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Enter the World of Award-winning Author Glenda L. Hunter

Enter the World of Award-winning Author Glenda L. Hunter
Click on the banner above to discover more about her titles

Discovering Your Amazing Marriage by Jason & Debby Coleman

Discovering Your Amazing Marriage by Jason & Debby Coleman
Click above to enter the website www.youramazingmarriage.com

Saturday, January 27, 2007

CONVERSATIONS BOOK CLUB HONORS BESTSELLING AUTHOR TRAVIS HUNTER


Since his literary debut, THE HEARTS OF MEN, National Bestselling author Travis Hunter set a new standard for the way that men were portrayed in relationships and everyday life. With each novel he has managed to educate, entertain and provide thought-provoking dialogue. Through his work he has found a way to honor us...
Now we have decided to return the favor!


Conversations Book Club, in connection with For The People Productions and the Read My Lips Literary Project, is pleased to announce the recipient of the 1ST ANNUAL LITERARY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD is none other than National Bestselling author Travis Hunter!



The award will be presented during this year's literary dinner that will be held on Saturday, August 11, 2007 at the Canton-Madison Multipurpose Complex in Canton, MS. The event begins at 6p.m. with the red carpet, with dinner (catered by Real Roots Bar and Grill) beginning at 7p.m. Come enjoy live entertainment and good conversation as well as a fitting tribute to those who are making a difference through the written word.

(Travis Hunter seen here with bestselling author Jihad)

Confirmed special guests include National bestselling author Alisha Yvonne and radio personality/author Trent Jackson(see below).




Tickets are $35 in advance online and $50.00 if purchased after July 1, 2007.






This is a semi-formal event. For more details, visit www.thebestbookclub.info or contact Stanley Clark (President, For The People Productions) at 773.344.7220.

Friday, January 26, 2007

"Know Thyself" Month grows with new authors, new events

The month of February 2007 has been pegged by Conversations Book Club as "Know Thyself Month", simply because it was decided to use the 28 days to showcase people who have made a difference through taking a second look at their lives.

We are now pleased to announce that yet another author has been added to the lineup of events scheduled for the month: It is author Recha G. Peay (seen here).


She will be joining the book club in a series of events on Wednesday, February 14,2 007, beginning with breakfast at the Medgar Evers Library in Jackson, MS at 9a.m. and culminating with a meet and greet held at the offices of For The People Productions during their grand opening at 6p.m.


Make sure to visit this site often to find out what will be taking place in between. If you have any questions or need additional information, feel free to contact Stanley Clark at 773.344.7220 or via email at forthepeopleproductions@yahoo.com

Thursday, January 25, 2007

CONVERSATIONS BOOK CLUB Welcomes Bestselling author ALISHA YVONNE to Mississippi



She is the bestselling author of such titles as LOVIN' YOU IS WRONG, AROUND THE WAY GIRLS 3, I DON'T WANNA BE RIGHT and the upcoming NAUGHTY GIRLS--- and she is making her way to Mississippi in FEBRUARY 2007 for a series of special events!

Conversations Book Club is pleased to announce that Alisha Yvonne will be in Mississippi for ONE DAY ONLY--- Saturday, February 24, 2007--- to celebrate the Grand Reopening of REAL ROOTS BAR AND GRILL in Pickens, MS.

On Saturday, February 24th she will own the day beginning with breakfast with the book club and her fans at 9a.m. (Medgar Evers Library) and then heading to Pickens for the ribbon-cutting at Real Roots (11a.m.). During the festivities at the restaurant, you will be able to purchase all of her titles and get them personally signed.

Following the Pickens event, Ms. Yvonne will then attend a booksigning at Waldenbooks inside the Metrocenter Mall (Jackson, MS) beginning at 4:30p.m.

The day will conclude with a meet and greet at Real Root Bar and Grill beginning at 7:30p.m.

This event is brought to you in association with For The People Productions and Real Roots Productions. Look for more details to be arriving soon, however, you can contact Stanley Clark (President, For The People Productions) at 773.344.7220 with any questions you might have or email us at forthepeopleproductions@yahoo.com.

To find out more about author Alisha Yvonne, visit www.alishayvonne.com

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

CONVERSATIONS BOOK CLUB Presents the Scrapbook from the Carl Weber visit--- Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Conversations Book Club Presents Carl Weber,012307


On behalf of For The People Productions and Conversations Book Club, we humbly thank everyone who came out and showed support for the Carl Weber visit. On Tuesday, January 23, 2007 the two organizations made history by hosting the author in Mississippi and were greeted by appreciative fans at each and every stop. Our thanks goes out to the Medgar Evers Library, Waldenbooks, the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pearl, the Brandon Public Library and the Richard Wright Library. All of you made the day just that much better with your open arms and support. For all of the fans who showed up at each location, all we can say is this couldn't have happened without you. Feel free to click on the image above (or below) to access the scrapbook of the trip.
Conversations Book Club Presents Carl Weber,012307


This event was brought to you in part by Tricom Publicity Inc. and the Read My Lips Literacy Project.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Over 12 months 29 authors from 13 states will speak live to 1 bookclub: CONVERSATIONS BOOK CLUB IN MISSISSIPPI!

NEW YORK
Carl Weber
Hickson
Derrick L. Briggs

TEXAS
Francis Ray
Reshonda Tate Billingsley
M. W. Moore
Derek Jackson

NEVADA
Theresa Gonsalves

OHIO
Bakari Kitwana
Keith L. Johnson
Tiffany L. Warren
C. Kelly Robinson

CALIFORNIA
Mary B. Morrison
Andrew Neiderman
Victoria Christopher Murray
Terry E. Hill

PENNSYLVANIA
Gloria Mallette

GEORGIA
Brandon Massey
Jihad
Travis Hunter

OREGON
Roz Bailey
Lisa Jackson
Nancy Bush

NORTH CAROLINA
K-Elliott

LOUISIANA
C-Murder
Clarence Nero

VIRGINIA
La Jill Hunt

ILLINOIS
Trista Russell

MARYLAND
Candice Dow

We are bringing you only the best. Only one book club in the state of Mississippi brings you the authors you love and the books that you can't do without! Visit our site often for all the details--- and find out how you can get signed copies of the books we feature FREE each month!

BREAKING NEWS: National Bestselling author Francis Ray visits Mississippi---October 2007!


This is a literary event that you don't want to miss! Conversations Book Club is pleased to inform you that national bestselling author Francis Ray will be visiting Mississippi on Saturday, October 27, 2007. Ray, the author who has brought us such titles as ANY RICH MAN WILL DO, DREAMING OF YOU, SOMEONE TO LOVE ME AND YOU AND NO OTHER will be spending the day with the book club as part of its "Read My Lips Literacy Project" will begin the day with breakfast at the Medgar Evers Library and conclude with dinner at Real Roots Bar and Grill in Pickens, MS.

Conversations Book Club appreciates Francis Ray for her willingness to share herself with the state of Mississippi. To find out more about her, visit www.francisray.com. You can also read an interview with Francis Ray conducted by Conversations Magazine by visiting the link to the right of this site.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A CONVERSATIONS EXCLUSIVE: Meet Kristine Mills-Noble, Creative Director for Kensington Books


This is an interview you will find nowhere else...Her work has graced the covers of books by some of the most celebrated authors such as Brandon Massey, Evie Rhodes, Victor McGlothin, Janine A. Morris, Roz Bailey, Anita Bunkley, Gwynne Forster, Faye Snowden, Candice Dow and countless others. Meet Kristine Mills-Noble, a creative director for Kensington Books. You might not know her name, however, the contribution she has given to the literary community through her work is undeniable.

How did she begin on her journey? When did she discover her desire to create? Conversations explores this and more with the woman behind the designs.


Kristine, thank you for taking out the time to talk with us. I have to tell you that to have this opportunity to converse with the woman who has graced so many book covers with her work is an incredible honor. Do you remember what it felt like when you first saw your work on a finished product?
I remember it very well. It was about 20 years ago and a young lady was sitting across from me on the New York City subway reading a book, I looked up and it was one of my covers. So I walked over to her and asked her how was the book. We started a conversation about the author and why she chose that book. To my surprise I was amazed to hear that she almost always buy a book based on the cover. At that point I began to realize how important cover design was to the success of a book. Most people still judge a book by its cover.

Where did it all start for you? At what age did you know that you were creative and wanted to pursue that path?
I guess it really started for me when I graduated from college. I did not study art in undergraduate because it was something that I never thought about. I had no idea what a graphic artist did. You see I grow up in a traditional hard working family. My parents always encouraged us to be a doctor, lawyer or something that you could get a "Good Job" doing. Art was never introduced to us as a way to make money or have a career. So after receiving a degree in Bio-chemistry I took a job in a lab doing research. I thought that I was going to DIE. I had a friend who saw that I was unhappy and knew that I was a closet artist and told me about a job in the art department at a publishing house who would pay for me to go to art school, 20 years later I am still at it.

Were there others around you that shared similar interests? Did they encourage you and what advice did they give when those close to you saw that you were serious about your work?
Growing up, I did not have people around me that had similar interest. My encouragement has always come from my mom. She did not understand how I was going to make a living doing this, but she told me to go for it. I have also been blessed in coming across some incredible art directors early in my career who pushed me and made me think outside of the limitations of a book cover.

I'm sure you would agree that human beings are extremely visual creatures. As a visual artist myself, Kristine, I dare say that your work has been instrumental in elevating the book sales---and thus careers---of a great number of authors through your eye-catching designs. Can you tell us what type of planning goes into deciding what will work with a particular book?
Lots and lots of planning goes into a book cover. The first step is to work with the editor to get a sense of the story and voice of the author. I often times will read the manuscript to get some ideas. I will then decide if this should be a photographic package or illustrated one. This will be determined after I get input from the author, the editor, the publisher, the sales team, the marketing team, and the buyer. So you see its not as easy as designing a cover that looks good, I have to keep everyone’s input in mind. I have to sit down and come up with something that is dramatic, eye-catching and meets its targeting audience in 5 seconds. That is all the time i have to make an impact. when a consumer is in a bookstore they are scanning the shelves for something that catches their eye.

Readers are quick to remember the author's name and not so familiar with the illustrators and cover designers. Have you gotten any feedback from the authors as to what their readers are saying about the covers.
You are right, the average person do not know who I am or remember my name. My kudos come when I see an author’s career began to take off. I get many thank you notes from authors and agents saying that they were very happy with the covers. I also know that I am doing something right when I see other publishing houses picking up my designs.

One author I have had the pleasure to interview several times is award-winning horror writer Brandon Massey. His covers, which you have designed since his second book DARK CORNER, are quite darker than your work for author Anita Bunkley's novel SILENT WAGER. Does it help you to know a great deal about each storyline before beginning your plans for the design?
It’s crucial to a package’s success that I have a “feel” for the story. Brandon and Anita are very different types of writers, so I would never package them similarly.

When you look back at the body of work you have acquired, why do you think you have become one of the memorable cover designers that are linked to contemporary fiction?
Once again, I think having the opportunity to work with some incredible talents who have always forced me never to take the easy way out, but to think of each project separate and apart from the rest. I could look back over my work and see so many different looks and styles. There are covers that I am very close to because they were more difficult to package then others. Making me really dig deep for the solution to the problem. An art director told me very early in my career that cover designers are problem solvers. Always come up with the most creative way to solve the problems.

Kristine, before I interview someone I try to do as much research as I can about that individual so I can be more knowledgeable about their past and accomplishments. I have to say, though, that it was hard to find any other interviews that you have done. Have you purposely tried to stay in the background, away from the limelight?
I enjoy working behind the scenes. My joy is in conceiving and creating a look for authors. As you mentioned earlier most people don’t remember the book designer. However in the book design world i have won many awards and have been interviewed by many trade people.

More than ever, young people are looking to graphic design as the vehicle they want to use as a career. What advice do you have for those who might be reading this and they are looking for guidance?
I would encourage young African Americans to consider going into graphic arts in publishing. Our numbers are quite small and we shouldn’t limit ourselves. Although people say “Don’t judge a book by its cover” that isn’t always true. The cover of a book is a huge selling tool and a signal to readers of what to expect. I would love to see more of us in the creative departments of book publishing.

Has there been a time that you thought this was not going to be the career for you? What motivated you not to give up?
As with anything there are going to be difficult times. Mines usually come when i have non art people telling art people how to create. What makes me not give up is that although there are times when I don’t always agree with the politics or policies of a corporation I love what I do. I love creating, and book covers are the best way to do that. Each story is different, each voice is different allowing me to challenge myself every day. The authors always help me not give up. They allow me to take that journey with them as they follow their own dreams.

Again, thank you for your hard work and positive example, Kristine. Any last words you have for our readers?
This is my mantra: ALWAYS GO THROUGH LIFE LOVING WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

Monday, January 15, 2007

CBC Updated Schedule, New Authors to MS

Everyday the mission of the Conversations Book Club is realized---and it wouldn't be possible without you. Thanks to a close alliance with For The People Productions, more people have been finding out about the new channel to connecting readers with the authors they love. Nothing made that more clear as when CONVERSATIONS BOOK CLUB took the Number 1 and Number 2 spot for most searched Book Clubs in Mississippi on Google Search Engines! (See this press release that appeared on Mississippi Political website: http://www.mississippipolitical.com/conversations.htm

Now we are pleased to pass on more valuable information! Please note that the schedule for the 2007 authors has been updated on the right side of this site, and you are sure to notice some obvious exciting additions. Here's a recap:

After the Carl Weber on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, the book club will be enjoying an exclusive conference call with bestselling author Theresa Gonsalves, the real-life "Billy Jean" in Michael Jackson's life. This will take place on Friday, January 26, 2007 at 6p.m. CST at the Medgar Evers Library in Jackson, MS. She will be discussing her book OBSESSIONS that chronicles their relationship and her own obsession that nearly killed her! This is one for the history books--- and Mississippi's CONVERSATIONS BOOK CLUB brings it to you!


In February we have added noted hiphop historian and bestselling author Bakari Kitwana! We first talked to him last year about his book WHY WHY KIDS LOVE HIPHOP. Now we bring him live to Mississippi via conference call to discuss this book, the new VH1 reality program THE (WHITE) RAPPER SHOW and why hiphop has been able to survive through its many evolutions. He'll take your questions on Friday, February 9, 2007 at 6p.m. CST at the Medgar Evers Library.

Our final interview of February 2007 will be another one that will attract both music and book lovers. Conversations Book Club proudly presents hiphop artist/author Corey Miller (aka C-Murder). He will join the book club discussion LIVE via conference call on Tuesday, February 27, 2007--- and this is definitely an EXCLUSIVE. Join us at 6p.m. CST as we discuss his life, what led him to read 500 books in 2 years as well as his first novel DEATH AROUND THE CORNER and upcoming album that will be released in March 2007!


Moving into March 2007 we have two surprises to our impressive roster. First, we will be hosting National Bestselling author Reshonda Tate Billingsley to Mississippi for a three-day tour of the state with Conversations Book Club. Capitalizing on our statewide appeal, We will be participating in the Grand Opening of the new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Meridian on Wednesday, March 14, 2007, hosting book signings in Jackson on Thursday, March 15, 2007 and then visiting libraries and holding a forum on Friday, March 16, 2007! Look for more details soon. Thanks Reshonda for answering the call to encourage the love of books in our state!

LAST but certainly not least, Conversations Book Club ends the month of March 2007 with an incredible development: Bestselling author K. Elliott, one of the hottest voices in Urban Fiction who has signed a deal with G-UNIT BOOKS (headed by 50 Cent in a partnership with Pocket Books) will be in Mississippi Friday, March 30th and Saturday, March 31, 2007 in a carefully-scheduled series of events brought to you by Conversations Book Club. Keep visiting the site, www.thebestbookclub.info for all the details.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"CONVERSATIONS BOOK CLUB Spearheads Aggressive Fight Against Illiteracy in Mississippi"

"CONVERSATIONS BOOK CLUB Spearheads Aggressive Fight Against Illiteracy in Mississippi"

Contact: Stanley Clark, President
For The People Productions
forthepeopleproductions@yahoo.com
www.thebestbookclub.info
773.344.7220

After introducing itself in December 2006 with an exclusive interview with bestselling author Carl Weber via conference call at Medgar Evers Library, Conversations Book Club (aka CBC) let it be known that it was not going to be just another discussion group. Not only does it tackle books that are relevant to events of the day, but CBC also allows its members and visitors to talk directly to the author (either in person or via conference call) at each session, thus enhancing the conversation. Conversations Book Club teamed up with the Medgar Evers Library (Jackson, MS) to make this accessible to all who are 18 and up and interested in participating. The book club meets on Tuesdays and Fridays at the library, each day at 6p.m. (see website www.thebestbookclub.info for a complete schedule of events and authors.)

"It was important for CBC to be something anyone would want to attend," says Stanley Clark, 34, President of For The People Productions, the public relations firm that is working with the fledging book club. "Thanks to Ms. Turner at the (Medgar Evers) Library, it we have already had two successful book discussions with two bestselling authors." (The second one was on Tuesday, January 9, 2007 with author Nancy Bush, author of "Candy Apple Red" and "Electric Blue.")

The main goal of Conversations Book Club is to make reading interesting for young adults as well as those who have been longtime readers. "When you are reading a book how many of us have wanted to ask the author what they were thinking when they wrote something or created a character? With Conversations Book Club, book lovers can do just that. It has even partnered with Waldens Bookstore (Metrocenter) and Wal-Mart superstores in Hinds and Rankin County to bring these authors to the masses when they are in town.

According to published statistics Mississippi still ranks high in illiteracy cases. As the Conversations Book Club selects its authors that is kept in the forefront: to promote reading and the enjoyment that can come from books. Though most of the authors the book club discusses are joining the discussions via conference call, some are taking the extra step and actually visiting Mississippi to support the work of Conversations. Confirmed visitors to the state include bestselling authors Carl Weber (Tuesday, January 23, 2007), Keith Lee Johnson (Friday, March 9, 2007), Mary B. Morrison (Friday, April 4th and Saturday, April 21st, 2007), Clarence Nero (Friday, June 8th and Saturday, June 9th, 2007), Jihad (Friday, July 27th and Saturday, July 28th), Travis Hunter (Friday, August 10th and Saturday, August 11th) and Victoria Christopher Murray (Friday, September 7th and Saturday, September 8th).

"There is something for everyone," Clark explains. "We don't want to exclude anyone who enjoys books or wishes to learn more about the authors we are discussing." The book club is free to join, however, purchasing books are the responsibility of each member. Each discussion does include a book giveaway by that author. "At the end of the day, Conversations just wants to do its part in helping others enjoy the power of the written word."

Conversations will end the month of January 2007 will be on the 26th with an exclusive telephone interview with bestselling author Theresa Gonsalves, the real life "Billy Jean" of Michael Jackson's popular song. She will be discussing her book OBSESSIONS that chronicles her friendship with the pop star and her own obsession that nearly killed her.

During the month of February 2007, Conversations Book Club will use its influence with authors to highlight the importance of self-awareness. It is being heralded as "Know Thyself Month" for the book club. This will feature EXCLUSIVE interviews with authors HICKSON (whose book of poetry GHETTO HEAT has been featured on the hit series The Wire), Bakari Kitwana (whose book WHY WHITE KIDS LOVE HIPHOP has been highly praised on BET, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC), Mary B. Morrison (the erotic storyteller of SOMEBODY'S GOTTA BE ON TOP and co-wrote SHE AIN'T THE ONE with Carl Weber), Derrick L. Briggs (whose innovative Book Club "BOOKS ARE SEXY" has gained attention for targeting men, especially same-gender-loving-men, to read) and Gloria Mallette (the National bestselling author of WHAT'S DONE IN THE DARK and IF THERE BE PAIN.)

For more information about the book club and upcoming events, visit www.thebestbookclub.info or contact Stanley Clark at 773.344.7220.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Conversations Book Clubs Kicks off 2007 with a BANG!

Ladies and gentlemen: If you weren't a part of the interview/discussion with bestselling author Nancy Bush on Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at the Medgar Evers Library then you really missed out! Conversations Book Club hosted her first interview of the year--- and what an interview it was! Look for more of it to be posted here later this month. Thanks again, Nancy, for being such a good sport with us! We appreciate the opportunity to be your first interview of the new year and hope it set the standard for those coming after us. (www.nancybush.net)

To our loyal online supporters we have a nice surprise for you: the domain name to get to us is now SHORTER. You can now just type in what we are: www.thebestbookclub.info ...

Our next event will feature bestselling author Eric Pete (www.ericpete.com). He will be with Conversations on Saturday, January 13, 2007. This will begin with a booksigning at Wal-Mart on HWY 18 in Jackson, MS and conclude with dinner at Real Roots in Pickens, MS. For details, visit http://realrootsbarandgrill.blogspot.com

After that, make sure you prepare yourself for the arrival of the "Prince of Drama", Mr. Carl Weber himself (www.carlweber.net). That is going to be one for the record books for Conversations Book Club and the state of Mississippi.

Want more? Then return to the Medgar Evers Library on Friday, January 26th at 6p.m. CST for an exclusive interview with the real-life "Billy Jean" from Michael Jackson's hit song: Theresa Gonsalves! She will be discussing her book OBSESSIONS, talking Michael Jackson and answering YOUR questions. Admission free.

Thank you for supporting Conversations Book Club: All Bestselling authors. All the time.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Urban Fiction, Drama, Erotica and Internal Struggles top list of CONVERSATIONS book discussions in 2007

Conversations Book Club (CBC) is committed to bringing you the authors you want and the books you can't get enough of. Over the weekend up until today---Monday, January 8, 2007---the moderator of the book club has been busy confirming author discussions and visits that are sure to educate, entertain and inform.

The listing of authors to be discussed has been updated on the right side of this site. Additions include the following:



Carl Weber (the "Prince of Drama" will be spending the day with the Conversations Book Club on Tuesday, January 23, 2007) --- www.carlweber.net




HICKSON (will be discussing his projects to encourage urban youth as well as his life as a hip-hopreneur in February 2007) --- www.ghettoheat.com




Keith Lee Johnson (will be visiting the Conversations Book Club in March 2007 and debuting the new chapter in Alabama) --- www.keithleejohnson.com



Mary "Honey B" Morrison (will be visiting the Conversations Book Club in April 2007) --- www.marymorrison.com





M. W. Moore (will be discussing the power of inner struggles in April 2007) --- www.forwhatihateido.com




Clarence Nero (will be visiting Conversations Book Club in June 2007)--- www.clarencenero.com




Jihad (will be visiting the Conversations Book Club in July 2007) --- www.jihadwrites.com




Travis Hunter (will be visiting the Conversations Book Club in August 2007) --- www.travishunter.com




Victoria Christopher Murray (will be visiting the Conversations Book Club in September 2007) --- www.victoriachristophermurray.com




Terry E. Hill (will be visiting the Conversations Book Club in October 2007 to discuss his political drama INSIDE THE FALL)



Continue to visit this site and look for the "official" domain name of the Conversations Book Club shortly, as it will do much to show the "best" of what we are doing.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

CONVERSATIONS EXCLUSIVE! TYLER PERRY: Building success from pain



Playwright/actor/director Tyler Perry is a man of many faces whose talent has graced the stage and screen. Coming from humble beginnings and becoming a force to be reckoned with as an artist, he sets an example for so many who strive to follow in his path. In 2005 he stunned critics when his movie DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN, based on his like-titled hit play, grossed $50million and sold about 2.4 million in DVDs during its first week of release. In 2006, Perry brought his play MADEA GOES TO JAIL to Mississippi to rave reviews. Perry's first novel, Don't Make a Black Woman Take Her Earrings Off: Madea's Commentaries on Love and Life, hit bookstores last April 11, 2006. The book is written from Madea's point of view, and offers commentary about love, relationships, and family. In its first five days in stores, the book sold more than 25,000 copies to send it up The Book Standard's Nielsen BookScan charts. The hardcover hit Number One on the New York Times Best Seller list and stayed on the list for twelve weeks. It was voted the Book of the Year and Best Humor Book at the 2006 Quill Awards.

The New Orleans native suffered abuse as a child and rejection as an adult, but he drew from his past and is using it to entertain the masses. Perry shares his story in this CONVERSATIONS exclusive.



CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE FROM YOU IN THE BEGINNING.
Lady luck wasn't to me in the beginning. As a poor kid growing up in New Orleans, my childhood was quite depressing due to poverty and physical abuse. I was the middle of four children. I was unhappy and miserable during the first 28 years of my life. The things that I went through as a kid were horrendous. And I carried that into my adult life. I didn't have a catharsis for my childhood pain, most of us don't, and until I learned how to forgive those people and let it go, I was unhappy.

WHAT WAS YOUR THERAPY, IF ANYTHING DURING THIS TIME?
It was writing in my journal. This actually began my career as a playwright. I tell people I was watching the Oprah show one day and she said that it's cathartic to write things down, so I started writing down the stuff that was happening to me. I started using different characters' names, because if someone had found my journal, I didn't want them to know I had been through that kind of stuff. That's how my first play [I Know I've Been Changed] started, which features a character who confronts an abuser, forgives him and moves on.


DID YOU FIND IT WAS EASY TO BE FORGIVING?
It's nothing like real forgiveness, a deep-down forgiveness where you don't hold any grudges against people. I forgave [everybody] for the things they didn't know and for the things they didn't know to do."

HOW DID YOU GO FROM PLAYRIGHT TO ACTUAL PRODUCING YOUR OWN PRODUCTION?
In 1992 I saved $12,000, rented out a theater, wrote, directed, promoted and starred in my own production of I Know I've Been Change--and it failed miserably. I think during its entire weekend run, only 30 people showed up. When the show was over I was broke, broken and homeless. For about six years after that, I held a string of odd jobs in order to finance the show, and lived on the streets when I couldn't afford to pay the rent. There wasn’t a lot of support during this time. Almost everyone, even my own mother, begged me to quit the theater and find a steady job. But I refused to give up.

AND YOUR NEXT PRODUCTION?
In the summer of 1998 I financed the production once again. And this time, I said it would be the last time, if the production failed. That production was I Know I've Been Changed, and it opened at the House of Blues in Atlanta and sold out eight times over. Two weeks later, it moved to Fox Theater and sold out 9,000 more seats. After the show, every person who had told me no, every promoter who had turned me down, came to me with an offer.

WHAT IS YOUR GOAL WHEN YOU ARE PUTTING TOGETHER A PRODUCTION?
With my shows, I try to build a bridge that marries what's deemed legitimate theater and so-called 'chitlin' circuit theater,' and I think I've done pretty well with that, in bringing people in to enjoy a more elevated level of theater. At one point, the criticism made me feel ashamed of my productions. Then I got some advice from playwright August Wilson. He said, “Do what you do. Don't worry about these people, do what you do because I don't think it's bad at all."

HAS IT BEEN HARD TO COMBINE YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GOALS?
I plan on writing a new chapter in my journal of life. You know, Tyler Perry, the family man. That's my next major goal, to find a wife who's balanced and have four or five kids. I’ve already been furnishing the nursery. As I’ve said before, I've put my private life on hold for too long because I wanted success. I wanted something to offer to my woman and my children. Now that I'm at that point where I feel like I have a little bit to offer, I'm ready to be a good husband and a good father, I know I can do it.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO ARE ASPIRING TO FOLLOW YOUR LEAD OR BLAZE THEIR OWN TRAIL?
For me if you have a natural talent to do things, and then nurture it, educate it into making it better. Do everything you can. Whatever your gift is and it's given to you no matter what's going on in the world, no matter how many singers, no matter how many writers, your gift will make room for you in that situation. So, I always believe that. If it's your gift nurture it and make it the best that it can be.

Find out more about Tyler Perry and his future projects by visiting www.tylerperry.com

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Listen to the new podcast featuring bestselling author Carl Weber



Copy and paste this into your browser:

http://www.tricompodcast.com/site/archive/aiyp/cwfl