Janet Gurtler is here today to talk about the emotions behind writing stories like her book I'm Not Her, and teen dilemmas seen in her upcoming novel If I Tell.
Check out the information below for a chance to win a copy of If I Tell.
1. I'm Not Her deals with the difficult topic of cancer. Did you have to prepare yourself to write about such an emotional situation? How did you develop the character of Tess?
I actually really love to explore deep emotions, so while the topic and situation in I’M NOT HER were difficult ones to explore, I truly enjoyed it. The same way I enjoy a great movie or book that makes me cry. I find it cathartic to go to those dark places in fictional situations. I prepare myself by really trying to dig deep and imagine what my characters must be feeling based on who they are and where they are in their lives. I do try to compare it to things I’ve felt and draw from that.
Tess is someone I just wanted to squeeze with a big hug. I took parts of myself and injected them into her, the insecure teen who really wants to fit in, but also wants to walk her own road and be accepted for who she wants to be. I wanted Tess to be a person who is pretty honest with her emotions. I wanted to her face some of the more unpleasant truths about herself and to learn and grow because of that honesty.
2. In your newest book, If I Tell, Jasmine seems to be faced with a very difficult dilemma. What do you feel teens need to do when faced with problems with parents or issues of forgiveness?
It’s tough to be a teen and to have troubles with your parents, but in all honesty, what teen doesn’t? Those of us lucky enough to have parents who truly love us –sometimes still have to deal with our parent’s mistakes and flaws and when we’re teens is when we start to see those faults in a more glaring light. When we’re smaller children our parents can do no wrong, but that changes as teens struggle to become their own person, with their own thoughts and dreams and opinions.
I think that because I write about this time in our lives from a time when I am a parent, I am able to “see” both sides of the story. I think I’m still really in touch with my inner teen and I remember the difficulties I had with my own parents, who are good people but like all of us, weren’t perfect parents. I also know I’m not a perfect parent.
I am a strong advocate of talking about things, but I also know that in some instances, when there are problems with parents, those parents may not be the ones who can help. There are people who can and want to help though. I know teens often feel alone and feel problems they have are not something they can or should talk about, but I think talking about things is the beginning of dealing and learning to move on. There are Teen Help Lines. Counselors. Aunts. Trusted Family Friends. Doctors. I encourage teens to reach out when they have problems with their parents. As for issues of forgiveness, again
it is a big thing for teens to learn. When to forgive and when to move on. It’s often a question of self-worth. Teens need to know they deserve respect and that it’s okay to walk away from people or situations that are toxic to them. If it’s relatives who are toxic, like parents, well the situation isn’t as black and white, but there are people who can help teens deal and maintain their own emotional health in tough situations.
If I Tell by Janey Gurtler
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (October 1st, 2011)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 256 pages
Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a onenight stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn't raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she's never fit in hasn't been easy. But she's been surviving. Until she sees her mom's new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?
- 1 winner will receive a copy of If I Tell by Janet Gurtler.
- You must be at least 13 to enter.
- Name and email must be provided and counts as 1 entry.
- Extra entries are possible and links must be provided.
- Contest is US Only and ends October 20th.
- Once contacted, the winner will have 48 hours to respond.
- The form must be filled out to enter.
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