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New York Times Bestselling Author and NAACP Image Award Winner Kimberla Lawson Roby



Interview by Vanessa Richardson

VR: When did you know that you were chosen not to just write but to become an author?
KLR: I sort of knew this when I sat down and began writing my first novel.  It felt very natural, and I truly enjoyed the entire process.  Then, once it was published, I couldn’t wait to write my next novel.

VR: What has your literary journey been like for you?
KLR: It has been an amazing and very blessed journey.  I have the best readers in the world (so very loyal and very kind), and winning awards like the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work- Fiction, along with being the September 2013 cover story for Writer’s Digest Magazine are not accomplishments I ever imagined would happen for me.  I also never expected to write 20 books.

VR: What is your writing process like?
KLR: With the exception of two of my novels, I’ve always written the first draft over about a 6-week period.  When I’m writing the first draft, I try to write every single day for 10-12 straight hours until it’s complete.  Then, I go back to do rewrites and revisions.

VR: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
KLR: Years ago, there was one book where my literary agent encouraged me to change the ending, but once it was published, some readers were very disappointed because they’d wanted it to end the way I’d originally written it.  So, ever since that time, I haven’t changed, added or deleted anything from my books that I don’t feel comfortable with. 

VR: What were the challenges you faced in bringing forth any of your books?
KLR: After writing my first book, I sent out query letters to quite a few literary agents, but no one was willing to represent me.  I received a rejection letter from each of them.  Then, when I contacted a few editors at major publishing houses, the same thing happened.  Thankfully, however, my mom told me I should give up, and then it was my husband who suggested I use my business background to start my own company to self-publish my novel.  Today, I am very glad I did because having no other option but to self-publish is what allowed me the opportunity to learn everything I could about the business of publishing, something that is extremely important.
VR: What advice would you give aspiring authors?

KLR: Make sure writing is your passion, learn the craft of writing, write straight from your heart, never mimic another writer’s style or voice, and learn absolutely everything you can about the business of publishing, specifically how to market and promote your work.

VR: Are you working on any new projects?
KLR: Two weeks ago, I submitted my 20th novel, THE PRODIGAL SON, which will be released May 13, 2014, and this fall I’ll be submitting a novella entitled A CHRISTMAS STORY for next year as well.

VR: What is something that your readers would find interesting about you?

KRL: My readers would probably be surprised to know that writing wasn’t a lifelong dream of mine, and that I didn’t write my first book until I was 30 years old.


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