Friday, January 30, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Kimberla Lawson Roby

In THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, Alicia Black Sullivan, firstborn daughter of the notorious Reverend Curtis Black, is newly married to assistant pastor, Phillip Sullivan. All is well…until Phillip discovers that Alicia (who has been pampered by her wealthy father and is quite accustomed to owning – and buying – luxury goods) has burned through at least $20,000 by shopping on QVC and at Chicago’s finest malls, despite his warnings against spending more than she has. As the two argue their way through their first few months of marriage, Alicia’s shopping addiction begins to affect more than just their bank accounts.

New York Times Bestselling Author, Kimberla Lawson Roby, has published eleven novels which include, 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 debut title, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, which was originally self-published through her own company, Lenox Press. Her novels have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times and 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 and both BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and CASTING THE FIRST STONE were #1 Blackboard bestsellers for four consecutive months in both 1997 and 2000. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was the #1 Blackboard Best-selling book for paperback fiction in 1997.

In addition, Ms. Roby’s first novel was nominated for Blackboard’s 1998 and 1999 Fiction Book of the Year Award, and she received the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE. She is also the 2006 and 2007 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, and her fifth novel, A TASTE OF REALITY, was a 2004 finalist for the Atlanta Choice Awards sponsored by the Atlanta Daily World. Additionally, TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING received a 2004 Patron Choice Award from the Central Mississippi Regional Library System.

Ms. Roby resides in Illinois with her husband, Will. Her twelfth title, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, will be released on January 13, 2009.

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

Unfortunately, a great number of people in our country spend tons of money they just don't have and then find themselves struggling with over-the-limit credit card balances and very low credit scores. So, my hope is that readers will see just how consequential financial irresponsibility can actually be and how devastating it can be on families and all other relationships.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I wanted to write about this topic because I think it is so important that we as Americans begin focusing a lot more on saving for rainy days and retirement and that we stop placing so much focus on keeping up with the Jones. I wanted to show the serious problems one woman's shopping addiction could cause on a marriage.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that shopping addiction is a real illness and that it has more to do with trying to fill some kind of an emotional void. Some people do it because they may not have had much growing up and now want to make up for it in their adult lives, some may have been given everything they wanted when they were a child and now as adults want that tradition to continue, and some may be lonely, depressed or dealing with other underlying issues.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
That the biggest challenge for me is hoping I can satisfy every reader who reads my work. With every novel I create, I write straight from the heart and in the best way I know how, yet this is still my greatest worry. I know it isn't possible for every single person to love it, but I still hope for that all the time. It is also hard because sometimes reviewers and readers can be very cruel with their criticism.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

That I should write at least something every single day. Walter Mosely gave me that advice three years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Trying my best to meet my writing deadlines, all while taking care of my terminally-ill mother and ultimately losing her. She was very ill from 1998 through 2001, the year she passed away.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Wow, that's a hard question, but one thing I'm sure they might be surprised about is my sometimes uncontrollable sweet tooth. I love, love, love various cakes and pies, and sometimes can't get enough of them.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

If I had it to do over again, I never would have used any words of profanity in my work just because it is sometimes used by people in real life---especially since I don't use words like that myself. In my first nine novels, I didn't use profanity on every page and not even in every chapter, but on occasion, if a character was angry, hurt or had been betrayed in some way, I did have the character say a select word here and there. But as I began writing my tenth novel, SIN NO MORE, I wasn't comfortable with using even one curse word in my work and haven't done so with any book since then. The other good news, too, is that I have felt very relieved about the change I made, and I am excited to be doing what I believe God wants me to do.

How do you reach new readers?

I spend as much time as possible, all year long, figuring out new ways to market and promote my work to lots of readers--those who have been very loyal to my work for many years and also to those I'm hoping will try it for the very first time. I also work very hard at communicating directly with my readers, both by e-mail when I'm home and then in person when I'm on the road doing events.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

Bebe Moore Campbell because she wrote my favorite novel of all times, YOUR BLUES AIN'T LIKE MINE, Stephen King because he is an absolute genius when it comes to writing (I know this, and I'm not even a horror fan!), and James Patterson because I'd love to know how he continues to take his brand to extremely new heights, one year after another.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do learn as much as you possibly can about the business side of writing and publishing.

Don't mimic the writing style of any other author.

Our theme for this month is Family Literacy, what do you do to promote literacy in your family?

I give books away as gifts. Also, last year, my ten year old nephew found a children's author he loved, and I immediately went online to see what other titles the author had written and then I purchased most of them for him.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Mailing address: P.O. Box 1264, Belvidere, IL 61008



Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

My next book is a novella about a seemingly happy twelve year old girl named Jillian and how her stepfather (whom everyone loves and trusts) has been sexually abusing her for five years. It will be released on Tuesday, October 27, 2009.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Best Of Everything.


Rhonda McKnight said...


Congratulations on your new release. The novel sounds very interesting. I have a shop-a-holic trying to fill a voice in my current work in progress. It is a serious problem.

Kim - You're Blues Ain't Like Mine is my all time favorite novel, also.

Rhonda McKnight

bettye griffin said...

Like Kim and Rhonda, I'm also in awe of Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, which in my opinion is BeBe Moore Campbell's masterpiece. Her use of metaphors in that book just about blew me away, and I realized how important it is to avoid tired and clich├ęd phrases in novel writing.

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