I’m hosting the book tour today for memoir “Sister Surrendered”, with an interview. I hope you enjoy the interview.
What’s the hardest part of being an author?
Being completely honest, for me, the hardest part is considering myself an author at all. Writing a book is not something that I had envisioned on the horizon for me, ever. I did develop a love for writing screenplays several years ago. The entire process of learning the proper formatting, character development etc. became very therapeutic for me. But even then, I never saw myself as a screenwriter either. The truth is, I think this a common thinking pattern for anyone who struggles with self-esteem issues. I’ve never been extremely comfortable in the whole “self-promotion” arena, but I’m working through this every day.
Can you give us a short synopsis of Sister Surrendered?
After many years of struggling, I lost my twin sister Kelli to over-prescribed, addictive, suicidal medications. A lawsuit was filed against the United States government and a settlement agreement reached.
Frustrated and angry, I wanted to immediately instill public awareness of the treatments associated with medications for patients diagnosed with PTSD; we both served together in the U.S. Navy for six years. So I wrote “Sister Surrendered” (an eBook and Paperback on amazon.com released April 12, 2014). It is a documented journey barely scratching the surface of the love between us. It’s also an outlet for me to speak candidly and honestly about my struggles since Kelli’s death. It is a love story turned tragedy, and now a mission. It’s an exposure of one of the greatest healthcare failures killing Veterans and civilians today, and a cry for help to remedy the fiasco.
This memoir includes actual journal entries written by Kelli, destined to pull on the heartstrings of even the sturdiest. It’s a book riddled with raw emotions that will pull you in, and by the end, undoubtedly have you empathizing with Kelli.
What inspired you to write this book?
My sister’s journal entries in addition several discussions she and I had over the course of many years. It’s in her writings that she expressed her desire for me to tell her story, saving lives in the process. She felt strongly that by sharing her struggles, that dialogue would commence amongst the public, including political figures that could help promote change.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
It depends on the chapter. On the lighter ones, I probably spent at the most, an hour or two. But on the tougher ones, at times, barely an hour or so. Emotionally, some of the chapters were almost impossible for me to get through, feeling as though I was peeling of the bandages of wounds I had forgotten about.
Name your top five favorite books.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
The Law of Attraction
The Time of My Life
What are you working on now?
Right now, being self-published, my sole focus has to be on promoting Sister Surrendered. However, I have spent some time kicking around ideas for another book sometime in the near future. For me, revealing certain truths about myself, my life, and Kelli’s has been freeing. I’ve never been much of a journal-keeper, so for me, perhaps its books that I need to concentrate on. I’m still very focused on pursing my acting career as well and that’s something that will forever be my main focus, at least for now.
Author: Darla Grese
When you’re a twin, loneliness is somewhat unfamiliar because you’ve always had each other. So when a twin passes, the other is left unprepared. Our loyalty was steadfast and our devotion to one another, solid. Our love was unconditional no matter what the circumstances. I’m so grateful every day for the memories of the joy and laughter that we shared together. I know the bond that Kelli and I shared is impossible for anyone to replace.
This memoir has become something so much more than initially intended. It’s become a documented journey barely scratching the surface of the love between two sisters. And surprisingly, it’s also become an outlet for me to speak candidly and honestly about my struggles with the cause of Kelli’s death. This is a love story turned tragedy. An exposure of one of the greatest healthcare failures killing Veterans and civilians, and a cry for help to remedy the fiasco.
I’ve stressed about who I would mention in this book, nervous that I would hurt someone’s feelings by not mentioning their names. But I’ve realized that it’s impossible to do. Kelli had so many great friends, some I’ve never even met.
I need each person to know who has taken the time to reach out to me in whatever capacity that if it weren’t for your heartfelt show of support and love, I don’t know that I would be able to muster the energy to even get up each day. Kelli, we did it.
Darla M. Grese is a twin sister who lost her better half to side effects from prescribed medication. As a U.S. Navy Veteran, she is an advocate of Veteran X and Veteran Hope programs that address mental illness, PTSD, and unintentional addiction issues. Both programs are sponsored by the Veteran Affairs Medical Center and focus on Veteran recovery and independence. She raises money for Team Kelli and annually participates in the Out of the Darkness Walk at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach (http://www.sos-walk.org/sos/). While continuing to bring awareness to this cause, being a loving parent is her favorite passion and the main focus of her life. Darla’s love for the arts has been expressed as a talented actress with appearances in The F.B.I. files, The New Detectives, Diagnosis Unknown, Wicked Attraction, Discovery Channel’s The Haunting, and the movie Atlantis Down. She currently works full time as a respiratory therapist at a trauma center in Norfolk, Virginia.