A Talk with Treasure E. Blue
Q. You had a rough childhood, from a very early age. Can you tell us about it?
A. My mother, Ernestine Blue, was quite fair-skinned, as were my siblings and they used to tease and taunt me about my dark skin and say that I wasn't their real brother and was adopted. I was labeled mentally retarded until the age of five because I refused to speak. Then suddenly, I started speaking whole sentences and was then considered overly rambunctious and hyperactive by my teachers. My vocabulary grew by leaps and bounds as did my stature, and by eight years old I was taller than my brother and sisters, which only solidified my outsider status in the home. Fighting my siblings was a daily occurrence for me and after being ostracized for my looks and troublesome behavior, I realized that there was only one position in my family structure to be seized "the rebel"and I reveled in it.
A. My mother worked as a public school teacher in Harlem by day and a postal employee at night. She didn't tolerate disrespect and was very strict when it came to education and discipline, but unfortunately I didn't share her values. My mischievous nature did, however, lead me to a new love -- reading. Once, as punishment, my mother locked me inside my bedroom and forced me to read a novel; I wasn't allowed to come out until I was finished. I tried to find a short cut and skimmed the story and memorized what I could. Fifteen minutes later I came out and described the book to my mother. At first she was impressed, but she wasn't a fool; she knew I'd found a loophole and made me reread the novel page-by-page and turn in a essay about the main characters, their plight, and how they got out of their situation. I didn't have a clue about what she had meant, but I knew I couldn't get out of reading the entire novel. When I finally finished the novel, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, it was as if I was being reborn and a calmness came over me for the first time in my life. That book changed my life and took me into a world I never knew existed.
The public library became a place of escape for me. Because I didn't know any better at the time, I'd go to the local library and find a novel and stuff it in my pocket. The librarian must have known I was stealing books, but she didn't want to embarrass me. She gave me a library card and told me I could take out as many books as I liked. She emphasized that they were free as long as they were returned.
Q. Even with your mother's love and discipline, you still had to contend with her alcoholism. How did that affect you?
A. Things started to spiral out of control at home. My mother's secret addiction to alcohol could no longer remain hidden, and her life, and ours, spiraled downward. She lost jobs and was in and out of mental institutions. My siblings and I were left to fend for ourselves and helpless and angry, I became a menace and juvenile delinquent. Every night would bring a new low as my mother would come home beaten and battered physically from men who took advantage of her. Over the years her condition worsened and one by one each of my older siblings left the house as they turned 18, and I felt abandoned. The library remained my one safe haven; it was my sanctuary. I used books to block out my hunger and pain.
Treasure Blue Interviewed by Darryl Jenkins
of Winbrook Pride Arts & Entertainment TV Program
When I was fourteen I started to sell drugs to feed myself. I still managed to go to school and tried to maintain a sense of normalcy, but it was only a matter of time before the bad things I was doing caught up with me. For two years I sold drugs on the mean streets of Harlem, barely escaping death and major arrests. I was kidnapped, stabbed several times, and robbed at gunpoint by criminals and cops alike. Then one day I got sick of it and just walked away. I officially retired from drug dealing at the tender age of sixteen.
Q. What did you do after you stopped being a dealer?
A. Going back to high school was not an option because I was
banned from entering any high school in the city because of truancy and
past trouble. I was living on the streets and pride didn't allow me to
seek out family and ask for help so I rode the train at night refusing
to go home and see what new horror my mother had in store for me. Would
I open the door and see ten boys and men running a sex train on her, or
would I lay awake at night waiting for someone to ring my bell to tell
me to get my mother who had passed out in the gutter?
My sister came by to visit one day and suggested I take my GED and said that she would help me if I wanted. Just to get her out the apartment I agreed. The following day, to my surprise, she came back and enrolled me into a GED prep class. Four weeks later, and barely seventeen, I passed the test and received my diploma.
Q. How did you end up in the Army?
A. I went to the movies one day and saw "An Officer and a
Gentleman" and was fascinated by it. After the movie, as I was heading
home I looked up and saw a huge sign: "Join the Army Now." I stared at
it for a moment and quickly dismissed it, but something told me to go
and check it out. After talking with a recruiter and passing a test, I
was given some forms for my parent to sign so I could enter. It sounded
good but I hadn't seen my mother in months. It took me four months to
locate her. After she signed my papers, I beat up the man she was
staying with who seemed to care so little about her. My mother lost her
will to live and died not long after that.
The army wasn't for me but books became my refuge and I read constantly. My buddies soon asked for my help with writing personal letters, business letters, embellishing love letters, even break-up letters and I became the designated wordsmith for my unit -- for a fee of course. It was Christmas time and I was stationed in Korea near the D.M.Z and was elected to put together a Christmas show for the men in our camp to lift their spirits. I reluctantly agreed. I wrote a play, and on the day of the show, more than two hundred soldiers attended. The play went off without a glitch. At the end of the performance everyone was on their feet and gave the actors a rousing applause. Suddenly the captain who was in charge of the event came to me with a stern look on his face and said, "I hope you're happy because half the men walked out during the play because your play made them cry." I looked the captain in his eyes and they too, showed evidence of tears. The audience looked as if someone had died. I loved it, and I realized I had a knack to move people's emotions through words and from that day on I wanted to become a writer!
Q. What led you to the New York City Fire Department?
A. My tour of duty was over, but my problems were far from over. I didn't know how to have a healthy relationship and fathered four children with three different women. I was homeless and I put down my pen as my personal problems grew. My ugly past was starting to catch up with me and I turned to drugs and alcohol for comfort. My life began to parallel my mother's and it took several years for me to turn my life around. Eventually I got it together, and for nearly 14 years I worked for the New York City Fire Department as a supervising fire inspector. But I still felt something was missing.
Q. So what did you do?
A. I enrolled at John Jay University. While I was there I ran into someone I knew from a writers' group I had attended years before, who just happened to be a professor for the school in African American Studies. He didn't remember my name, but he remembered a screenplay I had written. He was surprised to find out I hadn't been writing and urged me to continue. That next month, a writer came to the school for a lecture and I attended. The auditorium was packed, and I looked at the writer who looked and dressed like me and every brother from my neighborhood blue Yankees hat, jeans, and Timberland boots. He seemed humble and sincere because he had been in prison and now had made a positive name for himself. His name was Shannon Holmes, and he wrote a book called B-More Careful. After the lecture I went and looked up his book. That same evening I bought it and finished it in a couple of hours and went to bed. That day was February 24, 2003. The next day, February 25, I started writing Harlem Girl Lost and I haven't stopped writing since then.
Click to order via Amazon
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Cash Money Content; Original edition (February 5, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 inches
Cash Money Content’s own Harlem-bred literary giant Treasure Blue, brings you Fly Betty, the third installment in the acclaimed Harlem Girl Lost series.
In the multi-billion dollar a year entertainment industry there is a secret society of women that few are privy to. All of these women are vying for one thing—an opportunity to live a lavish lifestyle by snagging a famous young millionaire.
Betty Blaise, or Fly Betty to those who truly know her, was not in it to be a wife or even the baby momma of a wealthy public figure—she had her sights set much higher. While most of these women use sex as their weapon of choice, Betty, a senior majoring in psychology, has developed a weapon that proves much more powerful.
Up until now Betty has lived her life according to her own strict rules and standards, refusing to compromise for anyone, even if it potentially meant shielding herself from true love. But when she encounters a man that she would never have anticipated falling for, soon, the very rules Betty once lived and died by are going to be put to the test. The tools she used so effectively against wealthy men begin to turn against her—and deadly consequences are sure to follow.
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Cash Money Content;
Original edition (February 7, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
When Jessica Johnes and her three best friends venture out on prom night, a tragic incident turns a night of high school achievement into a crime scene, and Jessica and her girls are left with bloody hands and shattered futures. After spending years paying off a debt that wasn’t theirs, Jessica and her friends return to Harlem to find it changed. Crack is now king and its destruction has left their families in ruin and their neighborhoods consumed by its peddlers. Jessica takes a stand, and her friends are there to back her up in order to preserve their lives, their families, and their Harlem.
Paperback: 312 pages
"Blue's story is another great addition to the urban-drama genre."
Jessica Jones never thought living her teenage dream would lead to a living nightmare. When she and her three best friends venture out on prom night, they re drunk on young love and excited for their college plans. But a tragic incident turns a night of high school achievement into a crime scene, and Jessica and her girls are left with bloody hands and a shattered future.
After spending years paying off a debt that wasn t theirs, Jessica and her friends return to Harlem to find it very different from when they left. Crack is now king, and its destruction has left their families in ruin and their neighborhoods consumed by its peddlers. Jessica takes a stand, and her friends are there to back her up when demons from the past come beating down their doors. Jessica and the girls must pass the ultimate test in order to preserve their lives, their families, and their Harlem.
Keyshia and Clyde:
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Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: One World/Ballantine (August 26, 2008)
Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
Treasure E. Blue acclaimed author of Harlem Girl Lost and A
Street Girl Named Desire is back with a heartbreaking urban love
story of two star-crossed lovers up against the dirtiest dealer Harlem
has ever seen.
Knocked up by a Southern preacher, Keyshia is sent to live with her aunt in New York, but after a horrific act of violence, the timid young woman becomes ice-cold'turning tricks and finding comfort in a crack vial.
Clyde and his two brothers find themselves living with a family friend after their mother is shot by their own father'leaving her institutionalized and unable to communicate, and him behind bars. Clyde's older brother leads a decent life, working as a bank manager and trying to keep Clyde off the streets, but Clyde's younger bro is the coldest killer in Harlem and takes every opportunity to involve Clyde in his infamous robberies-turned-blood baths.
When Keyshia and Clyde meet, they are instantly drawn to each other. Forced to pay back a large sum of cash to one nasty Harlem kingpin or risk the lethal consequences, Keyshia and Clyde use their tight game and their loyalty to pull off the impossible. And when Clyde is falsely accused of a bank hit, Keyshia vows to stick by her man'no matter the cost.
A Street Girl Named Desire
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Publisher: One World/Ballantine (June 26, 2007)
Treasure Blue continues and solidifies his position as the true heir to Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines. A book full of gritty realism, violence, drug abuse, and hope; the book is simply off the damn hook! 'Thumper
Bestselling author Treasure E. Blue returns with a gritty against-all-odds
urban fairy tale set in the same unforgiving neighborhood as that of his
breakout debut novel Harlem Girl Lost.
Desire was born on the streets of Harlem'literally. Her mom, a crack-addicted prostitute, delivered her on a bitter winter's night after turning a trick and being brutally beaten by the john. Taken from her mother by the state, Desire grows up unwelcoming foster homes, until a local Good Samaritan takes her in. With Miss Hattie Mae's love and Christian guidance, Desire gains confidence, joins the church choir, and discovers that she's got a set of pipes'which soon attract the attention of hip-hop's biggest exec.
But the road to superstardom is paved with dangers and temptations: drugged-out, violent rappers, untrustworthy pro athletes promising romance, and vicious drugs. Despite her phenomenal success and Miss Hattie Mae's kindness, Desire seems destined for a fall from the top that will slam her back onto the pavement where her mama left her'until an unexpected angel picks her back up. . . .
Harlem Girl Lost: A Novel
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Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: One World/Ballantine (September 26, 2006)
Treasure E. Blue, street lit's hottest newcomer, crafts characters that fly
off the page and a story that burns with intensity. Set in Harlem, this searing
novel is a poignant and gritty portrait of urban survival of the ghetto's
fittest . . . and most fierce.
Silver Jones knows just how cruel life can be. Her mother was chewed up and spit out by its dark side'brutally murdered while turning a trick. Rather than live with her abusive grandmother, Silver runs away.
Determined to escape the mean streets, Silver longs for an education. But after running into an old friend, a homeless youth named Chance whom she'd taken under her wing once upon a time, Silver puts her dreams of college on hold. Chance is grown now'and he's a powerful drug overlord. But underneath the cool exterior is the same innocent boy Silver once loved.
As they begin an affair, Silver tries to convince Chance to give up the lethal way of life that ruined both their childhoods. But Chance knows that walking away from the game means having to pay a deadly price. Silver won't take no for an answer'even if it means delving into a seedy underworld and out scheming some of its most vicious drug-dealers and cold-blooded murderers.
"Even in Blue's world of double-crossing, misogyny, drugs and brutality, an against-all-odds fairy tale can come true."
& Sexin Volume 2
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Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Life Changing Books (April 13, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
Flexin' & Sexin' is back with it's second installment of urban erotic tales. This anthology is jammed packed with sexy street tales featuring some of today's hottest urban & erotic authors.
Authors K'wan & Treasure E. Blue
Treasure Blue is featured in the 2011 documentary film,
Behind Those Books, which is a thought Provoking Documentary Tackling Societal Ills Through Literature
The film was Written & Produced by: Kaven Brown & Edited & Directed by:
Visit http://aalbc.it/behindthosebooks to learn more