Growing Up in the
Shadow of the Extreme
Written By Kelly Barbazette
hile Carly Gelsinger was
teaching her students at
Gavilan College how to
write their memoir, she was quietly
remembering and crafting her
Raised in a remote, small town near
the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Gelsinger,
31, grew up under the shadow of an
extremely fundamental Pentecostal
church. However, she didn’t realize
she could carve a book out of her
experiences until she began recounting
her time in the church with friends
“The more I told the stories, the
more I realized there were stories to be
told,” she said.
In her newly released memoir
“Once You Go In,” Gelsinger describes
her journey from the time she joined
the church’s youth group at the tender
age of 13 to when she left the church
about a decade later.
She began writing her manuscript
five years ago shortly after moving to
Gilroy with her husband, Josiah, when
their youngest daughter was an infant.
She realized there weren’t many books
about Pentecostal faith and set about
telling her story.
She completed her first draft within
GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN
a year and the spent the next few years
fine-tuning it while teaching memoir
writing, starting a writing business,
and adding to her family. She has been
married for ten years and has a new
baby as well as two girls, ages 6 and 2.
She said the lengthy writing process
helped her make sense of what hap-
pened to her.
“(My book) is definitely for people
who have been in cults and have been
burned by church, but my goal for it
was to have a wider appeal and what
I hear from readers is it does that.
So, I’m happy to hear that.”
She shares with her students