Guest Post – Janet Gurtler on Writing Influences

Janet Gurtler is the author of I’m Not Her and If I Tell.  She dropped by the virtual offices to discuss some of her writing influences.

Janet Gurtler on her writing influences:

Honestly I think the greatest influencers on me and my writing as a teen were SE Hinton and Judy Blume. Both those authors had books that spoke to me. I can remember reading Judy Blume as a young teen and being absolutely flabbergasted that someone understood me. ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT`S ME MARGARET was my treasure. A book that mentioned unmentionable. Judy Blume wrote about girls who had similar thoughts to me and it helped me realize there were others like me. That Judy Blume MUST understand me. And then when I got older SE Hinton and her books took me to other places I needed to explore as a teen. Dysfunctional families, class struggles, drinking, sex. SE Hinton`s books were a great outlet and helped me realize I wasn’t alone with my thoughts and questions about life.

I think these authors guided me towards the kind of writing I do now. I try to show universal feelings that many of us share, especially to teenagers. I often felt like a weirdo when I was a teen. Awkward. A loser. I thought people didn’t understand me and if they did maybe they would like me better.  I didn’t know how common that feeling was. Or even that I had a few tools in my box that could have helped me. A simple smile. A wave. A hello. Instead of downward eyes and an attitude of pretending not to care. I try to create characters in my books that are flawed but relatable. Whether they are comfortable with being kind of an awkward entity or not is not really the point. The point is that they are someone most people can relate to in some way.

With that same thought in mind, I’d have to say that another book that influenced my writing was THE DIARY OF BRIDGET JONES. Whoa. It’s definitely more adult than YA fiction but I so related to the character of Bridget Jones. Someone obsessed with everything she ate. And boys. Her tale was not mine and it was pure fiction but I loved the humor used to deal with hardships. Bridget Jones led me to explore chick lit, which eventually led me to Young Adult fiction.

Another writer whose work I greatly admire and who I would say influences my writing is Jody Piccoult. Her books are amazing at taking things in today’s headlines and making them real stories about very real and imperfect people. She is a master at developing characters and a master at convoluted and intricate plot lines (something I am still working on in my own books!)

I would never compare myself to these writers, for to me they are some of the very best. But I would say their writing has influenced me as a person and what I strive for as an author.


Thank you, Janet!!

You can learn more about Janet by visiting her website, and also by following her on Twitter.

Both If I Tell and I’m Not Her are in stores now!  You can purchase them from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the handy widgets below.