The Gulag P-Pa Diaries – Author Interview











A Bittersweet Memoir of Grandparenting
Genre: Memoir / Christian / Humor / Grandparenting / Family
Publisher: CKN Christian Publishing
Date of Publication: April 22, 2020
Number of Pages: 268

Scroll down for the giveaway!


As new empty-nesters, Harriet and Preston next looked forward to becoming grandparents. Their journey to assuming the names of Mema and P-Pa, however, took a tragic and unexpected turn.




From the Mouths of Babes

Author Preston Lewis Interviews The Grands

Plus a bonus guest post by Miriam Lewis, aka Wordstar


As our grandchildren—or “The Grands” as we call them—grew, we came up with nicknames that reflected their personalities or talents, in our view—though not necessarily theirs.


  •  Hannah: Bookworm (for her precociousness and love of reading)
  •  Cora: Songbird (for her compassion and natural singing abilities)
  •  Miriam: Wordstar (for her imagination and use of the English language)
  •  Carys: Saucepot (for her ingenuity and feisty approach to challenges)
  •  Jackson: Trainwreck (for his boyish exuberance or, as his aunt explained, “being a minority in a sorority”)


What do you like most about Camp Mema/Gulag P-Pa?

Songbird: I like making the movies best, and I adore the western town named for me.

Saucepot: Being with my cousins.

Wordstar: Making movies with my Kemp cousins and Mema and P-Pa.

Trainwreck: I like Camp Mema because she makes muffins, and I don’t really like Gulag P-Pa that much.

Bookworm: Hanging out with the cousins


What’s your favorite food at camp?

Bookworm: Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing.

Songbird: Cookie pizza is my favorite.

Wordstar: Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting.

Saucepot: I love the cookie pizza.

Trainwreck: Cookie pizza!


What do you think of The Gulag P-Pa Diaries book?

Wordstar: I really love it, and I really recommend it for everyone.

Songbird:  I love it because it’s very sweet and funny.

Saucepot: I would say five thousand stars! I felt famous when I saw my picture on the cover.

Trainwreck: I’ll say it’s a thumbs-up. It was amazing to be on the cover of a book!

Bookworm: It’s nice remembering what happened at all the camps. It proves what my Dad said, that Mema is perfect and P-Pa is adequate.


The Last Word

Wordstar, or Miriam, our essayist, insisted on this final comment: None of the kids who gave answers to these questions were paid to do so.


Favorite Place in Texas!

by Miriam Lewis, aka Wordstar


I really like going to San Angelo! It is really fun to see my grandparents and cousins. My cousins and I usually go for Thanksmas (Thanksgiving and Christmas combined) or we go for “Camp Mema and Gulag P-Pa” in the summer. I really wish I could go to San Angelo more often!


It is really fun to go to Camp Mema and Gulag P-Pa and do Thanksmas with my cousins! My cousin Carys and I are known as “The Giggle Twins” because we giggle a lot whenever we sleep in the guest room instead of the main room with my other cousins and my sister. Carys and I are about the same age and are best friends! I also have a little cousin named Jackson. He absolutely adores my sister Hannah, and she acts really nice to him, even though when I get too close to her, she yells at me. I also have an older cousin named Cora; she is nice and likes to sing. When we go to Camp Mema and Gulag P-Pa, my grandparents (whom we call Mema and P-Pa) have a birthday party for all of us, and we get presents and cupcakes! We also do Thanksmas where we stay a few days to have Thanksgiving supper and we get Christmas presents!


We also make movies using P-Pa’s camera (at camp)! It is really fun to shoot the scenes with my cousins! P-Pa set up a Western town one year, and my cousins and I have a lot of fun playing with it! It usually gets really messed up when we finish playing with it. Then one day, Cora set the Western town back up, and it got named Coraville in her honor.


I also enjoy doing Camp Mema and Gulag P-Pa and Thanksmas with my grandparents Mema and P-Pa! I enjoy baking with Mema! It is fun to make cookie pizza and muffins. I am usually the one that bakes with Mema, but sometimes Carys does it too. Mema and P-Pa ask us to send them our birthday and Christmas lists on Amazon so that they could get and wrap the presents early. Whenever we do the movies P-Pa is always the bad guy, while Mema is always the good guy (or girl). The movie script for this year I helped write, and it was actually my idea! It is called “Mother Mema’s Mixed Up Fairytales,” and I am really excited to make it! After coming up with that idea, I just kept on having more and more ideas for movies. On the next Camp Mema and Gulag P-Pa, I am going to get writing lessons from P-Pa on how to write fiction! Usually after a few camps we each learn to sew from Mema. Hannah did it first, and now Cora is doing it; after Cora it would have been me, but I am taking writing lessons instead!


I really enjoy going to Camp Mema and Gulag P-Pa in the summer and for Thanksmas! I wish I could stay at least a bit longer and spend more time with my cousins and grandparents! It is really fun, but do you know what would make it more fun? MY DOGS!!!


Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of thirty novels. In addition to his two Western Writers of America Spurs, he received the 2018 Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Western Humor for Bluster’s Last Stand, the fourth volume in his comic western series, The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax. Two other books in that series were Spur finalists. His comic western The Fleecing of Fort Griffin received the Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association for best creative work on the region.


Book signed by P-Pa (the author), Mema, and The Grands
Book signed by the author
AUGUST 4-14, 2020

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