Best-selling author discusses her work


Author Kimberla Lawson Roby.

Publicity photo
Published: Friday, January 24, 2014 at 1:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:19 p.m.

Kimberla Lawson Roby, a New York Times best-selling author and winner of the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work — Fiction, will make her first-ever appearance in Gainesville during "An Afternoon with Kimberla Lawson Roby," presented in conjunction with the sixth anniversary of the Opinionated Ladies Book Club.

Facts

If you go

What: “An Afternoon with Kimberla Lawson Roby,” a New York Times best-selling author
When: 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25
Where: Alachua County Library Headquarters, 401 E. University Ave.
Information: 334-3909

Sponsored by the Opinionated Ladies Book Club, the Friends of the Alachua County Library and the Alachua County Library District, the author's visit will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Alachua County Library Headquarters at 401 E. University Ave. in downtown Gainesville.

"We're going to celebrate our anniversary with a best-selling author, cake and punch," said Cynthia Moore Chestnut, founder and president of Opinionated Ladies.

Best-selling author Brenda Jackson of Jacksonville was the featured author last year.

The book club, which had its first meeting in 2006 and was formally organized in 2007, has 12 members who meet once a month, with the host each month deciding where the group will meet.

Roby, 48, author of the Rev. Curtis Black series, will read from her collection of 19 published books, share tips for aspiring authors, discuss her journey to becoming a best-selling author, answer questions and sign her books.

"I'm really excited to be coming (to Gainesville)," Roby said. "I love book clubs and libraries. I'm looking forward to meeting my readers, and I will share tips for aspiring writers."

Roby's novels deal with real-life issues, including corruption within the church, drug addiction, gambling addiction, infidelity, social status, single motherhood, infertility, sibling rivalry and jealousy, domestic violence and many other issues.

A resident of Belvidere, Ill., near Chicago, Roby took the risk of leaving a successful career as a financial analyst for community development with the city of Rockford, Ill., to concentrate on her writing.

She said she received many rejection letters, but she credits her husband, Will Roby, and her late mother, Arletha Stapleton, with encouraging her and not letting her give up. She said her husband encouraged her to start her own publishing company, Lenox Press, in 1996, and helped her financially. Her first book, "Behind Closed Doors," was published by Lenox Press. Currently, her books are published by the Grand Central Publishing Division of Hachette Book Group in New York.

"I would never have considered starting my own publishing company," Roby said. "I couldn't have done it without my husband and my mother."

In addition to being on the New York Times best-seller list, Nickie Kortus, marketing and public relations manager at the Library District, said Roby's books have been named to numerous best-seller lists, including The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence magazine and others.

During the event, Chestnut said the library will have a display of Roby's books for those attending to check out with their library card. In addition, she said Wild Iris Bookstore will have books for sale at the event. However, Chestnut warned that this year, Roby will only be able to sign up to four books per person. Last year, one person attending the event brought 90 books.

"We'd like to recommend bringing (no more than) four of their favorite books for her to sign," Chestnut said.

The first book in the very popular Rev. Curtis Black saga is "Casting the First Stone," which was released in 2000. Roby said she didn't plan for a series, but her readers kept asking for more about the Rev. Black and his family.

"What readers have shared is that they want to see more of Rev. Curtis Black and his family because they can relate to the storyline surrounding a pastor, his wife and problems in the church," said Roby, adding that her 20th novel, "The Prodigal Son," will continue the Rev. Black series. It will be released May 13.

"I've followed the Rev. Curtis Black," Chestnut said. "There is something to learn from his experiences, and it's a fun read."

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