Author Interview Sister Surrendered

28 Jun


I’m interviewing Darla M. Grese today, author of memoir “Sister Surrendered”. Welcome, Darla, and thanks for taking the time to answer our interview questions.

First, tell us about yourself – where you live, your family, and those sorts of details.

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, one of the greatest cities in the nation. After High School Graduation, I joined the Navy alongside my twin sister Kelli, which took us through six exciting years, but ultimately, we ended up staying in Virginia. I still have family in Pittsburgh, but Virginia Beach is now where I consider home.

How long have you been writing?

I began dabbling with writing screenplays in 2002. It became my “go to” when I felt stressed or overwhelmed with Kelli’s struggles. I downloaded the cheapest software that I could find, it was terrible. But I taught myself the formatting, structuring etc. And over the course of a little over one year, I ended up finishing Petty Officer Grasso. Writing for me has become an amazing outlet in several different aspects.

Do you have a favorite place to write?

Yes, my bed. I’ll wake up extremely early, pour myself a strong cup of black coffee, turn on my little electric fireplace and start writing. I have to write early in the mornings, prior to my mind becoming cluttered with every day issues.

Why did you decide to write Sister Surrendered?

Writing Sister Surrendered wasn’t really a decision, it was an obligation, as far as I’m concerned. After my previous conversations with Kelli, and then after reading her journal, it was obvious to me that I had to write Sister Surrendered, contingent on my emotional status allowing me too. Waiting three years and giving myself a little bit of time, made it possible for me to get through the writing process of the book.

Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

Both. I always proof read what I write several times, but I also have an amazing editor, Evan Fiedler, who then comes in to make the final polishes. Together we make a fantastic team, coming from two very different walks of life. He’s one of the smartest guys I know, but also one of the funniest without even trying.

Tell us what you’re working on at the moment.

Currently my focus is on the promotion of Sister Surrendered, at least for now. But I’d also like to start doing some speaking, perhaps to veterans groups, medical students, suicide survivors, etc. My way of giving back is to share Kelli’s story, our story.


Sister Surrendered

Sister Surrendered Ebook Cover jpgTitle: Sister Surrendered

Author: Darla Grese

Genre: Memoir

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.

Author Bio

277920_4153854852406_1828888743_oDarla 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 ( 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.





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