Long Beach author Donna Gilcrist is turning her mess into a message. Having lived through helping her son with drug addiction, she is sharing her story of tragedy and triumph in a new book, My Kid Is Doing Drugs and Got Arrested: Now What?, to help and inspire other parents going through the same situation.
Carma Spence: What types of genres do you like to write in?
Donna Gilcrist: I am a first time author and started with a "labor of love book" which is a hybrid nonfiction and memoir. I could best be described as a nonfiction writer. My medical background will dictate my future books.
CS: Where do you get your ideas?
DG: My ideas come from my daily life. My Kid Is Doing Drugs and Got Arrested: Now What? grew out of my desire to help other parents who have discovered their teen is using drugs. It is a devastating discovery and feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and fear kick in.
I use my son's story throughout the book. Matt's story is one of hope and recovery. I am turning my "mess into a message" for parents. The societal issue of teen substance abuse is huge and the City of Long Beach has not escaped its devastating effects.
CS: Did you always like writing?
DG: Most of my writing in the past has been medically related. But I do remember complaining when I was writing my masters thesis in grad school thinking that it was simply a academic exercise. But, it was because of that experience I was able to logically approach writing my nonfiction book.
CS: Do you have a set schedule to do your writing?
DG: When I get an idea I will be obsessed with getting everything written down while the ideas flow. Then it sits for awhile and I come back to it to further develop it.
CS: How do you feel about the current state of writing? Is this a good time for writers?
DG: Judging from the number of books I purchase (kindle and otherwise) and read, and assuming I am an average person I would guess it is a good time for authors. But as a novice writer I am still learning the ins and outs of this field.
CS: What is the best advice you've ever received as a writer?
DG: Believe in your story and go forward with it.
CS: What is the best advice you can give as a writer?
DG: Finding a good manuscript editor is crucial to producing a quality product.
CS: What's next for you and your writing?
DG: I am working on a book based on the needs of college women with regard to sexual health.
CS: Are you a Long Beach native or a transplant?
DG: I was born in Long Beach during the 1950's at a maternity hospital. Grew up in Redondo Beach and came to Long Beach for college. I have been a Long Beach resident now for 30 years. Both of my adult children have grown up here in Long Beach and attended High Schools here. My son Matt, the inspiration for the book, is currently a fine arts student at Long Beach City College.
CS: What do you like about being a writer in Long Beach?
DG: Writing aside, Long Beach is a wonderful, diverse city with many things to do.
If you would like to learn more about Donna and her work, visit her website at Donnagilchrist.com.
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