Kimberla Lawson Roby to unveil 10th book in Rockford

Edith C. Webster

Kimberla Lawson Roby.

Even if you’ve never read her novels, you probably know she’s a New York Times best-selling author from the Rockford area.

If you are a fan, you might know that she is releasing her 10th book, “Sin No More,” on Jan. 22.

To congratulate her on this special occasion, we present 10 things you might not know about Roby.

1: She’s now on major label William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. But she self-published her first novel, “Behind Closed Doors,” in 1996. After selling 10,000 copies in six months, the rest was history.

2: The New York Times best-seller list might be the most prestigious she’s landed on, but she’s also appeared on lists in Publishers Weekly, Essence magazine, Barnes & Noble, and Wal-Mart.

3: She earned mostly A's, plus a couple of B's, while taking college-prep classes at Auburn High School in Rockford.

4: Her earliest memory of being recognized for her writing was when she was 9 and her antismoking essay was chosen to be read on a segment of CBS’ Saturday morning show “In the News.”

5: When she was growing up, she didn’t dream of being a writer. She wanted to be a gynecologist.

6: In her 2006 best-seller, “Changing Faces,” the character struggles with weight issues. In real life, Roby is a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers.

7: Her favorite writers are Bebe Moore Campbell, Barbara Delinsky and Terry McMillan.

8: Preparing for the national tour to promote “Sin No More” leaves little time to read, but she’s looking forward to reading “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” the 2007 novel by Khaled Hosseini (“The Kite Runner”), and “Nappily Faithful,” the new novel by Trisha R. Thomas (“Nappily Ever After”).

9: Gospel music is her favorite genre. Her favorite male R&B singer is the late Luther Vandross; her favorite female is Whitney Houston.

10: She always gives props to book clubs for supporting her work. She’s offering one lucky book club the chance to win dinner with her. The deadline to enter is Feb. 15.For rules, go to her Web site,

Emotional time for Roby's 10th book

Kimberla Lawson Roby’s mother, Arletha Stapleton, died in 2001, too soon to see her daughter publish her 10th book.

The best-selling author expressed mixed feelings as she contemplated this milestone, responding by e-mail:

“Well, actually, it’s an extremely sentimental and emotional time for me.

“I’m feeling sentimental, because it’s hard for me to believe that just 12 years ago, I received lots of rejection letters from agents and editors and was left with no choice except self-publishing my first book.

“More than anything, I wish my mom could be here to witness all that God has allowed me to accomplish — all that I know she prayed for.

“I wish that she could see how her being such a wonderfully compassionate mother has made an amazing difference in my life.

“Although, since she resides in my heart every second of every day, I have to believe that she does see and this, of course, is what keeps a smile on my face.”

If you go

What: Book signing by Kimberla Lawson Roby

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22

Where: Barnes & Noble, CherryVale Mall, 7200 Harrison Ave., Rockford

Cost: Free

Information: 815-332-3069;