Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chatting With Kimberla Lawson Roby

An Interview with Kimberla Lawson Roby

Q: In the two years since we last chatted, you’ve released two novels and one novella. “The Best of Everything,” “A Deep Dark Secret,” and “Be Careful What You Pray For.” You make Danielle Steele look like a “slacker.” When do you find time to sleep and how does it feel to be able to make a living doing something you love, which is writing?

KLR: Well, actually, I wish I could write as many books as Danielle Steel does each year, but even with only writing two books a year, I do find time to sleep and spend quality time with my husband. Then, as far as how it feels being able to earn a living from doing something I love, it’s a total blessing, and I thank God daily for allowing me to have a writing career.

Q: Each of your books, including the “Reverend Curtis Black” series, touches on so many different aspects of our lives as African Americans and African American women, in particular. Your books are so enjoyable and fun to read that I could literally sit down and read them without stopping. The only departure from that “urban chick-lit” niche was “A Deep Dark Secret.” It was an excellent book or “novella,” if you will, but so unlike anything else of yours I’ve read. I’ve never been a victim of sexual abuse, but so many boys and girls, men and women have. It’s something that as African Americans we tend to shove into a compartment of our brains and not talk about. You put it all out there. How difficult was it for you writing on this topic?

KLR: I’m glad you enjoyed it, and to be honest, it wasn’t difficult for me to write at all. At first, I wasn’t sure why it wasn’t, given the subject matter, but I think it’s because I truly believed the story needed to be written. Thank God, I didn’t experience nearly what the character, Jillian, experienced in the book, but I do know what it’s like to have an adult male touch me inappropriately when I was between the ages of six and eleven. I’ve also met so many women who are adult survivors of childhood sexual molestation and had never told another living soul until after reading "A Deep Dark Secret."

Q: “The Best of Everything.” This book was so good. In fact, you had me at the cover! I even had my daughter read it this summer. She’s 18 and I said, “It’s time you got a dose of reality, honey.” And I mean that because so many young girls, of all ethnic backgrounds, are sheltered and spoiled (like Alicia), coddled and can just make some outright bad choices. Young women need to know that there are all types of men out there. Some of whom can be trusted and some who can’t. Do you know anyone like Alicia and what research did you do to develop her character for “The Best of Everything?”

KLR: Unfortunately, I’ve met lots women, young and older who have shopping addictions or women who think they should be able to have anything they want. I also know women who are more interested in finding a man who can give them material things versus finding someone who will treat them well and love them unconditionally, and this is, of course, very sad.

Q: Okay. “Be Careful What You Pray For.” Every time I think I’ve read my favorite book of yours, you crank up the volume. Loved it. Why are we never satisfied and why does the grass always look greener on the other side? Do you think there are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there both in the church and outside of the church?

KLR: I’m so glad you loved "Be Careful What You Pray For." To answer your first question, I’m not sure why many people are never satisfied with what they have or why they are positive life could be so much better for them, if they could switch places with another individual. Maybe it’s because as human beings, we sometimes see what we want to see and want to believe that someone else has it better than we do. As far as wolves in sheep’s clothing, yes, this exists inside and outside of the church.

Q: My favorite pastor – Reverend Curtis Black. Considering what’s going on with the church today – I mean, in the past years, months, weeks, your books are moving from “fiction” to straight up “da truth.” How important do you think the black church is to African Americans overall?

KLR: The black church is extremely important to African-Americans, because most African-American adults began going to church as children and now those adults take their children to church. This is also the reason members of all congregations should make sure they have an upstanding pastor leading the church—someone who will set a good example for everyone. What the church should have is a pastor who is living the kind of life God wants all of us to live. No one is perfect, and we all fall short, but there are simply some things a pastor just shouldn’t do.

Q: Have you considered having Curtis Black establish branches of his ministry to include churches on the West Coast (i.e. Oakland or San Francisco)?

KLR: That’s too funny! Well, I guess you never know…especially since he’s known worldwide! He also now has his own Facebook page, too!

Q: Lastly, tell me what we can expect from your upcoming release “Love, Honor and Betray,”* without giving away anything because I can’t wait to read it!

KLR: Love, Honor, and Betray centers on Curtis, Charlotte, and Curtis’s little illegitimate two-year old daughter, Curtina, who must now move in with them permanently (her mother has just passed away). Unfortunately, however, Charlotte can’t stand the sight of her stepdaughter and wants her out, and this causes major problems along with much heartache and pain in the Black household.

Kimberla Lawson Roby is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Be Careful What You Pray For, A Deep Dark Secret, The Best of Everything, One in a Million, Sin No More, Love & Lies, Changing Faces, The Best-Kept Secret, Too Much of a Good Thing, A Taste of Reality, It's a Thin Line, Casting the First Stone, Here and Now, and her self-published debut title, Behind Closed Doors. Her novels have also frequented many other bestseller lists, including those in The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Emerge Magazine, Barnes and Noble,, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin Chronicle to name a few. In addition, Ms. Roby received the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE. She is also the 2006, 2007 and 2009 recipient of the Author of the Year—Female award presented by the African-American Literary Award Show in New York, the recipient of the 1998 First-Time Author Award from Chicago’s Black History Month Book Fair and Conference, her fifth novel, A TASTE OF REALITY, was a 2004 finalist for the Atlanta Choice Awards sponsored by the Atlanta Daily World, and TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING received a 2004 Patron Choice Award from the Central Mississippi Regional Library System. She lives in Illinois with her husband, Will.

Bio courtesy of Hachette Book Group

For a complete bibliography of Ms. Lawson Roby's work, visit her website:

*Look for "Love, Honor and Betray" in bookstores everywhere on January 10, 2011!


B. L. said...

Good interview. I haven't read any of her books, but after reading this interview, I'm going to have to start reading them. She gives me hope that one day I will get my first novel published. :o)

Tee said...

Your interview with her made me feel like I was sitting with the two of you enjoying a cup of coffee!
I can't wait to get my hands on her latest book. I would love to see one of books made into a Lifetime movie.