Roby, Kimberla

By Dominick A. Miserandino,

DM) In your book, how closely are the sisters based on your own family members?

KR) The sisters in my book are not based specifically on any of my family members. However, Marcella is an example of thousands of women throughout this country--women who are struggling to raise their children on their own as single moms. Racquel is an example of lots of different women as well, in that she is having a very difficult time dealing with some infertility issues.

DM) There have been some critics who've said that it's impossible for a single parent to be a sufficient role model. What are your thoughts on this subject?

KR) It is my opinion that single parents can be sufficient role models for their children, if they are responsible and have a certain sense of family values and high moral standards. In reality, there are many children who were raised in single-parent households who are now extremely successful.

DM) What was your family life like?

KR) It was wonderful. My parents and grandparents raised my two younger brothers and me to have strong family values, and they taught us to be responsible individuals. My family was very close-knit, and I believe, now that I am an adult, that it made a world of difference for me.

DM) There are a lot of articles about the "new wave of African-American fiction." Some people feel that there is no need to categorize, as it only singles out the authors, and others feel it helps promote the authors. Where do you stand?

KR) I believe the categorization of African-American fiction is both an advantage and a disadvantage..an advantage because it does help promote authors to African-American readers, who are generally the primary audience for African-American fiction. But it may be a disadvantage in terms of not being made as accessible to readers of any ethnic background.

DM) Do you feel your books can be appreciated by people of other ethnic backgrounds?

KR) Yes, I do, because when we talk about issues such as marital differences, single parenthood, infertility, and so on, what we find is that people of any ethnic background are able to relate to the storyline.

DM) What have your readers' reactions been?

KR) The reaction from my reading audience toward my latest novel, HER AND NOW, has been extremely positive. Most of the comments have been that readers cannot put the book down until they finish it and/or that the story was very real and that they could really relate to the characters and what they were going through.

DM) When did you first start writing stories?

KR) I first began writing in April, 1995. My first effort was BEHIND CLOSED DOORS; and prior to that, I had never written any short stories or articles of any kind. I always enjoyed writing, but it wasn't until I decided to do something other than working with marketing and finance that I decided to sit down and write a novel.

DM) What did you do in marketing and finance?

KR) I've held a number of positions pertaining to both, but in my last position, I worked as a Rehabilitation Analyst, which was a combination of a financial and marketing analyst. I was responsible for marketing the City of Rockford's housing programs to low to moderate-income first-time homebuyers and homeowners who needed their properties rehabilitated. I was also responsible for qualifying applicants for the financing of their project.

DM) Now are you concentrating on writing full time? What is your typical day like?

KR) Yes. I have been writing on a full-time basis since November 1996, and on average, I try to write one chapter per day when I'm writing the first draft of a manuscript, and I spend as many hours as necessary during the rewriting and revising process.


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