"Read My Lips" is the new initiative began in November 2006 to encourage reading and writing among those both young and old. We want to help feed a passion for the written and spoken word to help individuals continue to mold the future. Want to know how you can be featured? Contact us at cawebb4@juno.com or 601.896.5616.

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Get your literary word search ebook for only $5.00
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Conversations Founder C. A. Webb Gives Most Personal Interview To Date--- Mon. June 2, 2008

In what is being called his most personal interview to date, Conversations Book Club/Hiphop & Books Founder Cyrus A. Webb will be the special guest on "Naked Conversations" Radio Show on Monday, June 2, 2008 at 4p.m. CST (5p.m. EST).

The poet,journalist, visual artist, radio and television host will talk about the work that he has dedicated his life to as well as something he has never discussed in public until now: His views on Senator Obama and the race for the White House. Among the topics will be this "Barak Obama: Does he deserve to get our black vote?"

To listen live to the show and to give your feedback, visit The Naked Conversations Radio Show www.blogtalkradio.com/naked-conversations call in number

This is one discussion you don't want to miss. To find out more about the work that Webb is involved in, visit http://www.thebestbookclub.info or http://www.hiphopandbooks.com.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Conversations Book Club welcomes Bestselling author Dynah Zale!

Conversations Welcomes Bestselling author Dynah Zale!

THURSDAY, MAY 29, 2008
6p.m. --- Panelist during forum "HIPHOP: Why The Bad Rap" @ Richard Wright Library (515 W. McDowell Road * Jackson, MS); Admission free. Details, http://www.truconversations.com.

FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2008

10-12p.m. --- Meet and greet at Pearl Public Library (Pearl, MS)
1-3p.m. --- Booksigning @ Wal-Mart, HWY 18 (Jackson, MS)
4-5p.m. --- Meet and greet at Richard Wright Library (Jackson, MS)

SATURDAY, MAY 31, 2008 (Atlanta, GA) Comfort Inn (795 Pollard Blvd.)

11-12:45p.m. --- Meet and greet with authors and book lovers
1-2:30p.m. --- FORUM: The Business of Books ( authors discusss the joys and politics of publishing)
2:45-4:00p.m. --- FORUM: The Pros and Cons of Book Clubs. Why do they matter?
4:15-5:30p.m.--- What is ATL reading? Book lovers speak about what's hot and what's not.

C'MON. What are you waiting on? JOIN THE ADDICTION: Get hooked on books! http://www.thebestbookclub.info.

EXCLUSIVE: Watch footage of recording artist K. Lipsey here!

Conversations Book Club, Shadow Play Entertainment, Wal-Mart SuperCenter (HWY 18 * Jackson, MS) and their literary partners are pleased to provide you with this exclusive footage of recording artist K. Lipsey during his recent visit to Mississippi. He performed during the "Entertainment Hour at Wal-Mart", and we are pleased to share it with you! (Visit the link below!)

 (ABOVE: R&B crooners OndreaNicole and K. Lipsey at "Entertainment Hour" at Walmart)
To watch the Youtube footage, visit the link below:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

NEW VIDEO: C-Murder speaks about his name, reading and the future

On Saturday, May 17th Conversations Book Club President/Hiphop and Books Founder Cyrus A. Webb interviewed Platinum-selling recording artist Corey "C-Murder" Miller. In October 2007, Webb made history by conducting the first sitdown interview with Cee in over 5 years. (Watch that video by clicking here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=-WqRmiVj-Zs&feature=related)
(ABOVE: Webb and Miller---friends and partners in Hiphop and Books Initiative)
Now in 2008 with the two working together to encourage reading, you can watch as C-Murder discusses why he thinks the Hiphop and Books project is so important, along with why he thinks celebrities can do much to get people in books! The interview ends with the artist explaining how he got his name. Watch it here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=GYz8ydE0r_o
NOTE: If you missed C-Murder's endorsement of the Hiphop and Books project, visit this link:  http://truconversations.blogspot.com/2008/05/rapperauthor-c-murder-endorses-hiphop.html
To watch Conversations Book Club's other exclusive interviews, visit http://www.youtube.com/cawebb4.
C'MON. JOIN THE ADDICTION: Get hooked on books! http://www.thebestbookclub.info.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bestselling author Dynah Zale

Her writing style is both enjoyable and deep. Bestselling author Dynah Zale is part of the Q-Boro family and has gained a nationwide fanbase that has attracted men and women alike. With two full-length novels under her belt and more literary projects on the way, she is diversing her style of writing enough to remain credible for many years to come.

Here is our conversation.

We're talking with Dynah Zale, the bestselling author of DRAMA IN THE CHURCH. Dynah, first of all thank you for taking out the time to speak with Conversations. For those who might not be as familiar with you, why don't you tell them a little about who Dynah Zale is.
Well, I was born and raised in New Jersey. This is my first published work and I love to tell stories through the gift of writing. In my spare time (Which isn’t a lot) I like to stay in shape by jogging. I just completed my first playwright and I’m in the process of establishing my own production company. My first stage play Down & Out is scheduled for release in September.

Dynah, did it surprise you at all how well your book was received, not only by avid readers but critics well?
The success of my first novel was overwhelming. I never thought so many people would relate to the things I addressed in the book. I’ve received numerous e-mails from individuals thanking me for addressing the issue of teenage pregnancy in the church. Plenty of women were stigmatized by how the church treated them because they became another statistic for teenage pregnancy.

The idea about writing a novel that was based on faith and the church is not always an easy one. Were you at all concerned at how it would be received by staunch people of faith?

I had absolutely no reservations about writing a faith based book. Since, this book is loosely based on my life; I wanted to share my experiences with others. When I began this project I honestly thought our bible study group was the only one of its kind in the world. There are more Tressies’, Vals’, Olivias’ and definitely more Danyelles’ in this world then we think.

Tressie, like many of us, is some who believes in God but allows her personal desires and wants to get in the way sometime. With a book like yours, was part of the message how you can be a Christian and still not always make the best decisions?
Tressie loves the Lord, but like most young Christians it’s a challenge for her to be obedient to God’s word. I wanted to depict how all Christians (those who are still growing in their faith and those who have devoted their entire lives to Christ) can succumb to sin.

We all have challenges to our faith. Take the scene when Payce finds Reverend Kane at his--let's say--place of business. Do you think episodes like that will make some jaded and even resentful towards God and religion and general?
That’s a good question. If I was in Payce’s shoes and found my pastor working at the Doll House I’d have to look at her with a crooked eye. I think the problem arises when people give church folk, pastor’s and those committed in doing the Lord’s work God like characteristics. Society expect pastors to never stumble in their walk they must represent themselves as holy with no faults. Everyone has hang ups. God loves all people even scandalous homosexual pastors that live life on the down low.

You dedicated the book to your mother, someone who you also refer to as your best friend. Was she surprised at how your writing evolved from the time you initially showed interest in it to the novel that was eventually published?
My mother is not only my biggest supporter but also my biggest critic. I call her My Meticulous Mother because she is the kind of person who doubles checks everything. Every ‘I’ has to be dotted and every ‘T’ crossed. I have to admit I was nervous of what her reaction would be once she read DITC, but like most mom’s she sung my praises at my accomplishments.

Tell us about the writing process for you. When did you know this is what you wanted to do and what led you to Mark Anthony and the Q-Boro Books family?
My cousin (who is portrayed as Olivia in the book) confided in me about how members of our church treated her after she got pregnant. It took her fifteen years to get the courage to tell her story. Appalled, her story plagued me for weeks until I finally started writing about it and that process materialized into Drama in the Church.

My connection with Q-boro books was a unique blessing. They were looking for writers and fortunately I happen to be in the right place at the right time. They requested a short synopsis of my story. I submitted it, they were interested and I as made an offer.

In the dedication you call the book Christian Fiction. What does that mean to you?
To me, the definition of Christian Fiction is any novel, play or ensemble of words that forces any person to pause and look for a deeper meaning to life. I want to challenge all my readers to take off the rose colored glasses and see the real meaning behind the words. Critics nearly crucified me because this wasn’t what they would call Christian fiction. This book gives real life application to people who forgive for unforgivable sins.

Can you tell us about how your writing has helped you in your own faith?
I think my faith and creativity go hand in hand. I can’t have one without the other. No one can write without having faith in what their doing. Every writer needs to believe in what they do. Every idea that is conjured up in my head is a present form the Lord, because I pray everyday for creativity. If I didn’t write then I wouldn’t have peace of mind that what I’m doing places me in the center of God’s will for my life.

Again Dynah, thank you so much for this time. As we close, please feel free to speak to your fans and let our readers know how they can keep in touch with you.
Cyrus, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking with you. I want to thank your readers for their interest in me and my books. If they would like to contact me they can do so at Dynah.Zale@comcast.net

Our Conversation with Author Dante Moore

It will go down as one of the most talked about, controversial books of 2008—and the author’s name, Dante Moore, will be on the lips of many, for both the good and bad. THE RE-EDUCATION OF THE FEMALE is published by Strebor Books and takes us into what is wrong with the thinking of today’s women from a self-described “masculine, educated black man.” Moore’s book covers everything from relationships, the female’s view of manhood and the issues that have divided the sexes for years. Our conversation will definitely get your attention, and the book will get you talking whether you agree with him or not.

Dante, thank you for taking out the time to talk with us. Before we get into the book, tell our readers a little about yourself.
I’m just your everyday above average brother from the Washington D.C area.. I’m a father, a history buff especially Black history before slavery and of course an author.

Your debut book THE RE-EDUCATION OF THE FEMALE. It is definitely filled with a great deal of discussion pieces that we will get into, but I want to know what prompted you to write it as a first project? What prompted me to start the book were the questions about men from my female friends and also the misconceptions that Black women have about Black men. Today’s black woman has no idea what it takes to have a successful relationship with a black man or any man for that matter. They are clueless..

In a lot a ways I feel sorry for some of them because I know some well deserving black women will never be able to secure a lasting relationship with a man because of the things they were taught growing up and their current way of thinking.

When I first heard about the book, the first thing that came to mind was the book THE MIS-EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO. When do you think the image of females started to be misshaped?
I could take you all the way back to the 1640’s to explain that one but let me start with this. When black women started to believe in the myths of Western society more then they believed in the black man is when our relationship with them started to decline. With all the things happening to black men in the world like police murdering us and beating us in the street, the high HIV infection rate and other incidents of racism black women should have our backs more then ever, but they don’t. Some of them actually fuel the fire of hatred towards us because they have a misguided view of the world and what a quality relationship with a man should really be.

Also I have to mention that the author of the THE MIS-EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO Carter G. Woodson is one of my hero's.

Some might read the book and wonder why do you think you are an authority on telling women how they should live and handle their relationships. What would you say to that?
I don’t think anyone’s an authority on relationships. There isn’t an area of study where you can obtain a degree in relationships. Women take advice from other single women, their family, celebrities and even their homosexual male friends. Why not seek advice from the source: a heterosexual, masculine, educated black man?

Figuratively, I’m the fly on the wall telling you all the things you wouldn’t normally here from a man. It’s up to the individual if they chose to accept it or not.

Most women probably haven’t been too successful in relationships doing it their way so what’s the problem with trying a new approach? Now it’s written in black and white giving women a little insight. If women fail to take advantage then that’s their fault but from now on they can never say they weren’t told.

One of the interesting topics in the book is discussing what makes someone a "real man". Why don't you tell our readers a little about your rationale on that. As I stated in the book I don’t feel there is such a thing as a real man, at least not by today’s woman’s definition. It’s an unattainable moniker used mostly to demean men. Rarely is it used in a positive light. It’s an enigma like Mr. Right or Prince Charming. If you ask a hundred women what a real man is you would get ten thousand different answers because they don’t know how to define or classify the term. How could women know what a real man is, because a lot of them aren’t even being real with themselves? If there ever was such a thing as a real man he’s becoming extinct and women are killing him.

There are some lighter moments in the book, but the ones that stick with me are those that focus on issues that all of us deal with. One such topic is HIV/AIDS. Why do you think black people are so eager to sleep with someone they know so little about and on top of that take risk with unsafe sexual practices? Wow… that is a really tough question. If I had the single answer to that one I would be a billionaire. I will start with the lack of education about the disease. Some people just don’t believe they can catch it.

I think black people should treat HIV like its a biological weapon being used against them. They should take every precaution when having sex with a person. Before you have sex with someone they should get tested together. Even if they both test negative a condom still should be used. I also think ID cards should be given to all negative individuals. The card should be updated monthly and have the ability to maintain of log of three years worth of past results. We need to get serious about this disease and stop hiding it in the dark when you have deceitful people out there who are purposefully spreading it.

Dante, once the book was finished, how did you decide on what you were going to do with it? I never had any doubt that the book would be published. Either by myself or a major publisher. It’s one of those things that I think needed to be said. You know what I mean? I needed to make this statement. I had to get it out there but I never really thought it would be picked up by a major publisher because of its content.

And Zane? Walk us through your book getting in her hands and how you felt working with someone of her caliber not only as a writer but a publisher. I sent the manuscript to a few publishers, Strebor which is Zane’s company, being one of them. As you probably already know sending out your manuscript can get expensive real fast. So I thought why am I wasting my time and money sending it out when I can just self publish? So I started doing a lot of research on self publishing. I got the book professionally edited, I was in talks with a self publishing company, I was working with an artist on my cover design, I had my ISBN, and everything was set. I was about a week away from self publishing and that’s when I got an email from Dante Feenix of Strebor Publishing requesting another copy of the manuscript and a photo. I really didn’t think too much of it because I didn’t know how the processed worked. I thought it would probably take them six months to read it and who knows if they would ever contact me again so I stayed on my current path. A few weeks later I got a message from Zane explaining that she was interested in publishing my book. I was impressed with this. I’d heard her name often in regular conversations, on the radio, Showtime cable network and other places. I never thought I’d be getting a call from the Queen of Erotica. I called her back and we had a conversation about the manuscript. We talked about publishing and the Strebor family. She was very down to earth and just by speaking with her briefly I learned a few things about the vision she has for her company and the publishing industry. I thought it would be good to be involved with someone with such knowledge of the industry.

Because of the way it is written, the book could easily be used in workshops or classroom-style meetings. Is this something you had in mind when you were outlining it? Yes definitely. I wanted it to be used in a forum style setting so black men and women can discuss the problems that are affecting us. We need to come together and discuss a lot of these issues described in the book because if we don’t the situation is only going to get worse.

As a father, what do you hope your children get from your journey as a man in the world they are born into? I hope my children surpass me in all ways when it comes to things like their education, happiness, relationships, ambition, business and finances. I want to use my life to teach them what obstacles to avoid and what paths to pursue. Hopefully I can do all the hard work for them and set them up on easy street so they can have access to anything their hearts desire.

Thinking about those who will read your book, what do you hope they get from it at the end of the day?I hope they get a reality check and walk away with some new information they can use to help themselves improve their relationships. I hope they learn something that can help them now and in the future. We need to come together and bring back the Black family.

We really appreciate this conversation with you. The book will definitely be one that will be talked about for some time. How can readers get in contact with you or keep up with your upcoming projects?
They can check out my website at http://www.thereeducation.com. They can also email me at thereeducator@yahoo.com. Thank you.

Author of "War of the Bloods in my Veins" talks with Conversations

Dashaun "Jiwe" Morris has lived a life full of experiences that people two and three times his actual age has had to experience or endure. The 27 year old man is a warrior in every sense of the word, but has changed his battle plans and strategies over the years to become the man who walks the earth today. His memoir "War of the Bloods in my Veins" is a wake-up for all of those who live a life of dangerous choices and even  for those who glorify and worship those who say they live such a life. He takes us into the struggle, the pain and finally into the healing that has given him the strength to be here today.
In our conversation we talk about the importance of his truth, why he has chosen to be the voice of a violent generation and what he hopes people take from his experiences.

Dashuan, thank you for taking out the time to talk with Conversations. We have a lot I want to cover with your debut book and memoir, but before we get into that I want to talk about the writing experience for you. Have you been surprised at the way the book has been received? Absolutely, I mean when I wrote it, I knew I wanted it to help spark a new way of thinking or just a modified version from what we were used to. But to actually see how it's affecting people from all walks of life, older, younger, political, religious, all kinds of people have been affected by my story. Through this I am fully aware that my story was necessary. 
What led you to say that writing your story was the right thing to do?
Well for me life is about natural progression now. And when I add up all I've been through in life, I realize that that was just one chapter in my life. I've been working on the second part and that is the transitional period from gang life to fatherhood. And finally there is the giving back aspect. To me life is taking what we've been through, learning from it, and passing on what our experiences have been to those that may need courage and insight to fight many of the same traps we were faced with. 
You are still a young man, so why a memoir now?
That is what makes it so unique.  Why wait until I'm 40, out of my prime, out of touch with the younger generation, to tell my story when it can be helpful now. I have a message now.  Age isn't the important factor in my decision to write my story.  Although I'm 27, gang life has aged me, I feel 40. My thoughts are very old, my spirit is old. 
The things and situation you describe in the book might be difficult for some to comprehend or even fathom. Did you have a certain audience in mind or did you just want to get it all out there? Yes I did, two in particular: for gang members who are still out there in the streets stuck as I was, feeling hopeless, full of despair, no direction in life; and for single mothers who are raising males by themselves. So much can be prevented if they could intervene at a younger age, to be enlightened about what is happening to us boys growing up. 
As you know, life in a gang and the 'thug life' is glamorized quite a bit in movies and even in music and other forms of entertainment. This is a life that you live, that was a part of you just like anything else. Do you think having the firsthand experiences you did took away the shine of the life so many praised?
I hope so because it ain't something to look up to. I didn't choose this lifestyle, it chose me. I wanna make these youngsters see what my life was like and I hope it inspires them to at least want to exercise their potential to the max, knowing that life can become something if they hold on long enough and keep fighting. 

Your book War of the Bloods in My Veins has the subtitle of "A street soldier's march toward redemption". You were fortunate to have come through the fire a more refined individual. Why do you think you were able to do so when so many others were consumed by the life?
I believe in God now, so I know it was by design. Sometimes I still ask myself "why me?"  I have lost a gang of home boys, to prison or the grave. So it's hard at times to digest this newfound exposure and outlook on life. But I feel my dead homees are looking down on me proud of what their homee is doing. Next to my daughters, they are my strength to keep pushing this line of healing for gang members. We are scarred and wounded. 
In the book you talk about the importance of truth. Conversations talks a lot about walking in your own truth. What would you tell young men who hear of your story about the importance of living the truth?
Well the truth can be different depending on where you live.  If you're from Newark, the truth is different than living in Caldwell. The thing is learning what your truth is may come with time, after going through enough garbage, then you find what you really want, and once you find it I encourage you to never let go. It's a great feeling to be in control of your life or at least maintain stability in your life. Many of us never find our truth because the streets are filled with lies, deceit, and despair. I pray these youngsters hit their rock bottom before it's too late.   
With memoirs come the questions from readers and those like me in the press about your purpose for writing your book.  Now that your book is in print and available worldwide, what do you hope it accomplishes?
Change. Hope. The will to live. I want gang members to take a stand for their lives. We've been hurt and abandoned, neglected and shut out for so long; it's time to live. Time to be fathers, working men, positive people. 
Dashaun, we really do appreciate your talking with us. If our readers want to find out more about you and when you will be in their area, how can they do so?
I can be reached through my website at: http://www.jiweera.com.   
I want to say thank you for even doing this interview with me. I always take honor in speaking about my story because someone will benefit from my trial and error. I leave the youngsters with this, "Learn from my mistakes, IT'S FREE!" 

Conversations talks with Michael Jackson's real-life "Billie Jean"

In 1984 Star Magazine, a publication said to sometimes stretch the truth, was the first to reveal something that had puzzled many a music lover: who was the inspiration behind Superstar Michael Jackson's hit song BILLIE JEAN. They answered that question with not only an interview, but a series of pictures of the woman: Theresa Gonsalves.

Theresa's relationship with Michael began when she was twelve years old. She became "obsessed" with him and wrote him numerous letters until they met in Las Vegas for her sixteenth birthday! The obsession continued as they stayed in touch from that point on. Their worlds have continuously gone full circle always leading back to each other. They last saw each other four days before his arrest for these current child molestation charges as she introduced her own son Mychal (named after Michael) to him. Michael had his kids with him as well and was genuinely happy to see that Theresa's son was so well cared for! However, it was Theresa's son Todd that was the controversy behind the hit song Billie Jean. Her friendship with Michael was such that she confided in him about all aspects of her life. In detailing her situation about her baby's daddy....Michael wrote the song Billie Jean about her!

Her new book THE MAN IN THE WOODS is another fact-based novel that will keep readers enthralled. Our conversation explores the story and the woman whose true-live experience has made her a part of music history.

Theresa, thank you for taking out the time to talk to CONVERSATIONS about your life and your novel OBSESSIONS. I want to begin if we can at the beginning. Tell us about your earliest memories of your childhood.
Wow, my recollection of my early childhood actually goes back to before there was a Michael Jackson in the public eye. It was a lonely life for a young girl who was the middle child amongst four brothers. I was not a physically abused child but I was extremely neglected. At six years of age, I was taking the bus alone from the projects of Columbia Point to the city of Jamaica Plain to visit my grandmother. The significance of that memory is that I had to go through the infamous city of South Boston where I had to often dodge whites who would spit on me and throw rocks. I was constantly ducking down to avoid getting him by a rock aimed at the bus window. I had witnessed numerous traumatic scenes, which included a friend of ours getting smashed by an elevator and brought out in a green duffle body bag.
Mother spent most of her time with a variety of men. She was a single mother, having been divorced twice, with five kids. She had never relished the idea of having a daughter, which is why I was left to fend for myself at such a young age.

Because of things going on in your life at an early age, do you think you used music, books and writing as an escape? Yes, I used music and writing to escape quite a bit. Writing helps to heal the soul as well.

I read on your website www.obsessionsthebook.com that it was at the age of twelve that you felt drawn to one entertainer in particular. Would you tell us how their music affected you?
I was extremely drawn to the music of the Jackson Five and particularly that of Michael Jackson. I always felt he was singing directly to me. When Michael would sing I'll Be There, I personally felt that he was telling me that he would be there for me. He made me feel like there was someone who actually loved me. I wanted him to be proud of me so the direction my life took was to make him proud.

Theresa, there are alot of young people that are infatuated with certain entertainers: having all their records, posters and any article that they appear in. What were some of the things you would do to get to know Michael Jackson better?
I wrote Michael Jackson constantly….Okay, I wrote him almost every single day and I kept track of the letters (smile). I didn't write the normal fan letter. I wrote him about my life and everything that was going on it. I read everything that I could find about him. I would question some of the things that I read. But my letters were more geared towards telling him about my school grades, how my day would go and what I did in camp, etc. I learned how to get his home address under the freedom of information act because the post woman was tired of my sending him gifts to a P.O. Box. I never acted like a groupie and I never tried to have a sexual relationship with him.

When you began writing him, did you expect that he would actually respond? I never actually expected him to respond. There were letters I received from the fan club people with autographed pictures. That was discouraging, but somehow I still felt in my heart that he was reading my letters.

Reading letters from someone you admire it great, and a dream come true for so many. What was it like to finally meet him on your sixteenth birthday, and how did it happen?
Every day in school, I would write on the board, "Theresa Gonsalves loves Michael Jackson" and whoever was assigned to clean the boards after school would never erase it but would add a comment like…."but he doesn't love her" or "he doesn't even know her"…so I vowed to meet him by the time I turned sixteen. In July of 1974, I rode to New York to see the Jackson Five perform and even though I knew what hotel he was staying at I decided to go back to Boston instead of trying to be a groupie to meet him. When I arrived home the next morning, I called the hotel. Instead of asking for him, I asked for his road manager who was Reggie Wiggins at the time and they rang his room. He told me Michael was still asleep in the next room. I had their tour schedule in my hand and knew that they were going to be performing at the MGM on my birthday and I asked Mr. Wiggins if I fly to Las Vegas for my sixteenth birthday could I meet Michael Jackson and he said "Honey, if you fly from Boston to Las Vegas just to meet Michael Jackson, I will make sure you meet him." With that said, I began saving money to make this trip. I wrote letters to the MGM's President's secretary who arranged my room and I also wrote letters to every Black mayor I could find throughout the country asking them to contribute $5.00 to my dream. They all wrote back wishing me success with my endeavors but all stated they were unable to contribute.

I worked a part time job after school and saved all my money sacrificing any new school clothes and I made sure that I had straight A's in all my classes so I would be able to take a week off of school. In October of 1974, I called the Sahara Tahoe Hotel in Lake Tahoe where the Jackson's were performing and at this time I did ask for Michael's room and was shocked when they put me through. When I identified myself to him, he knew exactly who I was. I was in total shock as he recited the dates I was coming to meet him telling me I write it in every letter that I send him! So during the week of Nov 20-Nov 28, I was made their guest as we met for the first time.

How did the relationship between the two of you develop, and can you let us know how it affected the rest of your life?
The relationship developed into a friendship. I continued to write him and he continued reading my letters. I flew other places to hang out with him. I was invited to his home and when he was filming the Wiz, I spent two separate weeks in New York visiting him. Once I was going to fly to London just to meet him there! My relationship with him actually affected me in a good way. I became a strong woman, independent and it surely kept me out of trouble. In wanting him to be proud of me, I never did drugs. I have never smoked cigarettes. And, I can gladly comment that I have never been drunk in my life. On the other side of things, I also never learned how to have a real relationship with men.

Now, that we have set a foundation, Theresa, let's talk about your son Todd and the song "Billy Jean" and the controversy that followed. First of all, did you know he was going to be writing the song, and how did you feel when you first heard it?
I didn't know that he was going to be writing the song. I wrote him letters about my situation. At this time I was 23 years old and of course involved with the wrong type of man. I was living also in Encino at the time so I would see Michael from time to time. I didn't feel betrayed or anything when I heard the song. I didn't feel honored. That situation exists with so many women, more so now than in the past, or perhaps it is being put out there more. I had been with this man for over a year and here he was claiming my kid wasn't his. His song let me know he could understand what I was feeling, but that women often put men in that situation.

Since Michael Jackson has had his negative dealings with the press, were you afraid of how the cloud of curiosity would affect your own family?
No, I didn't feel that his negative dealings would affect us. We are very open and outspoken. I named my second son Mychal after Michael Jackson but spelled after the ex-lover Mychal Thompson who was from the Bahamas. I named my son after Michael as an honor for how he affected my life. I have been asked my opinion often and I will say that I do not believe Michael to be a child molester. But I will also say that you never truly know what a person is capable of as you take a look at all of the ministers that have sexually abused children. Michael Jackson has always worried about children. I remember being with him in New York and I had bought him a gift which was a book on child abuse and we shared our feelings on that even way back then (around 1977). As for being asked would I let my child visit him…that answer still remains yes but I would not allow him to sleep in bed with him or any man for that matter.

I think I read on your website that in 1984 Star Magazine ran the story saying that you were the real Billie Jean. Star, though not without its credibility issues, has been known to get many stories right. Did you agonize over revealing your identity and how did that change your life from that point? What about your son? Were you afraid of how he would be viewed as he grew older?
I didn't agonize over that. I asked Michael if he was okay with it and he was. It didn't change my life much at all. Both my sons have grown up being Michael Jackson/Jackson Five fans. Their friends often wondered how such young boys were so into the Jackson Five and now they know. As of today, my son Todd is married with two beautiful children!

All of this has the makings of a great movie, so it is no surprised that you wrote the book OBSESSIONS. What I am curious about is why you call is a novel, and did that make it easier for you to not feel a responsibility to tell the world all the details of your relationship with Michael Jackson?
"OBSESSIONS" isn't really about me and Michael Jackson. It is more about how my relationship with him actually led me to have an obsessive behavior towards men. I am not ashamed of my relationship or friendship with Michael Jackson and I shared with the world as long as it didn't hurt either one of us. It was hard sharing my story of being obsessed with this man who happens to be my son's father.

Can you tell us about the man who you were involved with that you felt like was trying to harm you?
This man that I was involved with was a very handsome charming man. I was with him for eighteen years and we have my son Mychal together. Underneath the charm however was a chameleon. He was leading three different lives (that I now know about…could have been more) and when I found out what he was truly about I felt that he had wasted numerous years of my life with him. I was truly obsessed with this man because I really didn't know how to be any other way just as I was obsessed with Michael Jackson at a young age to the point that it directed my life.

One of the reasons I wanted to talk with you, Theresa, was because I read on your website that you wanted your story to help women to see that they can overcome adversities in their life. I am curious to know some of the responses you have gotten from others about your experiences.
I am actually amazed at the responses I have received from women who have read my book. Most have read it in two days. I have received phone calls from strangers telling me that they saw themselves in the pages of the book and that it helped them get out of their relationship. Sometimes it takes reading about the same behaviors in others to see it within ones self. If my book helped just one woman, I am happy that I wrote it. It is hard to put yourself out there. I am not ashamed of the things I can only change and go forward. I had one girl call me the first week it was out and told me it made her rethink her unhealthy relationship and she said she was going to keep it by her bed every time she was tempted to go back. I spoke to her a month ago and she is not back. I am glad my book gave her strength.

You have definitely had your share of success in the business world, but your life has not been without difficulty. I know you are currently battling a life-threatening illness. What has been your goal in life as you look forward to the future?
I actually am looking forward to my new book coming out "The Man in the Woods" another fact based story. With my illness, I choose not to be limited. I do my own research and I have a wonderful doctor who actually cares. But since being diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, the same illness that took the life of Walter Payton, I have taken on the motto of LIVE LIFE and that is what I intend to do everyday! I am also looking to try to reach out to other Black authors. While there are many, there aren't that many who make it. That really bothers me. The literary world is still mainly a White based world. It is they who decide what gets read. Almost every well known Black author has had to self publish first. If Man in the Woods becomes a success, then I intend to take that success and use it for our advantage.

Tell us about the new book, Man In The Woods.
Right now, I am finishing my book Man in the Woods. It is a fact based story detailing the life of a family member who has been molesting little boys for over twenty five years. After trying to have him put away and learning that it was futile because I was not a victim, I take a psychological approach and take you back into the life and through the mind of a child molester. It is really very good and suspenseful.
After Man in the Woods, I am co-writing another book to help a sister get through her healing in life. And on the back burner I have a book called UTERUS FREE, a humorous take on hysterectomies.

Finally, when was the last time you spoke to Michael Jackson, and what has been his response to the book?
I haven't actually spoken to Michael Jackson since he was arrested. I took my son to meet him for the first time. He seems to have put most people at a distance. I was trying to get in touch with him though because I want to let him know he is not alone. See with Michael, I have never been a "YES" person. I never treated him like a star. He needed to have real people in his life. Yes, I came to love him for who he was, but I love him more for what he did for my life. He was okay with my using the title as such and I know he received a copy of the book…I have not heard any comments from him.

Thank you so much for your time. It has been a pleasure. Is there any advice you want to leave our readers with?
In closing, I will say that parents should take a look at the stars today that their children idolize. Today's entertainers would not be the savoir of any children. We should try to save our own children and not let them drift into the world of today's entertainers, sports stars, etc. We need to teach them to have their own identities.