2012 alumna Geltner self-publishes her first young adult novel

April 28, 2014

By Anna Huffman ‘17

Bradley alumna Michelle Geltner’ 12 recently self-published her first young adult novel, “The panther/girl.”

Geltner began writing in her youth and finished her first novel at age 16. She developed her writing skills on the Hilltop through poetic instruction from Dr. Kevin Stein and was news editor for The Scout.

Yet her enrollment in Young Adult Literature—taught by 2012 English department retiree Dr. Debra Burgauer—fostered a student-faculty relationship that impacted her decision to finish, and eventually publish “The panther/girl.” Geltner submitted a portion of her novel for the course’s final project and finished the novel as an independent study with Burgauer.

“Taking the Independent Study with Dr. Burgauer was motivation to finish ‘The panther/ girl’ after nine years of drafting,” Geltner said. “Her feedback was honest and invaluable. By the time I was finally done with the story, Dr. Burgauer encouraged me to publish the novel.”  

“Even in the early development stages, the novel had publishing potential,” Burgauer said. “With numerous referrals to articles, books, and websites, my husband and I gave Michelle the encouragement she needed to stay on track and publish ‘The panther/girl’ for interested readers, which she has done with vast success.”

Currently, Geltner works for a civil engineering company and will become the company’s first grant writer. She primarily works in the marketing department. She also plans to continue her creative writing endeavors and promises an eventual sequel to “The panther/ girl.”  She encourages English students to apply for job positions at engineering companies because numerous enterprises search for a graduate with expert writing skills.

“Writing a book requires ideas, discipline, planning, time management, patience and “just do it” persistence,” Burgauer said. “Michelle has put in the time with fantastic results.”