INN THE BASEMENT 2009 Exclusive Interview With Kimberla Lawson Roby-New Book A Deep Dark Secret
Kimberla Lawson Roby needs no big introduction as she has written multiple books that have sold to become best sellers. It has been a while since our last talk from Kimberla, so when requested the interview, she accepted and decided to check INN THE BASEMENT to fill us in on some personal details about herself and her book, A Deep Dark Secret that is to hit the shelves September 29th. On to the INN THE BASEMENT EXCLUSIVE!
Mirika ITB: What is truly amazing is to be able to speak with you Kimberla about a topic that I hold dear to my heart and that is child abuse. Your book, A Deep Dark Secret, is to be released in September, and of course, with one simple scan, the book reveals a fantastic story.
Having published two books of my own about the same topic and gaining feedback from those who have been in the situation is incredible. Please tell me, what is it or what are the various things that made you want to tell the story of Jillian, the young woman who is abused in A Deep Dark Secret?
Kimberla Lawson Roby: I wanted to write this story because childhood sexual molestation is not talked about nearly enough, and because far too many adults would much rather shy away from this particular topic. Not to mention, that while I didn’t experience the same situations the character Jillian did, I do know what it is like, firsthand, to be touched by an adult male when I was a child. I also know what it is like to not tell another living soul for years. Additionally, when I learned that this was happening to one in four girls as well as one in six boys in this country and that 39 million adult Americans are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I knew it was an important story to write and one that was very needed.
Mirika ITB: Kimberla, you have said that you can actually identify in many ways with the character Jillian in A Deep Dark Secret. The fact that you felt compelled to hide an “inappropriate touch” for years must have been very difficult for you, atop the fact that you more than likely, had to come into the presence of that person more than once during your life.
While writing the book, was it a constant reminder of the pain that you felt while dealing with the reality? Did you reach from your instance at some point and create certain realities in Jillian, though your experience not quite the same?
Kimberla Lawson Roby: You know, actually, it wasn’t a difficult story for me to write, and I’m sure this is mainly because I didn’t write my own personal story. I did think of certain conversations and incidents that happened in my own life, but what I wanted more than anything was to create a character who represented, not just my situation, but also that of so many other women who have shared their stories with me.
Mirika ITB: Jillian, in the section that I read is going through something that is actually “ordinary” for many, though totally not normal. In one section of the read, I was floored when the abuser was concerned about her saying her prayers and in the next moment, he was touching Jillian in the most awful way. For someone to even say God and then abuse a child is horrifying, but real. Right into chapter one, the character Jillian asks that question that many ask, why didn’t God save her from her father?
What are your own words to children or adults still suffering at the hands, voice and memory of their abuser(s) who tend to believe that God should have done something and continuously ask God why?
Kimberla Lawson Roby: Regardless of what terrible thing might happen to any of us (i.e. sexual abuse, losing a loved one, losing a job, being stricken with a major illness, etc.)—my take on questioning God is that we shouldn’t. Of course, at some point in our lives, we all do still question Him about one thing or another, because I know I certainly did when my mom became terminal ill, but what I learned to do very quickly was keep my faith and belief in Him as strong as I possibly could. I also learned to accept that everything happens for a reason, even if only to help us with something in the future, or so that we will one day be able to help someone else. For me, I truly believe that the reason I experienced what I did as a child, was so that I could one day talk about it publicly, get more dialogue going on this subject and hopefully help other victims on a number of different levels. My other advice to any child or surviving adult is to refer to and live by the following scripture: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
Mirika ITB: I can’t agree with you more! Amen and bless God. Now, what really got me is the scene in church when Jillian’s “father” went to the microphone and discussed how going to Sunday school molded him into the man he is today. I almost slid out of my chair! And a deacon in the church! Wow. I love the Lord and God sees all ugly, but that was really ugly. Poor Jillian had to pretend that deacon wasn’t a devil!
In your opinion, how would someone learn to find forgiveness for someone who was literally a devil to them, bringing hell into their life on earth? Do you believe that it is even possible to stand up after living in “hell” and look forward to a better life?
Kimberla Lawson Roby: Learning to forgive is not the easiest thing to do for most human beings who have been hurt, deceived or betrayed, but because God forgives, we all have a responsibility to do the same. Also, yes, it is very possible to stand up and look forward to a better life, no matter how horrible your situation or experience may have been. As a matter of fact, my mom used to say that for everything bad that happens, there will always be something good that comes out of it, and she was very right about that.
Mirika ITB: Finally, Kimberla, I want to thank you for this interview, and I really can’t wait for A Deep Dark Secret to release so that I can get my hands wrapped around it! As far as book signings and the like, you book pretty fast, going from Illinois to D.C. and Missouri. Will you head down south this year around NC, SC or Georgia, or will that have to wait until 2010…if then? I’ve been talking to many people about this new book, and they are waiting anxiously! The south loves you!
Kimberla Lawson Roby: I love, love the South as well! But, yes, unfortunately, with the exception of Nashville and possibly Tampa this fall, the southern portion of my tour won’t commence until 2010, when I plan to visit Charlotte, Atlanta, Memphis, Ft. Lauderdale, Dallas, & Houston.
A Deep Dark Secret by Kimberla Lawson Roby Release date September 29, 2009
So there we all have it! Kimberla Lawson Roby checked INN THE BASEMENT about her new book A Deep Dark Secret, and it is already hot not even being on the shelves yet! Get your ups on A Deep Dark Secret by visiting her site and reading a portion of the book right now at her site www.kimroby.com and continue to read more about her below.
Roby, adored by legions of readers for her works that focus on true-to-life social issues — from her first novella, ONE IN A MILLION, and her 11 previous novels, including the extremely popular Rev. Curtis Black series — considers her upcoming release to be the most significant up to this point in her writing career.
An Essence Book Club Pick by Essence magazine for November 2009, A DEEP DARK SECRET tells the story of 12-year-old Jillian Maxwell. On the outside, Jillian is the perfect child. She’s helpful with chores around the house, gets straight As in school, has plans for college, and stays out of trouble. She seems to have everything a girl could want: a big, beautiful new home, an adoring little sister, a mother who cares about her, and an attentive stepfather. But inside, Jillian harbors a terrible secret.
Too frightened to tell, convinced that her friends and loved ones, especially her mother, won’t understand — and worse, will blame her — Jillian endures her pain in silence, all the while hoping that things will get better. However, as time passes and her dilemma intensifies, the bright, hardworking girl becomes sullen and disinterested in her studies. Then, just when it seems she’s on the verge of losing everything, Jillian discovers she has more strength than she ever imagined…and the power to change her fate.
With sensitivity and grace, Roby addresses a very real and serious issue, while delivering the inspiring tale of one family’s mission to shed light into the darkest corner of their lives.
Roby’s novels have frequented bestseller lists, including The New York Times, and lists for Essence, The Washington Post, Upscale magazine, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart and many others. Roby’s CASTING THE FIRST STONE received the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award for 2001, after also remaining the number-one Blackboard bestseller for four consecutive months in 2000. CASTING THE FIRST STONE also was a book club selection by radio personality DeDe McGuire, who now hosts “Afternoons with Doug and DeDe” with Doug Banks.
Kimberla Lawson Roby is the author of the acclaimed works The Best of Everything, Sin No More, One in a Million (novella), Love and Lies, Changing Faces, The Best-Kept Secret, Too Much of a Good Thing, A Taste of Reality, Behind Closed Doors, Here and Now, Casting the First Stone and It’s a Thin Line. She lives with her husband in Illinois.