Sunday, April 4, 2010

TAKE TEN: Author Maria Stewart

The family of Theresa Ferrara has had to deal with the nightmare that so many know all too well: losing a loved one to a tragic yet senseless act of violence. For some time the media and the public at large speculated as to what could have happened to this beautiful Long Island (New York) woman. In 2009, however, Theresa's neice Maria Stewart, decided to write a book about the aunt that she knew and dispel some of the falsehoods that hovered around her disappearance. LOOKING FOR CLOSURE is that book, and since its release, people have been able to look at the facts of the case with a fresh eye and can make their own judgments after doing so.

Maria talked with Cyrus Webb of Conversations about the book, her aunt and what she hopes readers get from it. The two also tackle the topic of how crime elements are portrayed in the world of entertainment, and how this can distort our view of them.

(NOTE: Maria Stewart talked to Webb on Conversations LIVE! about her experience and the book. Listen to the show here,

This is their conversation.

Tell the readers a little about yourself
I was born and raised on Long Island New York. I presently still live on Long Island. I am a hair stylist and have three children.

Maria, if it had not been for the tragedy that your family suffered, do you think you would have become an author?
Although I always loved writing , I don't think I would of become a writer. I think if you have a story that you think should be told you should tell it. I also found out by writing how healing it can be to get out things in your soul that have been preventing you from living life properly.

Talk about your relationship with Theresa, the focus of your book LOOKING FOR CLOSURE.
Theresa was my Aunt and closest family member to me. She was my mother's youngest sister. I worked with her, partied with her and just was very close to her. She was more like a big sister, not so much like the normal aunt/niece relationship. She looked out for me and taught me many things .

Maria, take us into the night that Theresa disappeared.
On Feb 10, 1979 at the end of a busy Saturday in our hair salon, Theresa got a phone call.The male on the phone asked to speak to Theresa and offered her an easy ten thousand dollars to lure her to the diner next store. She was under the dryer drying her hair, got the phone call and told me to hold her bag with the weeks receipts. She said if I am not back in 10 minutes to come and get her. That was the last time I saw her alive and well.

There's been alot of speculation as to what happened, and your family had to deal with the stories in the press about the case. Why did you feel it was important to go into the story yourself and write what would become LOOKING FOR CLUSURE?
I believe it is a story that should be told. There were over thirteen news articles she was in. She had a double life my family and I did not know about. I needed to talk about what really happened and what my family went through . The truth! No one ever hears the family's version and the truth to all the fabricated stories that were told. Although she did get involved with the wrong people, she was a hero to me. She helped put alot of bad people behind bars. I'm sure she prevented some murders and some children from doing drugs, from being an informant. A little different from this sexual tigress the papers portray her to be.

I also can help many people through my writing. Possibly people who lost a loved on through a murder or kid napping,or abused.My faith in god got me through it all. I give him all the credit. I also wanted to leave something for Theresa .Like a legacy. She didn't have any children. And I wanted to talk about what she had gone through in her life, the good and bad. She was a great person that made some mistakes .Maybe she was put on earth to put some bad people behind bars. I want the audience to see that there are some good things that can come out of a bad situation.If you don't look at life that way you probably wouldn't be able to get through it.

Can you give us an idea of what surprised or shocked you the most after you began your search for the truth?
What surprised and shocked me most was alot of things. Most of it was a shock to me. From the moment of her disappearance, her being an FBI informant, her involvement in the mob...right down to the DNA test results.

Since the book was released in mid 2009 what was the over all response to you telling Theresa's story?
The overall response has been overwhelming! Everyone loves my story. They can not believe what my family and I went through. Most of all ,they all tell me they could not put it down once they picked it up. They like the fact that I get right to the point without long drawn out chapters. All tell me also that it sounds like a movie.

Many times we as society sometimes glamorize crime family and stories about the mob. What do you think we should be mindful of about the the life we see on tv and in the movies?
I do think that tv and the movies glamorize and fabricate the stories about the mob crime families do how ever think the part of which how barbaric these men are in the way they think and kill people are all true. For instance in the Sopranos.The way those men killed people and covered it up and turned on one another ,along with the crooked cops and the FBI bugging them and all that is not far off from the truth .I've experienced all that in real life. That's not glamorized.Stuff like that really happens. These men are nuts!!

What is next for you now that your book has been published?
I actually have a script prepared from my story .I'm presently looking for representation. An agent ,producer or director that might be interested in a true crime non fiction mafia story. I decided to do this after numerous amounts of people told me I should. I worked on it with a friend that writes screenplays.He loved the story and thought it would make a great movie.

At the end of the day what do you hope people take away with them from your journey or truth from your aunts story?
I hope that people take away with them the fact that life is really hard. People make mistakes and sometimes its hard to get the bottom of what really is the truth.And that its hard to come to terms with sometimes you may never know all their is to know. And when that happens, you just have to let go and trust God .Even when you are not happy with the results and out come..I personally love a happy ending.To a movie ,book etc... Unfortunately, real life is not like that.

For more information about Maria Stewart's book LOOKING FOR CLOSURE, visit
To schedule interviews or appearances with the author, contact Cyrus Webb at or 601.896.5616.