Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Holly Connors is talking with Michael L. Bernoudy, author of Stained Glass Windows: Memoirs of a Cheater.
FQ: In the book's foreword you explain how you arrived at the title of your memoir - Stained Glass Windows. I thought it was rather beautiful. Would you share the meaning/how you arrived at the title, with our readers?
BERNOUDY: The eyes are the windows to the soul. If we gave a color to all the people who have influenced us, then the windows to our souls would resemble stained glass windows. These windows are generally found in holy places, and like holy places, what you see on the outside or expect to get doesn't always reflect the reality within.
FQ: As I mentioned in my review, you really share everything in your memoir, even events others might shy away from. How did you decide what/how much to share in your book?
BERNOUDY: Concealing the truth does not make an accurate memoir. If I didn't include everything, then it would just be reality-based fiction.
FQ: Your high school career as a rapper - do you ever miss those days? Or wish that it might have become a career? Do you ever get the urge to perform again?
BERNOUDY: Looking at many of today's rappers, I can't believe that I didn't make it big. Lol. But after looking at the way things turned out, I'm happy where I am. Rapping was not meant to be my creative outlet.
FQ: Do you ever think about how your life might have turned out differently if you had not met Natasha and had that short fling that made you a convicted felon? Do you think you would have stayed in the military? Become a lawyer sooner? Are there a lot of "what ifs"?
BERNOUDY: Well I only became an attorney because of this incident. Really never had an interest in being a lawyer before this incident. But I really didn't feel like justice was served in my case. Had this never happened, I most likely would have been career military.
FQ: You talk about the struggles you had while going through probation and parole. Indeed, it seems like in one sense, "the system," by making it so difficult, encourages felons to fall back into the same behaviors that got them there in the first place. Do you see any hope in making the system better so that felons can get back on their feet?
BERNOUDY: Sadly no. In some larger cities there are programs and opportunites for persons who have been convicted of crimes. But generally, the nation doesn't care about what happens to persons convicted of crimes.
FQ: You had to overcome some major obstacles to get into law school and then again to become a lawyer. What was it that drew you to the law so strongly?
BERNOUDY: I was convicted of a crime when someone lied to me about their age. That didn't seem fair. I decided that I wanted to learn more about the law so that I could help with future injustices (I know that sounds corny).
FQ: Mona - you truly had/have a love/hate relationship with her. Are things better with her now or still somewhat crazy? Do you truly think the two of you could have made it work?
BERNOUDY: I finished the first edition of this book in 2004. Mona and I divorced in December of 2003. We dated for about 3 years after our divorce but ultimately went our seperate ways. She's been married with 2 kids for about a decade now.
FQ: You say at one point that "...my life seems to be an ever-revolving door of regret." (pg. 160) Is that still the case?
BERNOUDY: Now days I'm the complete opposite of my younger self. I spend my time working and writing. I'm a soccer dad. I kept repeating the same mistakes with women. Now, I barely date and have been single for quite some time.
FQ: If you could sit down with your younger self, what advice would you give? Do you think your younger self would actually take the advice?
BERNOUDY: Don't chase after every pretty face and big butt you see stay focused on your goals and what's important. He most definiely wouldn't.
FQ: Along those same lines, you have three daughters who you are deeply devoted to and love. If there was just one thing that you could tell them, what would it be?
BERNOUDY: Every date, every meeting, every interesting encounter doesn't have to lead to a relationship. Meeting people is good, necessary for growth but keep your hearts and bodies guarded.
To learn more about Stained Glass Windows, please read the review.