From New York Times bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby comes the ninth installment in her award-winning Reverend Curtis Black series. It's been months since Reverend Curtis learned that his wife Charlotte had affairs with two different men, and for now, he continues to be cordial and respectful to her.But he's also made it clear that once their son Matthew graduates high school, he will be filing for divorce.
Charlotte, on the other hand, continues to do everything possible to make amends in hopes of saving their marriage. Unfortunately, Curtis is ready to move on and is being propositioned by a woman who desperately wants to become the next Mrs. Curtis Black. When the situation heads down a path that is frighteningly shocking, could it be the final blow to this once blessed union?
Buy Now: IndieBound, Amazon or BN.com Primary Topics: Church, Marriage, Infidelity, Relationships, Love, Family
Intimate Conversation with Kimberla Lawson Roby
New York Times Bestselling Author Kimberla Lawson Roby has published 16 novels, including her first novel, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, which was originally self-published through her own company, Lenox Press. Her novels have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times , USA Today, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Emerge Magazine, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin Chronicle to name a few. THE REVEREND’S WIFE was released May 1, 2012.
BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
As early as elementary school, my teachers were telling me I should be a writer, and that encouragement continued in jr. high, high school and even from my instructors and professors in college. However, it wasn't until I was 30 years old that I finally sat down and wrote my first novel. I always felt that there was something else I was supposed to be doing, so in April 1995, I started writing every single evening an weekend and kept going until my novel was finished at the end of that year.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
THE REVEREND'S WIFE is my 17th novel and also the 9th title in my Reverend Curtis Black Series. The story centers on Curtis and Charlotte and the fact that Curtis is still planning to divorce Charlotte once their son, Matthew, graduates and heads off to Harvard in the fall. Sadly, only a few months before, Charlotte made the huge mistake of sleeping with two different men, and while she is doing all she can, trying to make amends, Curtis has decided he wants to move on. I think what makes my RCB Series characters special is the realness of their personas and actions. The stories are fictional, but the overall plots and personalities of the characters are very relatable to people in real life.
BPM: What inspired you to write this book? Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
I am always inspired to write the next Reverend Curtis Black title because of my readers. No matter how many stories I write about Curtis and his family members, my readers continue asking for more of them. This is very encouraging to me as a writer, and my literary agent, Elaine Koster, who has now passed away, told me a long time ago that I have an obligation to give my readers what they're asking for. So while I had never planned on writing a series, I completely agreed with her and decided to continue the saga.
BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
Every now and then, I might base certain dialogue or situations on what I've seen or heard, but overall, my stories are totally fictional. I do tend to portray my feelings toward having strong moral and family values through my characters, though, which is why my characters always suffer noticeable consequences when they don't do the right thing or don't make good choices in life. I am a huge believer that we should all treat people the way we want to be treated, and that we also reap what we sow.
BPM: Share with us a quote or brief excerpt from one of the most powerful chapters.
Charlotte just didn’t understand how they'd arrived at this point in their lives. Yes, they’d had problem after problem. Yes, there had been scandal after scandal, and yes, she and Curtis had both committed adultery. But what about “for better or worse” or “till death do us part?” Had Curtis forgotten those words? Words they’d told each more than a decade ago in the presence of witnesses, and more important, before God?
He seemed so through, and while she’d been trying to stay positive, it wasn’t until this morning that she finally realized he truly didn’t want her. She’d seen it in his teary eyes when he’d held her hands. He’d spoken a few words, but his eyes had revealed the full story: He was genuinely sorry, he hated that things had turned out so terribly, but he would never trust her again. Trust or the lack there of, that’s what this whole scenario had boiled down to, and Charlotte knew she was to blame for it. She’d wanted to believe Curtis was just as guilty as she was, but she could no longer deny what he kept saying: She’d been the first to have an affair, it was only then that he’d had his with Tabitha, and then she’d had two additional affairs last year. The score: Three to one, and even in baseball, three strikes always meant you were out. You didn’t get do-overs or second chances, the game simply continued on with the next player. In Curtis’s case, she knew he would continue, too, with the next love of his life, whoever that was going to be. ###
BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
In the end, what I want readers to realize and learn from THE REVEREND'S WIFE is that everyone makes mistakes, we all have fallen short of the glory of God at some point in our lives, and that forgiveness can bring so much peace in a person's life.
BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
As a writer, my hope is to entertain, but my ultimate goal is to inspire and help as many people as possible. Before I write each chapter, my prayer is that God will give me the words He wants me to say, so that readers will learn something they may not have known or thought about before reading my work and/or that they will be helped in one way or another.
BPM: Please share with us a thought or reflection on your journey to this point in writing or your philosophy on life in general?
My philosophy on life in general always centers around The Golden Rule. Also, I created a quote a long time ago, that I live by daily: "Believe in God, believe in yourself, and believe in whatever it is you are trying to accomplish---believe in that order."
BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what's next? Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. How may our readers follow you online?
I just submitted my January 2013 novella, THE PERFECT MARRIAGE, and now I'm working on the 10th title in my Reverend Curtis Black Series for the spring of 2013. Readers can contact me through my web site, on Facebook or on Twitter at the following addresses: www.kimroby.com, www.facebook.com/kimberlalawsonroby, and www.twitter.com/KimberlaLRoby.
CHAPTER EXCERPT: THE REVEREND'S WIFE
Charlotte smiled at Curtina, the stepdaughter she once hated, and could hardly wait for her guests to arrive at the huge birthday bash they were throwing for her. Curtina had turned three shortly after they’d moved into the new church, and today, here it was a whole year later in the middle of May, and her little princess was actually turning four already. She was a big girl now, and Charlotte was glad she’d chosen the most adorable little bright pink jean outfit, with cute little rhinestones forming a heart across the back of the jacket, for her to wear. She was picture perfect and more beautiful than any child Charlotte could think of. She was as sweet as anyone could imagine and a joy to be around—she was the daughter Charlotte couldn’t and wouldn’t ever want to live without, no matter the circumstances.
Charlotte scanned the pink, lavender and white decorated family room in the lower level of the house and was satisfied with the way everything had turned out. The area was filled with tables adorned with festive table cloths and a plethora of balloons, some held down by weights and others touching the high ceiling. The setting was just right, and there was no mistaking that Charlotte had spent weeks planning the biggest party Curtina had been given during her four short years on this earth, and that Charlotte had enjoyed doing what she thought would make her daughter happy.
“So, are you excited sweetheart?” Curtis asked Curtina.
“Yep. And I can’t wait for all my friends to get here.”
“I’m sure,” he said, hugging her at his waist side.
Charlotte studied her husband from head to toe. After all these years of being married to him, nearly eleven that is, Curtis was still as gorgeous as ever, and truthfully, even better-looking than when she’d met him. His skin remained flawless, his hair still held a soft wave, and even a person with poor eyesight could see how religiously he worked out. He was still the man of her dreams, the man she loved with all her heart, the man she was finally completely committed to—even if he refused to believe it.
Yes, she’d made tons of mistakes, the most recent being last year when she’d slept with two different men, but she couldn’t have been sorrier for her actions. She’d allowed her ill feelings toward Curtina, the child Curtis had conceived outside of their marriage and brought to live with them permanently, to get the best of her, but now she felt differently. Today, she had forgiven Curtis and since Curtina’s mother had passed away, she was honored to fill that role. It was true that for a while, she’d treated Curtina horribly and had wished she could move elsewhere, but soon Charlotte’s heart had softened and she’d slowly become close to her. As time had continued, she'd come to love and cherish Curtina as if she were her own.
Nonetheless, her new feelings toward Curtina hadn’t made much of a difference to Curtis, and his plans hadn’t changed. He was cordial and polite enough whenever he was around her, but he’d made his intentions very clear: he was still divorcing Charlotte as soon as Matthew headed to Harvard three months from now. He seemed so sure about it, like there was no way anything could change his mind, and this saddened Charlotte. It terrified her because she didn’t know what she’d do without her husband. She had no idea how he could possibly expect her to go on, when as far as she was concerned, there was no life for her at all if it wasn’t with him.
But no matter what she said, no matter how hard she pleaded her case, he didn’t seem to care one way or the other. He was quite set on his decision, content with it even, and all Charlotte could do now was pray for some sort of a miracle. She was hopeful that God would soon intervene and bring them back together again.
Then there was her semi-strained relationship with Matthew, her handsome six-foot-two and highly intelligent eighteen-year-old son who had always been a very caring and forgiving child but now couldn’t seem to fully forgive his mother for the way she’d hurt him. Just thinking about that Tom character and how he’d forced her to meet him at a motel made her cringe, not to mention the sneaky way he’d tricked Matthew into driving miles to witness it. Matthew had even knocked on the door and caught her trying to get dressed, and while this had all been Charlotte’s fault—her sleeping with Tom, a man she’d never met, right after drinking too many long island iced teas at a jazz club outside of Chicago and then being blackmailed by him—Tom’s actions had still been downright dirty. They’d been deplorable at best, and it had taken her months to try to forget about him—months before she’d finally stopped toying with the idea of getting revenge.
“Agnes, thank you so much for all your help,” Charlotte said to their long-time housekeeper. “Thank you for everything.”
“Of course. I was glad to do it. Especially for my little pumpkin,” she said, smiling at Curtina.
“Thank you, Miss Agnes.”
“You’re quite welcome, sweetie.”
“I’ll bet you’re going to get a lot of gifts, Curtina,” Alicia said, standing close to her ex-husband Phillip, and Charlotte wished that witch hadn’t even bothered coming. There was a time when Charlotte had loved her stepdaughter, Curtis’s eldest child and the one he’d had with his first wife, but now Charlotte couldn’t stand her. Although, it wasn’t like it was Alicia’s fault that things had turned ugly between them, it was Curtis’s. Their falling-out had occurred right after Curtis had given Alicia total control over his estate, should something happen to him, and just before Curtis had transferred all of his money into new accounts that didn’t bear Charlotte’s name. Some were now being jointly held with Alicia and some were listed in his name only, and this angered Charlotte to no end.
The only problem was, there wasn’t a whole lot she could do about it—not when Curtis had told her right from the beginning that if she caused any difficulties for him financially, he would have no problem releasing a few of those degrading photos of her that Tom had sent him. She also didn’t complain because in all fairness to Curtis, he wrote her a five-figure check on the first of every month and had promised to do right by her when it was time for the divorce settlement. He’d told her how he didn’t expect her normal way of living to change, and that he would always honor the fact that she was his son’s mother.
“We should take a couple of family photos,” Matthew suggested.
Curtis looked for a spot they could all stand in. “I agree.”
“How about outside?” Richard said, pointing toward the sliding glass door. Richard was the hired photographer who had come highly recommended by multiple parents at Curtina’s school, and Charlotte was glad she’d contacted him.
“Sounds good to me,” Curtis said. Everyone, including Agnes, paraded through the lower level and out to the patio, and Richard positioned each of them into place.
“I’m the smallest, so that’s why I have to be in the front,” Curtina announced proudly.
“Maybe I should kneel down in front of you,” Matthew said, teasing her.
“No, Matt, then no one will be able to see me, and it’s my birthday, remember?”
“Whatever, little girl,” he said.
Everyone laughed but all Charlotte focused on was Curtis and how she wished she could do more than just stand beside him. What she longed for was his touch and the way he’d once held her—all the time. She wanted this and so much more, and she was willing to do whatever it took to win him back. She would do anything to make him love and trust her again, and she prayed the opportunity would present itself—before it was too late.
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