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Author delves into Jamaica church in new novel

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And, no, it's not a biography."The Preacher's Son" is the fifth novel from Carl Weber, a Long Island resident who grew up in southeast Queens. The story follows Bishop T.K. Wilson - a candidate for borough president - and his family, which includes son Dante, a headstrong and charming young man caught between an affair with a married woman and a relationship with a girl his parents do not approve of, and daughter Donna, a wild child with a penchant for hot dates with her boyfriend."Interesting things happen in relationships," Weber told the Qguide. "I wanted to write a book and find out what would happen if a preacher's son started dating a stripper and his daughter got pregnant and didn't want her father finding out."The inspiration for the book came from Weber's relationship with Tyrone Thompson, a minister he met while both were working at Riker's Island. "He really taught me a lot about church and God," he said. "He divulged so many things to me about the inner workings of the church." And as the two developed a father-son relationship, Weber began to wonder about children of clerics, he said."What is it like to be a kid being raised in the church?" he asked. "I did interviews with preacher's kids and found these great stories."As the novel opens, Dante, a St. John's University grad who secretly wants to pursue a career in law rather than follow his father's footsteps to the pulpit, is trying unsuccessfully to end a relationship with Anita, a former church employee now married to a deacon. As he attempts to distance himself from her, he gets closer to Tanisha, a stripper who lives in the Forty Projects and cares for her younger siblings.Donna, the preacher's daughter, is trying to get her boyfriend, Terrance, to profess his love for her in between their passionate rendezvous. He finally does, but just as Donna learns that she's pregnant and that Terrance has been hiding a fiancee from her.As for the bishop, the character is a combination of Thompson and Rev. Floyd Flake, pastor at the Greater Allen Cathedral in Jamaica, where Weber attends church, the author said. Like Bishop T.K. Wilson, Flake knows the campaign trail. He represented southeast Queens in the House of Representatives for 11 years.In "The Preacher's Son," Wilson decides to run for borough president after "his good friend Helen Marshall, who stepped down as borough president due to term limits, asked T.K. to run." Marshall declined to comment on the mention.Weber has written five novels so far and is part of the way through his sixth, he said. As the owner of bookstores in Brooklyn and Manhattan and the founder of Urban Books, a publishing house, he has heard a lot of comments from women looking for a good read, he said."They used to come in and say, 'I want a book with a lot of drama in it,'" Weber said. "No one was really writing drama-filled stories for African-American women."So Weber started with what he knows - namely, southeast Queens."I grew up in Hollis and Jamaica," he said. "I use local area things to bring out places in my books. People from Queens usually get a kick out of it."Couple that with Weber's ability to write characters that readers can relate to and his talent for telling all sides of a story, and it explains how he rose to the top of the bestseller list of Essence, a magazine for the black community."I love telling different peoples' sides of the stories and then switching," he said. "Part of the reason I've become so popular is that I write to the point where it feels like you're there."Weber will be promoting "The Preacher's Son" in bookstores across the country throughout January. No dates have been set for Queens locations yet, but Weber plans to make appearances when he returns, he said. He is also working on his sixth novel, "So You Call Yourself a Man," the story of three men living together in Queens.Reach Assistant Managing Editor Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 139.

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