Brenda M. Weber

Brenda M. Weber
"I Promise Not To Tell"

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
July 25, 2004

Q. Who is Brenda M. Weber?

A. *I'm a woman who has overcome many obstacles in my life and has learned a lesson from each one. I consider myself strong and determined to make it in this world no matter what, I won't take any guff from anyone. I am a mother who loves her children more than my own life. I would do anything for them. I'm a bartender full time so I have a great sense of humor and am a great listener. I can both sympathize and empathize with people who have problems in their lives. My friends tell me I'd make a great counselor because I give such good advice. It doesn't take much to make me happy and I'm content with the simple life I have. I love to both read and write.

Q. What inspired you to write I PROMISE NOT TO TELL?

A. *I actually wrote part of it as a short story and sent it in to "True Confessions" magazine years ago. They loved my story but could not use it. I put it away in a drawer for several years until I decided to let a few people read it. They were amazed at my story and encouraged me to write more about my life and the trials of abusive marriages. So, I started at the beginning of my life up to the point I wrote my short story, added the ending and felt I had a story worthy enough to tell the world and try to get published. It was therapy for me and I felt that many people could be inspired by my story, just to know that if they are in the same or similar situations, they are not alone.

Q. Are you and Hannah still close?

A. *My daughter and I are still very close. Even though she is my step-daughter I love her as if I gave birth to her myself. We became close right from the start because we became friends. She is so encouraging and is always there to listen if I'm having problems. She gives sound advice too. We have a lot in common and enjoy each others company immensely. I don't see her as much as I'd like to because I work 6 days a week and she lives about 100 miles from me. She's given me four beautiful grandchildren and I miss them terribly.

Q. How is Matthew doing now?

A. *Matthew is great. He still lives with me and we work together at my boyfriend's Supper Club so he's a big part of my life. He's never had anymore problems with what I reveal in my book. He always knew right from the beginning that he did wrong, made a mistake, paid the consequences and became a better person. I think at times it bothers him that more or less he had to pay the price for what was done to him as a child. The system failed him by not punishing his molester. It's unfortunate that the cycle did not stop there. He obviously had more problems than his counselor recognized. Matthew is a fine young man and I am very proud of him.

Q. Are you currently married?

A. *No, and will probably never marry again. At one time I thought I wanted to but I realized that when you marry someone, you marry their family. At this time I don't feel comfortable with my boyfriends family enough to marry him. We've stepped away from any decision in that direction. Maybe some day, but I doubt it. When I divorced the last time I took my maiden name back. For me it was symbolic of making a complete circle in my life and wanting to feel comfortable with starting over and just being able to be myself again. I felt that taking my maiden name was a new beginning for me and I'm comfortable with that.

Q. How long did it take you to write your story?

A. *After starting it again from the point of the short story, it only took me about 3 months. It was difficult at times and when I finished I felt like there was a pile of my guts on the floor but I felt very good about it. It was like a weight being lifted from my shoulders that I could finally tell all the secrets I had promised not to. I thought long and hard when I found out it was accepted by a publisher. When I signed my contract I felt very strongly that my story could help someone and for that reason alone, it was worth baring my soul. I have no regrets.

Q. How did Oprah come about your book?

A. *I mention Oprah in my book, the fact that she had invited me to be on her show fifteen years ago. For reasons beyond my control, I could not appear on her show about "Secrets." Back then, when I was going through so much personal pain, she was an inspiration to me and I watched her show faithfully every day. I remembered that Ellen Rakieten was the Producer who called me so I decided to send her a copy of my book in hopes that she could get it into Oprah's hands. It's not that I want any recognition for it, it's because I feel so strongly about getting my book into her hands just so she knows how inspirational she was at that period of my disheveled life. I haven't heard anything as to whether she has actually received it and it is in Oprah's hands, but I know someday she'll run across it. It would be nice just to get a note from her saying she received it, and hopefully enjoyed reading it.

Q. Why was it that the system protected 19 year old Pete for what he did and was harsher on 15 year old Matthew for what he did?

A. *Pete was 14 at the time he molested Matthew, and because he was 19 when I finally found out about it, there was no precedence. He was now an adult and it could not be handled in adult court because the incident took place when he was a juvenile. It could not be handled in juvenile court because he was now an adult. It's one of those cracks in our justice system that someone always happens to fall into. The Prosecutor at the time did some extensive research into the possibility of prosecuting Pete, especially after he confessed to what he did to Matthew. He was just as discouraged as I was over the way the law reads in the state of Michigan. Pete did go on to being charged with CSC when he had relations with a thirteen year old girl. I guess in a way, justice was served, just not for Matthew.

Q. Are you currently writing another book?

A. *My second book, "JOHN HORN-Legend of a Lumberjack," has been accepted for publication and will hopefully be out by the end of the year. I am in the final stages of editing, page proofing, and cover design. This one is a fictional account of a lumberjack, based on the finding of a grave marked with his name and 1897. The grave was found along a branch of the Manistique River which snakes through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is believed that John Horn died on a log run and was buried on the spot. I am also working on a sequel to "I Promise Not to Tell." So many people, after reading it, want to know what my source of strength was and how I came to be the strong person I am today. I'm also working on another fiction, an account of life in a small town with all of today's problems. I have an interesting twist in this one. I plan to keep writing. I love to write.

Q. What message would you like for readers to receive from reading I PROMISE NOT TO TELL?

A. *I think the most important message is to know they are not alone. There are so many women in like or worse situations then I was in. Hopefully they can read strength in my story and realize that there is always a way out and there is always someone they can trust and turn to for help. I hear so many horror stories of women's abuse (men too). It's an epidemic in our nation and something has to be done to stop this terrible cycle. What are we teaching our children? It's so sad to see the innocent children coming from dysfunctional and abusive homes, and how it affects not only their way of thinking, but how they treat people. They must have such a warped view of life and it makes my heart ache with wanting to help get them away from abusive situations. I'm constantly giving women advice about the fact that they are not going to change anything by staying in situations that are causing them pain. Life is way too short to spend it without real love. The best thing they can ever do is, TELL someone, get out and don't look back.