JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Gia Parker, editor of 16 Years to Life
(Quil & Tongue Publishing)
Young and innocent, Jaydah was born into a single family home to a mother living paycheck to paycheck. Though less fortunate, love conquered all. Then her mother met Reggie, a well-known drug dealer with a reputation for his rough handling of women, quick money became the name of the game.
Although wealth had fallen into her lap, young Jaydah was now forced into the world of drugs and prostitution. Just when life begins to settle, the justice system seizes her mother in an event that will change Jaydah’s life and the life of her families forever.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write 16 Years to Life?
Gia Parker: I was sent to Iraq in 2006. While there, I begin to think about my own life. When I returned to the states, I sat down and began to type. My mother was still incarcerated at the time, and I was a little discouraged about publishing a novel.
I was only 20 years old and had no idea what steps I needed to take to make it all come together. My mother, though far, always gave me the support I needed to keep pushing through with my new adventure. I wanted to reach out to other children that grew up in a similar situation as me to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
We focus so much on the imprisoned person without even giving a thorough to the children left behind. In some causes these children are left parentless, wards of the state, or thrown into homes that they are not welcomed in.
JP: What sets 16 Years to Life apart from other novels in its genre?
GP: I knew that there was a large amount of sexy, love-filled urban novels hitting the streets. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read them. I wanted to put out a real story that would challenge our community to use their brain and start thinking about how failing out youth will handicap our future as a society. So, I decided to put out something real that no one really likes to talk about.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to 16 Years to Life getting out to the public?
GP: Honesty, Tamika Newhouse. She has been my driving force. Days when I felt like it was all going to be lost, she pulled it back together and got me on track. God has played a major role in my completion of 16 Years 2 Life also. With out Him, I never would have made it.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish 16 Years to Life?
GP: I actually have no writing process. I just sit down and whatever comes to mind and let out on my keyboard. It took me 6 years to write 16 Years 2 Life and only because I hadn’t lived the ending yet.
JP: What’s next for Gia Parker?
GP: My next project is being brainstormed. I won’t give out too much information yet, but be watching for a second novel.