Welcome to week two of my author interview with Gillian Marchenko about her book Sun Shine Down! This week Gillian discusses motherhood, writing, and how she makes the two work together.
1. Would you recommend this book only to special needs moms?
No, I think this book resonates with all sorts of people. Of course, special needs parents, but also anyone who has been taken by surprise in life. And who hasn’t?
2. Were you nervous for other moms to read that it took you a while to love Polly?
Yes, that still makes me nervous. I know some will read Sun Shine Down and think that I was self-centered, uncaring, and stupid, because I was. But I have to believe that if there are moms angered by my story, there are probably twice as many thankful that someone was honest enough to talk about the hard parts. I have a quote in the book that I whole-heartedly promote: “I know of other mothers who had children with special needs and right away they loved them and decided to fight for them. That’s not my story.”
3. Why did you share so many of your struggles in the book?
Once the book published, and my struggles and sins were out there for all to see, it bothered me that people would know. But in the beginning of the project, when my husband Sergei and I agreed I would mold my writing into a book, we agreed I absolutely had to share the hard parts. I’m a person of faith. Without hard parts, the good parts aren’t as good. Without darkness, the light is not as bright. Those parts are where grace lives.
4. What’s it like being an author, and a mother of four?
Once I understood I was no longer writing journal entries (with a nod of approval from my husband Sergei and our children), time was carved out of the family schedule to write. I am fortunate to have a supportive spouse with a flexible work schedule.
I aim to write three days a week. I start at eight after the kids go to school and end at three o’clock when the children return. On writing days, I don’t do other things. No laundry, no errands. I am a mom, though. School assemblies and doctor appointments never fail to show up on scheduled writing days. With young children, I am thankful for what I get.
As I read Gillian’s book, I found myself nodding at so many things she was writing about, from the feelings of isolation to the guilt and sometimes even the depression, and more. Her story is, in so many ways, my story, yet different and unique to her own life at the same time. Within the pages of Sun Shine Down, she is relatable, down to earth, and honest. I found this to be true when I talked with her via telephone, as well.
Did you miss Part 1 of this series? Be sure to read Sun Shine Down: A Memoir by Gillian Marchenko~An Author Interview!
If you have not had a chance to read Gillian’s memoir, you can find it on Amazon. Go ahead and make your purchase. It is worth a read!
Gillian Marchenko is an experienced writer and speaker who lives in Chicago with her husband Sergei and four daughters. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Chicago Parent, Thriving Family, Gifted for Leadership, Literary Mama, Today’s Christian Woman, Charlottesville Family, EFCA Today, and the Tri-City Record.