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‘Growing Up Venice: Parallel Universes’ Receives Coveted Next Generation Indie Book Award

Dr. Donna Friess

Growing Up Venice Book Cover

New Generation Book Award

Author Shares Importance of Writing to Preserve Family History and Stories

Once the storyteller is gone, so are the stories unless they are written down”
— Unknown
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA, UNITED STATES, June 8, 2021 / -- Growing Up Venice: Parallel Universes, the latest literary accomplishment of writer and historian Donna Lewis Friess, Ph.D., was named a finalist of the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The Southern Calif. author wrote her account of growing up in Venice, California in the 1940s during the pandemic shutdown.
The book was a finalist in the Memoirs: Historical/Legacy category of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the largest International awards program for indie authors and independent publishers. Friess will be recognized during an online awards presentation on the evening of Friday, June 25.

Originally published in September 2020, Growing Up Venice brings Friess’s vibrant story to life in a personally written narrative based upon interviews and historical accountings.

Dr. Friess cites the importance of preserving family history and before writing Growing Up Venice, she read a line in a novel that stayed with her, ‘once the storyteller is gone, so are the stories unless they are written down.’ She said, “That line resonated so heavily with me that I heard it in the background as I wrote Growing Up Venice, my childhood stories and memories that would otherwise be forgotten.”

Friess grew up on the oceanfront in Venice in the midst of California’s 1940’s oil boom and the book begins with her great grandparents’ late 1880’s arrival in what would be become an iconic beach town. The book honors the Indigenous People who once lived on its shores and travels through Abbot Kinney’s magical Venice-of-America with stories spanning the discovery of oil, the evolution as an artists’ Mecca, a “must-see” tourist attraction through the arrival of high-tech Silicon Beach and the author’s account of holocaust survivors’ who lined the benches along the beach in Venice.

The author of eight books including her autobiography, Cry the Darkness published in seven languages, Friess was determined to bring a lost piece of Los Angeles history to life offering her account and the vibrant story of a remarkably idiosyncratic place in America.

Growing Up Venice is available at in Kindle format, black and white print and hard-back color print or for more information, visit

About the Author:
Donna L. Friess, Ph.D. is a fourth-generation Californian, historian, author and life coach. Professor Emeritus of Cypress College and the great-granddaughter of an early Southern California pioneering family, Friess is a member of the First Century Families of Los Angeles and The Orange County Pioneer Council. Dr. Friess was nominated for the American President’s Service Award and is a longtime member of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime: Technical Training and Advisory Council. She’s a board member of the California Mission Foundation and Los Angeles City Historical Society and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Locally, Friess serves on the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society board and is a docent at Mission San Juan Capistrano. An equestrian and dog enthusiast, world traveler, speed walker, half marathoner and portrait artist, she enjoys a rural lifestyle in San Juan Capistrano with her husband and large extended family.

About The Next Generation Indie Book Awards:
A complete list of 2021 winners and finalists is available at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards at The awards event will be streamed live online at 7:00 pm (Eastern Time) and 4:00 pm (Pacific Time) on Friday, June 25.

Barbara J Kimler
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