Spotlight And Author Interview — Something I Am Not

4 Jul

About The Book

Book:  Something I am Not

Author: Cher Gatto

Genre: YA Fiction

Release Date: January 25, 2019

Something I am NotA father who never loved him…
A woman who stole his worth…
And a brother he couldn’t protect.

Where does someone run in the face of his deepest shame?

Billy McQueen works hard to keep his life together … and concealed. At seventeen, he dreams of an escape from the barroom, his father’s manipulation, and the advances of his father’s girlfriend. However, on his eighteenth birthday, Billy is introduced to a younger brother he never knew he had. An eight-year-old who is barely capable of navigating the corrupt world of his father’s boxing club.

Now, in order to secure his freedom, Billy must fight for it. But to save his little brother who is next in line for the slave trade … he must die for it.

SOMETHING I AM NOT, formerly titled Billy, won the ACFW Genesis Award for the Contemporary category. It was published by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About The Author

cher ghattoCher Gatto is a native to NJ and lives with her husband (pastor) and five teenagers. Their family spent 10 years in Mexico developing a horse ranch for kids (see more about the ranch below) and founded an addictions ministry (R-HUB) back in the states. Cher has a Master’s in Psychology and serves as president of the ACFW NY/NJ chapter. Cher’s debut novel won the Genesis Award in 2016 and the Christian Indie Award for Best YA in 2020. Her new novel, Regent, is scheduled to release this fall, and she has begun a sequel to Something I Am Not.

 

More from Cher

I never meant to be a writer. It’s something that happened to me when I wasn’t looking. Our family (my husband and I and our five children) lived in Mexico developing a horse ranch for kids, at-risk youth, and broken families in impoverished villages surrounding the ranch. Our co-workers ran a women’s shelter in the city, and we used the horses to love on the girls there. I say “women’s” shelter, but most were children (13, 14, 15 years old) trying to raise babies of their own. Many of the babies a result of abuse, rape, or incest. Some had been drawn out of trafficking. Their stories tragic and incomprehensible.

About a year after we got on the field, the shelter closed down for a dangerous breach in security. All the girls were sent back to where they came from. We could do nothing. Nothing at all, but watch them go. A few months later, I saw one of the girls at church escorted by her “father.” When our eyes met, the vacancy in hers shattered my heart. I will never forget it. And one day, while I was cleaning a horse corral, I had Billy’s story. Not the whole thing, but a piece of it.

I hid myself away whenever I could for months and wrote furiously. I had no idea how the story would unfold, or even what themes would develop. But three hundred and fifty pages later, I was done. I guess it was all in there, needing to come out. I thought I was writing a fiction novel, but Billy’s journey gave me the key to process and heal from things I saw around me but couldn’t change. Things that broke my heart.

I needed a different ending—a redemption. Billy’s story became an allegory on life. He lives under the wrong “father,” as an orphan, believing the fear and shame that those lies wield. But in finding the right Father, he finds where he truly belong. Billy’s story is about coming home. It’s his story, and it’s ours.

Something I Am Not was published by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. It won the 2016 Genesis Award for the contemporary category and 2020 Christian Indie Award for best Young Adult fiction.

 

Q&A With Cher Gatto

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer? And what inspired your latest novel?

These two questions go hand-in-hand for me, and both came out of left field. The truth is I never meant to be a writer. It’s something that happened to me when I wasn’t looking. Our family (myself, husband and 5 kids) lived in Mexico for ten years developing a horse ranch for kids, at-risk youth, and broken families. Our co-workers ran a women’s shelter, and we used the horses to love on the women. I say women, but most were children (13, 14, 15 years old) trying to raise babies of their own. Many of the babies a result of abuse, rape, or incest. Some had been drawn out of trafficking. Their stories tragic and incomprehensible.

 About a year after we got on the field, the shelter closed down for a dangerous breach in security. All the girls were sent back to where they came from. We could do nothing. Nothing at all, but watch them go. A few months later, I saw one of the girls at church escorted by her “father.” When our eyes met, the vacancy in hers shattered my heart. I will never forget it. Then one day, while I was cleaning a horse corral, I had Billy’s story. Not the whole thing, but a piece of it. Just one distinct scene, actually. 

I hid myself away whenever I could for months and wrote furiously. I had no idea how the story would unfold, or even what themes would develop. In truth, I had no idea it connected to my life at all. Three hundred and fifty pages later, I was done. And I guess it was all in there, needing to come out. I realized later that Billy’s journey had given me the key to process and heal from things I saw around me but couldn’t change. Things that broke my heart.

 I needed a different ending — a redemption story. 

I thought I was done after that. One novel in me and that was it. But one turned into the next, and now I’m hooked.

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

When I wrote Billy’s story, I wrote it alone. In a back room at our ranch in Mexico. I never intended it to be for someone else’s eyes. I think that’s what gave me the freedom to just write. On one of my mom’s vacations to see us, she asked to read some. Reluctantly, I gave her the first chapter, then the next and the next. I couldn’t keep up with her ferocious appetite for the story until it was finished and she had read it all. That’s a mom for you, right?! But it gave me an ounce of courage to show my writing to the rest of the world. 

Why did you choose YA genre?

I never chose YA, it chose me I guess. My strongest reader group is still women over 40! But I am continually drawn to the heart of a young adult. The turmoil of that time in our lives. It’s passions, vulnerabilities, and constant upheaval. It’s a unique time that can be both formative and life-changing.  

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

My second novel, Regent, is in its final stages of editing. If you’re interested, my webpage has book trailers of both novels and their first chapters. For anyone interested in being on my Street Team for the upcoming launch of Regent, reach out to me. I’m always looking for Beta readers.

Although Something I Am Not is a stand-alone novel, my readers have asked for a sequel. A few weeks ago, I began that. It was like meeting an old friend. I slipped back into his skin with little effort and am enjoying this new journey of healing through Billy’s eyes. 

 

Blog Stops

By The Book, July 4 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 5

Book of Ruth Ann, July 6

Artistic Nobody, July 7 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, July 8

Wishful Endings, July 9 (Author Interview)

Rebecca Tews, July 9

Inklings and notions, July 10

For Him and My Family, July 11

For the Love of Literature, July 12 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, July 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 14

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 15 (Author Interview)

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, July 16

Just the Write Escape, July 17

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cher is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fd98/something-i-am-not-celebration-tour-giveaway

12 Responses to “Spotlight And Author Interview — Something I Am Not”

  1. James Robert July 4, 2020 at 6:55 am #

    I encourage reading so having a family who loves to read I sure support.Thanks for sharing your terrific read with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lori July 4, 2020 at 7:27 am #

    I loved the story! It captured every emotion a person can feel! A reading must for any age group! I am would live to see a sequel!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. susiesellnergmailcom July 4, 2020 at 10:28 am #

    This sounds like a powerful book bringing awareness and prompting action regarding such tragic abuses in a child’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chergatto July 4, 2020 at 1:58 pm #

      Thanks Susie! Hope you have a chance to read! 🙂❤️

      Like

  4. Rita Wray July 4, 2020 at 11:41 am #

    Sounds like a great book.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Paula Shreckhise July 4, 2020 at 12:10 pm #

    I have heard good things about this book. My online book club read it a few months ago. But I didn’t have time to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Debbie P July 4, 2020 at 4:36 pm #

    This sounds like a great book about some tough subjects.

    Like

  7. carylkane July 4, 2020 at 8:12 pm #

    Great interview! Sounds like a must read. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Emma July 4, 2020 at 11:26 pm #

    This sounds like a hard book to read, but worthwhile.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. SARAH TAYLOR July 7, 2020 at 1:01 pm #

    Sounds like a great book Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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