Expert storyteller and bestselling author, Kimberla Lawson Roby will be traveling around the country on her “Love Honor and Betray” tour. On Jan. 19 she was in Pittsburgh at the Homewood Library for a book signing hosted by the United Black Book Clubs of Pittsburgh. Dozens of her fans were in attendance. They braved the bad weather to hear one of their favorite authors talk about the characters that many love and love to hate.
The beauty of meeting an author, is you get to ask questions about how characters were created, where do the titles come from and what will the characters do next. Roby has produced 15 titles in fifteen years. Like many authors her first book was self-published. In the self-publishing world you are writer, editor, jacket designer, marketer and publicist. The do it yourself of self-publishing really hit home when she was told that her first order of 3,000 books was on the way and she would have to unload the truck.
Surprisingly writing was not a lifelong dream or passion for Roby. She felt that in order to find contentment she had to find something that she loved doing whether she received payment for it or not. After taking a long hard look at her likes and dislikes she realized that writing kept rising to the top of her list and she decided to write a novel. She began writing in 1995 at 30 years old while working full-time in business and marketing. She tried to find an agent for her novel and continued to send out manuscripts. She says manuscripts to authors are very much like babies to mothers, each mother thinks their baby is the prettiest. After a lot of rejection letters for her “pretty baby” she entered the world of self- publishing. Her first novel, “Behind Closed Doors” was published by her own company Lenox Press. Her books are now published by Harper Collins.
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, 2007, 2009 and 2010 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.
Roby was in Pittsburgh with her husband Will Roby and according to the dedication page in her book, “Casting the First Stone,” he makes her heart sing every day of the week. The “Love, Honor and Betray” tour continues on to Lansing, Mich.; Dayton, Ohio; Winston Salem, N.C.; and Chicago.
In “Love Honor and Betray” the infamous Rev. Curtis Black is back. His sinful past is certainly no secret, as his wife, Charlotte, is well aware. But, once again, their marriage is in serious trouble. The reason: Curtis’s former mistress has just passed away, and Curtina (Curtis’s illegitimate two-year-old daughter) must move in with Curtis and Charlotte permanently. Sounds like a page turner to me.
(E-mail the columnist at email@example.com.)