Title: The Prodigal Son (A Rev. Curtis Black Novel)
Synopsis: The Reverend Curtis Black hasn’t spoken to his son, Matthew, in over a year-not since Matthew dropped out of Harvard to marry his girlfriend, Racquel, and be a full-time father to their infant son. Curtis knows that it was he and his wife, Charlotte, who drove Matthew away, but he prays that one day his son will forgive them and come home.
Then, there’s Dillon Whitfield-Curtis’s long-lost-son-who has settled in as a member of the Black family. Yet the transition has been anything but easy. Charlotte, convinced he’s only after Curtis’s money, wishes he would move back to where he came from. Dillon, however, has no intention of going anywhere. After a lifetime in the shadows, he’s determined to take his rightful place as Curtis’s first-born son and heir, and he’ll do whatever it takes to win his father’s affection-even if it means playing dirty…
As jealousy builds and secrets pile up, both of Curtis’s sons will be pushed over the edge and forced to take drastic action. Can these two troubled young men find their way back into the Black family fold, or will their family ties be undone once and for all?
Author: Kimberla Lawson Roby
Kimberla Lawson Roby is a quiet and soft-spoken woman, but the awesome power of her writing definitely makes her a Celebrity! It is indeed a pleasure to present to you today, our Celebrity Guest Author, Kimberla Lawson Roby.
CH: Kimberla, thank you for joining us today and congratulations on writing your twentieth novel. Please tell us a little bit about your latest release, The Prodigal Son, a new Reverend Curtis Black novel.
KLR: The Prodigal Son is the next installment in my Reverend Curtis Black Series, and it is told in the voices of Curtis’s two sons, Matthew and Dillon. One son hasn’t spoken to his parents in over a year, and one has just gotten to know his dad and is doing everything he can to fit into the Black Family fold. He’s also fighting for his dad’s attention, and he is willing to do whatever he has to in order to get it.
CH: The Reverend Curtis Black Series—a saga that centers on a prominent pastor and his wife and their struggles with money, power and infidelity. It began in 2000 with Casting the First Stone, did you have any thoughts that the series would be such a success?
KLR: No, not at all. As a matter of fact, before I wrote Casting the First Stone, I’d always said I would never write a sequel to any of my books. It was my 3rd novel, and my 4th and 5th titles center on totally different characters and storylines. But over the next three years, readers continued to ask me to write more about Reverend Curtis Black and his family, and my literary agent finally told me that because I had such a loyal audience of readers, I had an obligation to give them what they were asking for. So, in 2003, I finished writing the 2nd book in the series, Too Much of a Good Thing, which was released in 2004.
CH: Two characters whose lives have plenty of conflict are his son, Matthew, who dropped out of Harvard to marry Racquel and be a father to his son; and Dillon Whitfield, his first born, who recently entered the family picture. How do you keep conflict, rivalry and family tension constantly in the eye of the reader?
KLR: I’ve always believed that it is because of the fact that I write about very real-life issues, specifically those that tend to be taboo or controversial. My readers have always shared with me how they are able to relate to each of my storylines in one way or another or they know people (family, friends, etc.) who can.
CH: You’ve written several novels in this family series. Is it difficult to keep the ideas and stories moving along for each family member, especially with the new generation?
KLR: At one point, I did wonder how long I’d be able to continue writing the series, but now that I’m writing about Curtis’ adult children, I realize I still have a few more stories to tell. It has really become enjoyable for me to watch each of the children grow up and evolve.
CH: I’ve heard that sometimes you write 10-12 hours a day. How difficult is it to juggle family and your writing career when you’re on deadline?
KLR: Yes, when I’m writing the first draft of every book, I write 10-12 hours every single day until I finish it. Then, I go back and begin my rewrites. Also, because I have the most supportive husband in the world, he has no problem with my being locked away for about 4 weeks straight, and he even makes sure I have lunch and dinner daily. I only write two books a year, though, so it is only twice per year that I have to do this. When I’m doing rewrites, minor edits, marketing, etc., I work normal hours. Then, as far as my national tours and most other events, my husband travels with me, and I am truly grateful for that.
CH: What does your family think of your writing? Especially your mother, who encouraged you to self-publish in 1996, after you had received many rejection letters from literary agents and publishing houses?
KLR: My mother was extremely proud from the very beginning, and she was there every step of the way until she became ill. My husband and other family members continue to be proud as well. As a matter of fact, it was my husband who encouraged me to self-publish my first novel, and he also borrowed money from his 401K account so I could. He then suggested I quit my full-time job so that I could devote 100 percent of my time to my book. That was in November 1996, and I’ve been writing full-time ever since.
CH: You’ve written several stand-alone titles besides the Rev. Curtis Black Series. Of the 20 books you’ve written, which is your favorite? Are any of the characters based on you?
KLR: I actually have three favorites, all for different reasons. Behind Closed Doors because it was the book that began my career; and It’s a Thin Line, because it is the only book I’ve written where I based a character on myself and my mom. The Sydney character becomes the caregiver for her mom, who is terminally ill, and much of the dialogue is identical to some of what my mom and I shared with each other verbally. Finally, Casting the First Stone, because it took my career to a whole other level, and it has allowed me to connect with the best readers ever.
CH: Do you have a particular word count you try to achieve each day?
KLR: It sort of depends on how I’m feeling and how quickly the story is coming to me. Every writing day is different but when I’m writing my first draft, I try to write no less than 6,000 words per day. Sometimes it’s a little more, and I’ve also written 10,000 words in a day. This is very rare, of course, but it has happened.
CH: What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
KLR: It is certainly important to learn the craft of writing for technique purposes, but I also believe that one of the most important aspects of good “novel” writing is to tell a good, page-turning story. I also believe it is imperative that novelists write straight from the heart, and that they stick with their own individual writing style.
CH: Which do you prefer laptop or desktop for writing?
KLR: I use my laptop for all novel writing, but I use my desktop for everything else.
CH: What book(s)/author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
KLR: Your Blues Like Mine by Bebe Moore Campbell is still my all-time favorite novel, because it is the first novel that made me feel as though I never wanted to put it down until I finished it. This was years ago, but I remember feeling that way from the moment I read the first page.
CH: You won the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary
Work. When you began writing, did you think you would achieve so many accomplishments and such a variety of honors and awards?
KLR: No, I have to say I didn’t. I never as much as expected to make the New York Times, USA Today, Essence or Publishers Weekly bestsellers list, so I certainly never imagined I would win a NAACP Image Award. It was such an honor and a blessing, and that particular moment will always hold a special place in my heart.
CH: In September 2011, I saw you and talked to you in passing at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC. However, before then in June of 2007, I had the opportunity to interview you on my talk show, Just About Books, for your novel, Love and Lies. You’ve come a long way since then. Do you think your writing has changed and if so, in what manner?
KLR: Yes, actually it has. With my first nine books, I included a few four-letter words here and there (not many at all), but they were still mentioned. I also wrote a few sex scenes (very tasteful, but still there was some detail). However, in 2007 when I was working on my 10th novel, Sin No More, I prayed and realized that I couldn’t write certain words or scenes anymore. Profanity (even just two or three words) doesn’t represent who I am as a person, and more important, it doesn’t represent my love for God or my faith in Him. From the time I listened to God and made those couple of changes in my writing, I felt relieved and I gained a brand new level of excitement about my writing career.
CH: You will be on tour soon for this release and will be in Washington, DC and Alexandria, VA on May 13th. How do you prepare for your on-the-road tours when you have a book being released?
KLR: I am involved in lots of pre-publication marketing efforts and publicity interviews, I hold online contests for my readers, and I have to prepare to be gone for two weeks straight before getting back home for a short break. Mostly, I have to prepare for the physical part because during the tour, sometimes I’m only able to get four or five hours of sleep each night, as we tend to travel to a different state daily. But as I mentioned earlier, my husband always travels with me on all my tours, so that makes a huge difference. We always have a great time at every event, and there is absolutely nothing better for a writer than meeting her readers in person and hearing their comments.
CH: Where can your readers find you?
KLR: My facebook page: www.facebook.com/kimberlalawsonroby My Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=kimberla+lawson+roby My AALBC page: http://aalbc.com/authors/kimberla.htm Twitter: www.twitter.com/KimberlaLRoby Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kimberla-Lawson-Roby/e/B001H6S2LK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1/kimlawroby-20 Web Site: www.kimroby.com
CH: Do you have any closing remarks?
KLR: Thank you for allowing me to have such a wonderful opportunity, and I would also like to thank my amazing readers. I wouldn’t have a writing career without all of them, and I am forever grateful.
CH: Kimberla Lawson Roby, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and your book with my audience. Again, congratulations on writing your twentieth novel.
Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet.