet Gurtler.

Janet Gurtler lives in Calgary, Alberta near the Canadian Rockies with her husband and son and a chubby Chihuahua named Bruce. She does not live in an igloo or play hockey but she does love maple syrup and says “eh” a lot. Visit Janet at


IF I TELL, October 1, 2011, Sourcebooks

It was like watching a train wreck. I wanted to look away but couldn’t take my eyes off them.

If only I hadn’t gone to that party. I never would have seen what I did. Jackson wouldn’t have driven me home. I wouldn’t have started to fall for a guy just out of reform school. I could go back to pretending everything was normal. I wouldn’t be keeping a secret from my mom that could blow our family apart….


MAUREEN: What’s your favorite holiday?
JANET: I love the idea of Christmas. I love that people are in giving moods and strangers on the street (and in the shopping malls) wish each other well. I love that families make an effort to get together. I don’t really like the commercial gimme, gimme aspect of it. I must admit though, I love giving people presents. I would give people presents all the time if I was rich.

MAUREEN: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
JANET: I love contemporary YA fiction (which is probably why I write it) I’m a sucker for really emotional stories, especially stories that make me cry. I also love really quirky characters like the ones that A.S. King writes.

MAUREEN: Oh, I love A.S. King, too. Do you believe in ghosts?
JANET: You know what, I totally believe in ghosts. Not the scary, rotting skeleton kind of ghosts in scary movies, but I believe that sometimes the spirits of people who have passed linger around on earth. I have a couple of personal ghost stories, one that still freaks me out today. Of course I don’t tell my ten year old son I believe in ghosts because he would probably never sleep alone in his bed again. Like him, I was intrigued but terrified by ghosts when I was a kid. Actually I guess I still am.

MAUREEN: What’s next for you as an author?
JANET: I am busy working on my third book for Sourcebooks, a story about a girl who accidentally kills a boy who a peanut allergy when she kisses him after having a peanut butter sandwich.

MAUREEN: Oh, that sounds like a great story. I can't wait. Finish it please. Now. Hiking boots or high heels?
JANET: Hiking boots. Or Doc Martens. Would someone please send a memo to the fashion police to have Doc Martens become stylish again? I love the look of high heels on other women, but I hate wearing them. I pretty much never, ever wear high heels.

MAUREEN: Fashion-shmashion. Wear your Docs. :) What was your favorite book when you were twelve?
JANET: Oh….this one is so easy! A Wrinkle in Time. I loved this story so, so much.

MAUREEN: Would you rather sky dive or scuba dive?
JANET: Um NEITHER, ‘kay thanks. Okay, but if someone made me choose at gunpoint or something I would sky dive. I am claustrophobic and I think scuba diving would finish me off.

MAUREEN: What sound or noise do you love?
JANET: I LOVE the sound of ice crunching under my boots in the winter.

MAUREEN: A true Canadian girl. :) What’s your favorite kind of cheese?
JANET: Mmmm. Brie cheese melted in some sort of sweet pastry. Heaven. Fattening, fattening heaven.

MAUREEN: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
JANET: I get kind of geeked out even imagining I have fans! I’d tell teen fans (see it makes me giggle just writing that) “BE WHO YOU ARE. Don’t try to please everyone else. Be yourself. You kind of rock.”

MAUREEN: Strawberry daiquiri or a beer?
JANET: Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri please. I quit drinking alcohol seventeen years ago. Wow! That’s a long time ago!

MAUREEN: Did you belong to a clique in high school? Which one of the standard high school stereotypes did you best fit in to?
JANET: Funny enough the group of popular girls in my first highschool called themselves, “The Clique”. I was on the fringes of that group, friends with some of them, not so much with others. I lost my way for a while and was kind of a pothead but that didn’t last too long. In my senior year I moved to a new city and high school and was a total loner/sad puppy. It was a very hard year.

MAUREEN: Moving at that age is so tough. Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
JANET: I do read reviews of my books. I’m not strong enough not to. I think I’ve “kind” of learned to filter reviews in my head. Not everybody is going to dig my stories and I try to be okay with that. It’s hard, I’m a people pleaser at heart. ☺ Luckily I’M NOT HER did really well with professional reviewers so it was nice to read them! At the time I’m doing this interview, I haven’t seen any professional reviews for IF I TELL. I must admit to being a little nervous but in the end, writers really have no control over the reviews. I think they’d only really influence my writing if there was a consistent theme in more than one interview of something I could do to actually improve my writing.


MAUREEN: Your website says you once worked as a DJ. What tunes should we listen to while reading your book?

JANET: Great question and kind of funny because I’m the type of writer who doesn’t play music when I write. I like to have total silence and no distractions. Same when I’m reading, although when I’m reading I can pretty much block out most noise. That said, I would suggest Eminem. He’s kind of an angry dude, but he’s pretty honest and emotional. Or even (I almost feel embarrassed saying this) how about some angsty Avril Lavigne songs. Not the Skater Boy stuff, but like the Good- Bye Lullaby. It KILLS ME!


JANET ASKS: What is one thing you’d love to tell your parents, but are too shy/scared to tell them?





  1. Hi Janet,

    Even now, decades later, there are some things my parents will never, ever know. Lol!

  2. Like Jillian, there are some things my parents will never know... And I'm sure we're both happier for it. :)

    But some things, I wish I had been more open about, like boy troubles. :)

  3. There are a lot of things I never told my parents and as of now they will never know about them. Do I wish I had told them, no way, sometimes things are better off not being told or knowing about.

  4. Janet, I have to say I can't wait to read your book. I write romantic suspense, but you got me with your excerpt. Very powerful. Sounds like you know exactly what YA readers like to read.

    Gosh, something I wouldn't tell my parents. Nothing at my age. I should go ask my kids; they're in the 20s. Maybe they have something they'd like to get off their chests

    Great blog, thanks Maureen for bringing Janet to us at Get Lost in a Story!

  5. Sorry I missed talking to you yesterday Janet. I was out and on a ferry by 7 to catch some awesome authors on Vancouver Island.

    Hope you had a good time here "getting lost".


  6. I like your blog,and also like the article,and thank you for provide me so much information :))