Tijuana Fulford has never been one to shy away from tough conversations. In fact, she initiates them.
The dynamic founder of The butterfly effect projecta Riverhead-based organization that aims to empower girls in underserved communities, and a certified life coach, Fulford stresses the importance of open dialogue about difficult issues, of “being able to openly say how you feel without having to ashamed of your thoughts or experience.”
Fulford encouraged this kind of dialogue in her mentorship of children involved in The Butterfly Effect Project, an organization she started in 2014 with eight girls that has grown to over 500 girls (and boys) in 17 Suffolk County chapters. .
“I wanted to create an opportunity to have these courageous conversations in the school system as well as at your table, without there being a right or wrong answer,” Fulford said in an interview Thursday. She was looking to create a conversation starter, a tool to initiate those courageous conversations.
Fulford had an idea for a book that would present a situation, provide all the facts, and then rely on readers to essentially write the ending — a short story with a “cliffhanger” ending, she said. “And they have to understand, what would they do? How would they handle this? And give them all the information and let them unpack the story.
This is how “My Fabricated Truth” was born. This is a series of five novels, each dealing with a difficult individual subject – including race, LBGTQ issues, substance abuse and abortion – written to allow readers, in conversation, to expand on the findings. .
The books are aimed at teenagers and young women. Fulford designed the series as a tool that can be used by schools and organizations working with young people – and by book clubs. They’re short – Fulford said each short story would be no more than around 65 pages.
“I strive for each chapter to be very engaging, short and to the point, so when you’re done with this chapter, you’re like, wow,” Fulford said. “I want people to read the book in two days, or on their lunch break – like I want them to really engage with the book and really get a lot of different dishes out of it, not just one. I want them to get to know the character and see someone they know in that character. Everyone will have a different takeout, Fulford said.
The first book in the “My Fabricated Truth” series was published last month. “The Time My Mirror Deceived Me” deals with the subject of race. Told in the first person, the main character, Tina, is a pregnant woman who learns something about herself through routine pregnancy screening tests. The information turns her world upside down, challenging her beliefs about herself to the core.
Tina’s mother tells her, “Some things have a way of revealing themselves.”
But once these things are revealed, what do you do with them? This is the essence of the dilemma Tina faces – and the brave conversation starter of “The Time My Mirror Deceived Me”.
The book is available on Amazon.
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