janet gurtler

RITA ® Finalist 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.

about janet


Like all of us, I am different things to different people. Mom. Sister. Auntie. Wife. Daughter. Cousin. Friend. And I love all of my roles especially Mom, but at the end of the day, when I am all alone with myself drifting off to sleep, I am Writer.

My road to author was a little windy. While in college, I worked as a DJ in a night club. I like to tell people that because it makes me sound cooler than I am. After college I worked as an advertising copywriter for radio and then TV and eventually was lured over to sales and marketing. I missed writing though and years later (always a late bloomer was I) after having my son, I started my first book. I've been writing books ever since and once I started writing YA, found like I'd found my way home.

I can block out almost anything when I'm deep inside a story. Writing one or reading one. Books continue to be something I turn to when I'm happy or sad or tired or wide awake. You get the picture right :-)

Two Random Janet Gurtler facts.
1. I wear socks to bed.
2. I hate talking on the phone. Don't like it. Never have.


f a q

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

After my son was born I began writing and trying to get published. I think I was always a "writer" but it took me longer to become a published writer and then published author. I started writing a book about ten years ago and when I was done that one I was hooked. Before that I always had the writing bug though. I kept journals, re-wrote commercials when I was driving and pretty much found any excuse I could to write. Writing is my favorite way of communicating.

Why do you write young adult fiction?

There are virtually no boundaries about what you can do and what you can write about in Young Adult fiction and I love that kind of freedom. Kind of like the teen years. It can be tough, but there is so much hope and transition in teen lives. I love writing about things that I find tough but also injecting some humor. I like to look underneath the surface and see the yucky stuff sometimes and in YA there is freedom to do that. Also I think a part of me kind of got stuck in the teen years, and I have a chance to re-write things over and over.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

It changes as I write. I used to hate revising, but now it's my favorite part. I am not an outlining author so a lot of my fine tuning and crafting begins at the revision stage. The hardest part for me now is getting past all the distractions. Like the internet. Twitter. Email. Facebook. I am hopeless at ignoring them.

What is the hardest part about being a writer?

Having no life? Ha ha. I love writing I really do, but I spend a lot of time by myself making up stories in my head. Mostly I am okay with being all alone in my sweat pants and in my ponytail, but somedays I remember getting dressed up for work and going out for expensive lunches and I sigh. Also, working on my laptop is not physically active and that is hard on my butt. In more ways than one.

Do you get to pick your own covers?

Sourcebooks is awesome about giving me input into the final covers they pick, but I really have nothing to do with the concepts that they've come up with. Fortunatley I feel pretty lucky! I really love the covers!!

I'm doing a book report on you. Where were you born? Where did you go to school?

I was born in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. I lived there for seven years, moved to Ontario for five years and then back to Western Canada in Regina Saskatchewan where I went to Campbell Collegiate until Grade 11. In Grade 12 I moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba and finished high school at Westwood Collegiate. After high school I went to Red River Community College in Winnipeg and took a Communications Diploma. I returned to college a few years later and took a Sales and Marketing diploma course.

How Can I Contact You?

You can email me at or find me on twitter @janetgurtler

What inspires you?

I am an open book so to speak. I am always listening and gathering images, sounds, smells etc for my books. I often am struck by inspiration when I'm on the treadmill, though when I run I don't get as many ideas as when I walk. I'm often inspired by something I see or something I read and have that question always lingering in the back of my mind..."what if".

What do you do when you're not writing?

I have a son who is a swimmer so during the week we spend a lot of time at the pool. I try to work out when he's swimming at least a few times a week. Key word being try.

I love to go for walks and listen to music. I spend far too much time on the Internet. I have friends I try to see once in a while. Plus there's a house to clean and a cabin to build. Life is busy!

What is your biggest secret?

I have a lot of secrets. I could never decide which is biggest. So I can't tell.

I have one tattoo that is very old. A tiny rainbow on my shoulder. It was meant to be symbolic at the time. Somewhere over the rainbow things were going to be great. (It mostly came true!)

I have five piercings (4 are in my ears one is in my nose. I only use two of the four in my ears.)

What are you working on now?

I am having fun writing a few different things. I’ve got a really gripping YA that I LOVE even though it kind of scares me. I’ve been also working on Women’s Fiction, a genre I love and hope to be published in someday!

I’m also writing articles for fun (which I love) and I’m busy working a “real” job and volunteering for my son’s swim team…multi-tasking is a real thing!



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