Author Interview – Cher Gatto

Something I Am Not Blog Tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Something I Am Not by Cher Gatto, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Something I Am Not by Cher GattoTitle: Something I Am Not
Author: Cher Gatto
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas
Release Date: January 25, 2019
Genre: Mature Young Adult

A father who never loved him. A woman who stole his worth. 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, he is introduced to a younger brother he never knew he had. An eight-year-old, barely capable of navigating the distorted and corrupt world of his father’s boxing club. Billy realizes in order to protect his little brother, he can never leave.
After discovering a battered young woman in the back shed of the club, Billy uncovers the true nature of his father’s activities. Before he can share it with the sheriff, Billy is kidnapped by his father and sold to a wealthy old maid who imprisons him on her yacht in the Gulf of Mexico. His death is fabricated and his little brother used as leverage for his compliance.
In order to secure his freedom, Billy must fight for it. To save his little brother who is next in line for the slave trade… he must die for it.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository



Cher Gatto

Cher Gatto is the award-winning author of Something I Am Not. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their five teenaged children. Together, she and her husband founded a kids’ ranch in Mexico ( and a recovery ministry ( based in NJ. Cher also launched the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) NY/NJ chapter to support other writers in her area and currently serves as president.

Visit her website: and sign up for her newsletter and monthly blog for inspiration and encouragement. Follow her on Instagram @chergatto.

CONNECT WITH CHER: Website | Facebook | Instagram

An Interview with Cher

When did you first know you wanted to be an author? 

My story is a little different than most. I never meant to be a writer. It’s something that happened to me when I wasn’t looking. I was a good writer in school, but it was homework, an assignment, or something I had to plow through to get on with life. I had never even considered what could happen if writing got a hold of my heart. Until it did!

When you are not writing, what other hats do you wear? What do you do for fun?

Outside of being an author, I teach high school math and psychology. Everyone I know laughs at that, especially the math/writer part, but I think it reflects an underlying way I perceive things. I am also an artist for fun. And in all of these, I see the world up close. Personal. Like a lens that zeros in on the deepest shadow and brightest highlight. I’d rather paint a drop of rain than a landscape. And I’d rather dive into the soul than write an action plot in third person. It’s kind of just who I am, and it comes out in all facets of my life.

What is your favorite genre to read? What about that genre draws you?

Hmmm. This is actually hard for me to define. I enjoy drama and suspense, but not necessarily confined to a particular genre. It could be romance, young adult, contemporary. I’m not so crazy about historical romance or mystery, and definitely not sci-fi. I am drawn to the classics: Anything Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, etc. And I miss the rich vocabulary of those writers in our modern-day fiction. When I write like that, my editor calls it “purple” prose and chucks it out!

What historical figure do you admire and why?

Many of you might not know her, but Charlotte Mason is a historical figure that impacted my life as a new mom—especially as I dove into the world of homeschooling. She trained governesses at the turn of the century and taught them how to teach the children in their charge. And, in turn, she taught us to use living books—books written by people passionate about the subject they wrote on. She taught us how to invite our students into nature, music, art and literature and step away so they make their own deep connections with it. She redefined how I understood teaching.

Where did the inspiration for this story come from? 

Our family (my husband, myself, and our five children) lived in Mexico for ten years developing a horse ranch for kids in poor areas, at-risk youth, and broken families. Our co-workers ran a women’s shelter, and we used the horses to love on them. I say “women’s” shelter, but most were children themselves (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—just 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, but four hundred and fifty pages later, I was done. I guess it was all in there, needing to come out. To help me process life through it. And offer another ending. One I could control. A redemption to the brokenness and depravity. 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. And it gave me hope. A hope I wanted to share.

Who did you have in mind as you wrote the book?

I’m not sure. No one in my life at the time. A part of me, I imagine. I laugh about it—that my alter ego is a teenage boy. He was the voice that spoke through the story. Later, after it was written, I picked famous actors who would match my idea, but they never drove the image of Billy as I wrote him. He was one of a kind.

Which character did you enjoy writing most?

Definitely Billy. He was complex in so many ways and his authenticity never ceased to amaze me. Through him, I could explore deep brokenness and redemptive grace to its fullest.

Because I am a K-12 school librarian I have to ask – what is your favorite children’s book?

Hands down, C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series. I never tired of reading them aloud to my kids. When my children were really little, I always looked for one of Patricia Polacco books from our local library. Nothing beat her masterful storytelling and rich illustrations. And of course, we loved Dr. Seuss! You said “book” (singular), didn’t you? Okay, Winnie-the-Pooh.

Every year I organize a Young Authors Day for the kids at our school. What advice would you give to a child who wants to be a writer?

Look for the magic every day. Life is made up of the things we write. Grab them as you go along. They can pop up anywhere. A funny thought. An odd person. A new smell. A crazy dialogue. Capture them. Write them down. Don’t worry about “how” you write it, just write it. It’s those things that fall outside of the box that are worth holding onto.

Thank you for joining me today. I appreciate you taking time to answer my questions.


(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Something I Am Not JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight April 27, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on May 4, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.




Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Disclaimer – I have not read this book so I cannot speak to its appropriateness for a K-12 Christian School library.



  1. Thanks so much for including “Something I Am Not” on your blog! I appreciate the chance to meet new readers! Hope it introduced new people to your blog as well. Thanks! Cher

    Liked by 1 person

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