Finding Success Through Faith-Spiritually, Personally, and Professionally. An Intimate Conversation With Kimberla Lawson Roby
By Lissha Sadler
Kimberla Lawson Roby is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and now a podcast host. She has sold nearly 3 million copies, and she has written 28 books, including her new faith-based, nonfiction book “The Woman God Created You To Be: Finding Success Through Faith-Spiritually, Personally, and Professionally.” She is a trailblazing pioneer in African-American Literature, and she is also the 13th NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work—Fiction, a recipient of the 2017 SOAR Radio Trailblazer of Honor Award, the 2017 Southwest Florida Reading Festival Distinguished Author Award, the 2017 AAMBC Christian Fiction Author of the Year award, the 2014 AAMBC Female Author of the Year award, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013, African-American Literary Awards Show (New York, NY) Female Author of the Year award, the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE, and in 2001, Kimberla was also inducted into the Rock Valley College Alumni, Hall of Fame (Rockford, IL). And in August 2020, she was named by USA Today as one of the 100 black novelists you should read.
“What I enjoy most about my writing style is that whether I'm writing fiction or nonfiction, I write using my own voice and in a conversational manner.”
: A black woman who can write is powerful. What does the power of your pen mean to you?
KR: For me, writing is a wonderful blessing, as it allows me to express my thoughts and creativity in a way that I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. My hope and prayer, too, is that everything I write will help as many women as possible, in at least one way or another.
LS: How does your creativity flow? How do you avoid burning out?
KR: For my fictional stories, I always begin by deciding what topics I want to center them on. Then, I spend days mentally creating and getting to know my characters. From there I outline the first 15 – 20 chapters, and then I begin writing them. For my nonfiction book, even though there were no fictional characters or storylines, the overall process was pretty similar, but for the nonfiction title, I also had to share so much of my own life throughout the entire book. In terms of preventing burn-out, I did eventually experience that a few years ago, which was the reason I took a step away from everything for a while.
LS: Why do you write?
KR: I have always loved writing, even as a child, and then once I wrote my first book and readers began telling me that they could relate their own lives to the storyline or that they’d been helped or inspired by it, I decided from then on that I would always write about real-life social issues, hoping I could help at least one woman or many. For my nonfiction book, I wrote that for the same reason.
LS: You are a very accomplished author, and now you have a new podcast. What made you create a podcast?
KR: The same as God placed the book on my heart to write The Woman God Created You to Be, He also gave me the idea for the podcast—The Woman God Created You to Be. So as it turns out, the book is now the companion piece to the podcast, and my prayer is that each weekly episode will inspire, encourage, and motivate women to become the best they can be in all areas of their lives.
LS: You have become a pioneer for African-American Authors, how does that make you feel?
KR: Although I have been writing for 25 years, I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself to be a pioneer. But if my writing career has helped encourage even one person to become a writer or to follow their purpose and dreams, I am so very grateful for that.
LS: Your latest book “The Woman God Created You To be” is a change from what you normally write. Why did you choose to write a nonfiction book?
Tell us about the vision behind this book.
KR: A few years ago, I woke up very early one morning with this urging to write my first nonfiction book, and although I tried my best to ignore it, I soon realized that this was a calling God had placed on my life. Still, I continued writing fiction, but no matter how many days, months, and years passed, the calling and the idea for the book wouldn’t go away. So toward the end of 2017, I decided to submit to my publisher the final book in my Reverend Curtis Black series, take a break, and begin outlining and writing The Woman God Created You to Be. Then in terms of the vision behind the book, the overall theme completely coincides with my overall purpose which is to help women become all God created them to be.
LS: If you could change anything about the literary industry what would it be?
KR: I would broaden the scope of advertising and promotion so that readers could become much more aware of all books and not just those that are written by bestselling authors.
LS: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
KR: 1) Make sure writing is your God-given purpose. 2) Write something you feel a lot of passion for. 3) Find your own voice and write straight from your heart. 4) Write every single day, even if only a paragraph or a page. 5) Before submitting your work to an agent or publishing company or before self-publishing it, always have your manuscript edited by a professional content editor, copyeditor, and proofreader.
LS: What will your top priorities be moving forward in your career?
KR: I will be focusing on creating content for my podcast and releasing weekly episodes.