For the featured Author of the Month, Gorilla Girl Ink got to interview well-known author A. K. Buckroth, whose books speak to the theme of understanding diabetes and how to deal with it. One in eleven Americans is diabetic and this topic truly deserves attention.
Q: I see you’ve been honored with many awards for your books, both fiction and non-fiction, on the topic of diabetes. This is intriguing to me because I worked with my late husband, Jerry, combatting his disease. Tell us what in your experience has caused you to focus on diabetes?
A: Writing on the topic of diabetes was an easy decision. I have had diabetes since 1959, and it is important to me to inform the world of this terminal, pandemic disease. I have a lot to say, a lot to tell over the last 60 years. I am now a part of its history. People truly have no idea what this disease is about, how to take care with it nor how to live with it. Too many people think that insulin is the cure – it is not. It is a daily medication given through a needle, multiple times a day. Very dramatic and emotional and unappreciated.
I took seven years to write My Diabetic Soul – An Autobiography, and then have it published, a blueprint of health for everybody.
Q: You’ve written books for children and for adults. Please speak to the differences when you are writing to those two sets of readers.
A: Children: I purposely designed these paperback releases to resemble the sizes and shapes of children’s coloring books. They are illustrated chapter books, no more than 125 pages long, explaining the life of a T1D (Type One Diabetic) child and her diabetic dog named Money. The main character, Kali, named the dog Money because she used her saved up allowance money to pay for his adoption fee, a thoughtful and creative thing to do.
These books offer plain yet succinct details as to T1D. They are easy to read and understand. Adults also would greatly benefit and gain understanding of this disease when reading them.
The adult version, my first book, is an autobiography. Definitions of particular complications due to diabetes are mentioned and fully explained in this book. Gastroporesis, neuropathy, retinopathy, lipoatrophy, ketoacidosis are some examples, too complex and intangibly painful for a child to comprehend. Also, love interests and sexual activities along with multiple miscarriages due to imbalanced diabetes are shared in the autobiography. Due to using an insulin pump during my fifth pregnancy, it was a successful birth. That child has since become a United States Navy Chief.
Q: Your Me and my Money series offers a range of fascinating characters. What are some of the ways you create characters in your books?
A: The characters were formed from my childhood memories of specific neighborhood, elementary school, and summer friends. Friends outside of school as well as those in elementary school and summer camp were shared and recalled.
Q: I know you organize events for Northern California Publishers and Authors to meet the reading public. Please share what got you started in these events and what they mean to you and the authors you support in this way.
A: During my initial membership in this organization, I constantly heard complaints from many other author members regarding their poor sales, non-existent promotions, lack of how to do either, etc. My continual ongoing promotional and marketing for my own books was opened to this organization. No longer performing alone, or being a lone public speaker, self-invited to numerous events, I decided to open my operations to the NCPA members. Holding three business degrees, I knew how to find resources to accomplish book sales for all. Agreements with public venues such as libraries and indoor/outdoor craft fairs have been consummated. It’s simply a matter of finding certain people and places then asking if they’d be interested in what I have to offer.
Q: I wonder how you stay focused in your writing? Do you outline the story ahead, what we call “Plotters”? Or does the story come to you as you go along, like a “Pantser,” writing by the seat of your pants, so to speak.
A: I’m a “Pantser,” as you defined the process. Early morning hours, 3am or 4am, until 8:30am or so can find me at my dining room table with my laptop, typing away. The story simply comes to me. This is not a daily habit as I have other responsibilities that need my attention. But this early, quiet time is something I prefer.
Q: What else would you like readers to know about your books and you as a writer?
A: All my books are on Amazon.com in paperback and e-book formats. I am available to speak to an audience regarding diabetes, introducing myself as a courageous survivor. “A diabetes historian” is another title given me due to my following the changing processes of care with this disease since 1959. I’ve been called a “Professional Diabetic” at this point in time, as opposed to a “Diabetes Professional.” I like that.
I thoroughly encourage T1Ds to attend a diabetes summer camp for at least a few years. It was at The Clara Barton Birthplace Camp in North Oxford, Massachusetts, where I spent nine summers of my childhood learning about taking care of my diabetes. For instance, it was there at the age of six when I first gave myself an injection; it was there I learned the importance of diet with exercise and food substitutions; it was there I learned I wasn’t alone at that young age; it was there I learned I had a soul in this sick body and it would help me soar with zeal.
Gorilla Girl thanks Andrea for her books and their life-saving information delivered in style for readers. Click here for more on Andrea, who writes under the pen name A. K. Buckroth.
National Diabetes Awareness Month is in November. For more on this important subject, click here.
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