Today I have author Janet Gurtler who wrote the cute Contemporary “Who I Kissed” with a phenomenal Guest Post about “Body Swapping”, a Review and a Giveaway for you! Awesome hu??
Author Body-Swapping by Janet Gurtler
As a YA writer, Janet Gurtler often has to embody the lives and emotions of her character. This time, we’re asking her to channel Sam and tell us some of the character insight we’re dying to know – first crush, most embarrassing moment, favorite books, music, & more! And Janet reveals a little of how she creates such realistic teen characters.
“Sam, Sam, Sam. What are we going to do with you?”
If you can’t tell, I’m using my mother voice. Also I’m talking to a fictitious character. But we’ll ignore that part. When I write teen characters I have to turn my mother voice off. (And embrace the crazy.) Truth be known, I am able to remove my mother voice pretty easily and I find it kind of natural to slip inside the head of a teenager.
I had a tough time when I was a teenager. I had a lot of internal struggles. I majored in insecurity and angst. And I remember many of those feelings really well. Really, really well.
So, getting inside the head of a teenager isn’t as hard for me as if should be. Of course, my characters aren’t me. I give them different challenges and different personality quirks. And then I have to try to think the way they would think. I have to slip into their shoes.
Fortunately, I enjoy imagining getting inside a character’s head. I like to go deep inside and look at things people sometimes try to hide. From themselves and from the world. I like to go there. To places that are uncomfortable. Especially with the challenges of today’s world around them. Technology. Expectations. Social media.
I took Samantha to some uncomfortable places in Who I Kissed. Imagine feeling responsible for the death of someone else. How horrifying would that be? How would you possibly get over it? Especially when you’re dealing with your own issues. Sam had some things to overcome even before the accident, but the accident brought them to the surface with a rush. Ultimately, Sam has to learn to let other people in. And that’s not always an easy thing to do. To me she’s a fully formed person with a history and built in likes and dislikes. So let’s take a deeper look at Sam. Let me slide back into her skin for a moment and tell you some of her secrets.
Favorite Book - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
Favorite Song - Tonight Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae
Favorite Movie – The Avengers
Favorite Food - Jelly Bellies of course! But as far as real food goes, she likes Mexican. Bean Burritos. Even though they give her gas. She probably wouldn’t eat them on a date.
First serious crush. Zee. First heart aches. Zee. Best kiss ever. Zee.
Celebrity Crush - Corbin Bleu. She is waiting for his acting career to extend beyond High school Musical
Personal Hero - Missy Franklin
Secret Talent- Sam loves to dance. She practices in her room with her iPod. At some point, she’s going to try to convince her swim team to record a dance dare (dancing behind people without them knowing) for the Ellen show. She knows every dance step to Party Rockin by LMFAO.
Most Embarrassing Moment- When her bathing suit split down the butt at a swim meet and she had to finish her race, which was thankfully backstroke.
Well, I can tell that you did a phenomenal job with Sam!! She was a great, genuine and wonderful characters. She struggled but still was so very strong!
Find Janet Gurtler:
Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler
She Never Thought A Kiss Could Kill. . .
Samantha is new at school and just recently joined the swim team. She’s been flirting with one of her teammates, Zee, who invites her to a party and just as quickly dumps her for another girl. Hurt, but pretending not to care, she turns to his best friend, Alex, and gives him a kiss. And he dies—right in her arms. Alex was allergic to peanuts, and Samantha had eaten a peanut butter sandwich right before the party. She didn’t know. Overnight, Samantha turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she will have to find the inner-strength to forgive herself for the tragedy.
Books that make you cry are the best. There is no denying that when a book makes you that emotional, the author did something right! Who I Kissed was such an emotional book!
Guilt, Death and Grief
There is a lot of sadness in this book. Sam changes school and finally can get away from the rumors that she’s gay. Trying to change and trying to be more social she tries to make friends and also.. starts kissing boys. Just one kiss ends with the death of a boy. Suddenly her life changes, but not for the best. She’s full of guilt and also stops swimming, in order to punish herself. It’s horrible to see Sam so tragically burdened by an accident and the reader would just wish to be able to help her get through this.
Who’s there when you are down?
What I loved most was how the secondary characters were willing to help Sam. There is an eccentric aunt who is just wonderful and awesome! But then there are also new friends. There is nothing worse than being alone in such a situation and even though Sam doesn’t really want to deal – she’s forced to deal. Also, how can she face Alex family? His sister who is attending the same school? It clearly was an emotional situation.
Love and Hope!
There was so much hope in the book. Truly, without hope this book would have been unbearably but Janet Gurtler draw a fine line between grief and finding hope to move on. It was delicate, precious and wonderfully described and played out. There are two boys in Sam’s life. One makes her forget everything and I have to say there was one scene with this boy who was really hard on the limit! I won’t say much, other that I felt horribly sad for Sam in this moment! But there is this other boy Zee, and he brings hope… I loved him! Zee was a wonderful and such a genuine character.
My only complain is the way the story ended and was resolved. The time frame from the accident to the final result was way too long. I felt like this was dragged out that long to serve the story, but normally these kind of things are resolved in a few days, maybe 2 weeks but not that long.
Who I Kissed was a powerful, heart wrenching book full of emotions. Guilt, grief but also hope and love, it had everything I wished for. In addition the characters felt incredibly real and genuine, something I always admire and seek for in Contemporary stories!
And noooow my friends, it’s Giveaway time!
Thanks to the awesome people at Sourcebook Fire, I have one copy for you to win!! Just fill out the Rafflecopter. US/Canada only.