THE BLOG
10/28/2014 05:41 am ET Updated Dec 28, 2014

My Conversation with David Ritz

Tonight I'm joined by New York Times best-selling author David Ritz. This prolific writer has published some 53 books, including five new tomes out this year. Those titles include collaborations with Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Rick James, Andrew Dice Clay and me. Together we wrote Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year. Also now in bookstores is David's definitive biography of Aretha Franklin, Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin. This is the second time he's delved into the life and legacy of the Queen of Soul. He co-wrote her autobiography 15 years ago.

Over the course of our conversation David and I talked about a range of topics, including his intellectually demanding father, how he deals with the challenge of stuttering -- something he still copes with every day -- and why he is so drawn to musicians and their craft.

In the clip below I asked him why after co-writing an autobiography with Aretha Franklin he still felt there was more for him to say.

For more of our conversation, be sure to tune in to Tavis Smiley on PBS. Check our website for your local TV listings: www.pbs.org/tavis.

Follow Tavis Smiley on Twitter @tavissmiley