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Mirtha Michelle, actress and author of Letters, To The Men I Have Loved agreed to give the Guardian Liberty Voice (GLV) an exclusive interview and to donate one of her books to be given away to a lucky reader, Michael Smith reviews the book and had the privilege of talking to Mirtha about her letters and poetry, amongst other things.
The book was self published this year and Mirtha had a May 2014 book launch in New York. A lot of celebrities have professed their love for the collection of letters and poetry. Kendall Jenner, Zendaya, Candice Swanepoel, Selena Gomez and Ms. Michelle’s good friend Vin Diesel all appeared at the launch to show their support for this book on love and how it influenced Mirtha.
The actress began performing in front of the camera in 1995 where she was a co-host on the Miami based children’s program By Kids For Kids. She then moved onto movie and television roles. Mirtha got a role in the 2009 film Fast & Furious with Vin Diesel. She has worked steadily since her first film/video role in 2004.
Ms. Michelle’s book is broken into segments separated by letters followed by poems. Each letter deals with a different subject. One is titled Love another one Lustand so on. In the book, she writes not just of love in the traditional sense. She writes about loving her brother, nephew, father and grandfather as well. How they affected her life and how she feels about them all.
Letters, To The Men I Have Loved sells for around $17.00 for a hard copy and just under $10.00 for the Kindle. A copy of the book will be given away to one lucky Guardian Liberty Voice reader. Rules for the giveaway are simple. To be eligible, readers must leave a comment below (spam will be removed and will not be considered as part of the giveaway); One comment will be chosen at random and the winner emailed for their address so that the book can be posted. The giveaway will end after 48 hours and this interview will be updated to confirm the book has been won.
Mirtha Michelle has written a book that is a picture of hope, lessons learned and snapshots of passions at different moments in the author’s life. It was a pleasure to read Letters, To The Men I Have Loved and to review as it has an underlying message of passion, forgiveness and understanding. During the exclusive interview with Ms. Michelle we talked about what prompted her to write the book as well as what she is doing right now and in the near future.
GLV: “Firstly, I’d like to thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to talk to us.”
Mirtha: Thank you.
GLV: “I wanted to say, right off the bat, that I loved the way you intermixed the letters and the poetry together. I also loved how you wrote of the different types of love instead of just the traditional sort between a man and a woman by writing about loving your nephew and other male figures in your life. When did you first start writing and putting your thoughts down into poetry about the way you felt?”
Mirtha: “I actually wrote my first poem when I was six. But my first romantic poem I wrote at the age of 13 and I titled it, “Confusion” because I was confused! You know, as a teenager. While I had a great relationship with my mother, there were things that, to me, were private and that I wanted to write about and not talk about. So I continued to write about these things. I also kept a diary and I wrote all these things down about how I felt and so on.”
GLV: “That’s brilliant. You can see that you’ve written poetry for quite some time now as it flows, off the “mind’s tongue” very well as you read it. I can see why the younger celebrities like Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner and Zendaya are such fans of the book. I also noticed that Vin Diesel showed up for your book launch, is that a carry over from your working together in Fast & Furious?”
Mirtha: “Vin, I’ve actually kept in contact with since we worked together and I see him as a big brother. He gives me great advice and he’s really great! I was so happy he came to the book launch. I know a side of him that a lot of people don’t know. He’s a very intelligent guy who knows a lot about art and creativity. And honestly, he doesn’t go anywhere! So to have him show up at the book launch was really special to me!”
GLV: “I guess so.”
Mirtha: “And of course the book is pretty soft, or “soppy,” in some places which is really not his thing at all. So I was really happy that he came and his sister came too. What is nice is that Vin knows about creativity, focus and about working to a goal. My journey, with publishing a book, has been something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child. This was my third attempt at publishing a book and this was the one that worked.”
GLV: “What was it that prompted you to try it this third time?”
Mirtha: “I think that it may have had to do with coming up to the age of 30. I thought I had better get a move on and regroup and see what I could do. What made it all come together was bumping into someone that I’d known years ago and after talking, I went home and wrote down things that I could never say and it seemed to work out perfectly with what I wanted to do.”
GLV: “So a lot of the letters and poems were to help you to express yourself about how you felt at different times with different people?”
Mirtha: “Yes. For example the letter to my grandfather, which of course he can never read because he has passed on, I really wanted to write. As he had a place in my life that no one can come near, he influenced me so much and it was a love, that no other man could ever replace. I still start crying every time I read it. A lot of feedback from girls who have read my book, and some men, have told me that my writing helped them to get over any estrangement that they may have with their fathers. I also try to show that all women need to go out and experience love in their lives but that they need to start by loving themselves first.”
GLV: “I do have to say that my favorite poem in the book is the one titled We Don’t Hold Hands.”
Mirtha: “I think that most men love that one! That is Vin’s favorite poem as well. He asked me to read it at the book launch and I was trying to avoid reading it because it is a little…vulgar. Zendaya was there, who is only 17 years-old, with her father so I did not want to read that poem. Everyone at the table pushed me to read it though and pronounce each and every word.”
GLV: “What I really liked about the poem was that you explain how you feel, but that you cannot show how you feel. The passion runs deep but you are not a demonstrative person. The whole poem is about how you are feeling all these things but you cannot even hold your man’s hand.”
Mirtha: “That is a large part of my personality. Everyone thinks that I should be a very mushy person. A lot of PDA and hugging and kissing and I have to say the only moments that I’ve done that in public? I’ve been intoxicated! I am a very private person, even though I did just write a book about my relationships.” (laughs)
GLV: “One thing I loved about the book was that each person you wrote about was not singled out to be identified. You say what you felt and what you left with, but never once do you indicate who they were.”
Mirtha: “That’s right, I don’t. I write about what I learned, how I felt and what emotions were going on at the time. It wasn’t really about the men but what I experienced. I kept them anonymous because some of these men have families now and I didn’t want to drag them into this. They did not decide to write a book! “
Before the interview ended we spoke of her family and their creativity and the hopeful tone of her book and her life. She has a film being released this fall, titled AWOL-72 starring British ex-singer Luke Goss, one half of the Goss Brothers, and RZA. Mirtha pointed out that Luke is the one of the nicest people in the world to work with and she related the following story:
Mirtha: “I had to slap Luke in the face. We kept redoing the scene and I wasn’t making contact. Luke’s role was very physical and he finally told me it was okay to slap him in the face. Well, we were doing many takes and in one I really got into it and slapped this man so hard that it became the joke of the entire production, they kept playing it over and over! He never let me live that one down.”
She also revealed that she has the same agent as another co-star in the film RZA. They have met repeatedly over the years and she says that he is amazing and another very nice guy as well as a talented musician and actor.
Mirtha Michelle, in her exclusive interview about her book Letters, To The Men I Have Loved revealed that she plans to go on tour to tout her book as she wants to “live the experience.” Talking about the review of the book itself Mirtha also said that it would be exciting to do a film version of the title. The actress and author also plans to get the book translated into other languages after a Korean publisher got in touch with her to do just that. Do not forget to comment below if you want a chance to win a copy of this lovely positive book.
By Michael Smith
Interview with Mirtha Michelle, July 25, 2014