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Latino writers and authors are growing in numbers! They are taking ownership of their own narratives and using the power of storytelling to make sense of their own experiences and inspire others. Their efforts have had a significant impact on how Latino narratives are communicated and how the community is portrayed in literature. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Latino author spotlight goes to LA Native, Self Published Author, and Business owner Gabriela M.C! 

Gabriela M.C. is a first-generation Mexican- American from Baldwin Park CA. From a young age, Gaby was determined to do well in school and go to college. At the age of 16, she graduated high school and attended UCLA. Gaby then graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Sociology in 3 years. Then she attended USC and obtained her master’s in social work. Post graduating from USC, she started a podcast. After one of her supporters requested Gaby to speak about her UCLA experience, she was moved to write her book 16 and a College Student. In the following interview, Gaby shares more about her experience as a self-published author and about her book. 

Tell us a little bit about your book… What inspired you to write your book 16 and A College Student?

Being the first one in my family to attend UCLA and all the experiences around identity, culture, and mental health is what inspired me to write this book. I truly thought to myself that if I could have had someone who would’ve shared their experience as a first gen college student with me, I would’ve felt less alone throughout all of it. I was the “go-to” family member when any of my cousins needed help, for example, so once I found myself in need of help I didn’t even know how to ask for help. Plus, being at UCLA and knowing the weight and social pressure that the brand carries, made it hard for me to ask for help because I felt like everyone there knew what they were doing.

What was the process like publishing your first book? 

I self-published and to be honest, it was a pretty smooth process. I had to google my way through everything, but I got it done in a total of 9 months. The logistical part was easy; it was the re-living of my experiences as I wrote about the more traumatizing aspects of the college experience that was hard. I remember there were times when I wouldn’t write for weeks, but it was because I knew that the next chapter was going to be emotionally intense for me. I wanted the reader to have the whole story including the ugly parts. It was about being vulnerable, a place not many people like to go to.

What have you discovered about yourself since finishing your book?

Writing this book was a powerful experience for me. It started with me trying to help others by having my story available to any first gen kid who was about to embark on the same journey, but little did I know that it was going to help me instead. As you read my book, you’ll learn about generational trauma that I carried and eventually learned about through my sociology classes. It’s a book that takes you through my experience in going from someone who struggled with her relationship with her father, to someone who understood her father’s experience and how it was related to her now a reality. What the reader won’t know after finishing the book is that once I published it my father’s father passed away the next day. I was able to read my book to my father days before the burial and we had our own healing experience as a result. I never thought that in trying to help others, this book would, in turn, help me heal as well. 

Any advice for first-generation Latino/a/x who are thinking of writing a book? 

Don’t wait for a publisher to pick up your story to find it worthy of telling. Writing this memoir has opened so many doors for me and at the end of the day, if it helped just one person, I had fulfilled my purpose. It has done so much more than that and we need our stories out there for others to feel seen and heard. Being vulnerable is scary and it is definitely not for everyone, but I’ve learned that it is part of my journey and I’m grateful to be able to share my story with those who are willing to hear it. 

Gaby is working on her second book where she will elaborate more about her life post-UCLA. In addition to being a self-published author, Gaby runs her own podcast, has a small business in Bellflower, and mentors female entrepreneurs. 

To learn more about Gaby and support her journey check out the following links:


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