We all have a story to tell
Kim Roberts didn't set out to write a book.
The 49-year-old only joined local author Latisha Washington's online course because she wanted to try “something different” before she hit the big five-0.
However within four weeks she'd written a novel, Shamefully Discreet. A book signing was held at Brown & Co this month.
“I had no history of writing whatsoever, but I came across 16 Weeks to Published with Latisha Washington and signed up,” she said. “And then I got to the first class and it was articulated that we would be published; I didn't know the objective was to actually publish a book!”
Ms Roberts “laughed and I laughed and I laughed some more” — and then got to work.
She was one of seven people drawn to the 16-week course. Every Sunday, between 2pm and 5pm, the would-be authors worked towards a set goal — completing a novel of at least 40,000 words.
She describes Shamefully Discreet as “a nice, short, easy, fun read”.
Set in Bermuda and based on a true story, it follows three women through the “trials and tribulations” of their friendship journey.
Their relationship is tested after “secrets and indiscretions” are shared one night.
“It's a relatable experience,” Ms Roberts said. “I talk about high school, what they did during their summers back in the day, the rites of passage.
“It also speaks a lot of what happens in our community, topics that generally get swept under the rug: sexual abuse, crime, infidelity, betrayal, struggles in school, bullying and court custody — things we tend not to talk about; we act like they don't exist.
“The names and persons and locations have all been altered to protect their identities.”
Ms Roberts was the only person on the course to meet the 16-week deadline.
“I finished my writing in four weeks. The rest was editing. I had two editors who sent my book back to me and stretched me to open up the story.”
She's grateful for the help received from her alpha readers. Carla Zuill, a former Bermuda journalist now living in the UK, and Ms Washington both gave useful industry advice.
“We worked together ensuring a clean manuscript,” Ms Roberts said.
Her beta readers, people asked to stand in for her book's eventual audience, also “played a really integral role”.
“They got my raw manuscript — which was a daunting task,” Ms Roberts said. “I knew them and trusted them. I sought out people I knew would be brutally honest even if it hurt: Trina Dowling, Garita Coddington and Lisa Arroyo.
“They were drawn in from the beginning and said they were going to see it through.”
That they did it in spite of busy work lives and families was most appreciated, the author added.
“And they knew I was on a very strict timeline, so you can imagine that intensified the process. I encouraged them to give me the raw truth and for the most part, according to the feedback, we pulled it off.”
Her husband, Anthony, and children, Malaysia and London, “were all encouraging” even though it meant time away from them every Sunday and some nights during the week.
“My husband worked along with me throughout the process,” Ms Roberts said. Now that the book is complete, she finds it “all a bit surreal”.
“I was able to sell 160 books in five days,” she said. “But I believe we all have a story, it's a matter of making it an interesting one.
“Latisha, who I now consider my mentor, is definitely encouraging me to do a part two.”
Ms Roberts's bucket list also includes a helicopter ride and zip lining. She plans to cross them both off before her November 3 birthday.
• Shamefully Discreet is available on Amazon and Kindle for $20. Copies can be ordered through Brown & Co or bought at Kita's Beauty Salon & Barber Shop at 63 Court Street — 295-7110. Learn more about Latisha Washington's course at brooklynknightauthor.com/16-weeks-to-published
What readers have said about Kim Roberts’ book, Shamefully Discreet ...
• “When I started it I found it hard to put it down because I was anxious to know what was coming next. One day to finish, and eagerly awaiting the sequel. A must read!!” Karen Pitt
• “I started to read it about 6pm waiting for my husband to pick me up — needless to say couldn’t put it down. Just finished the last page — what a read, enjoyed every minute of it, I’m actually going to read it again now that I know the ending.” Sandy Pascall
• “What an excellent read your book was. I read it in a few hours. Could not put it down. Knowing the author personally made it all so surreal. Each turn of the page was like you couldn’t wait to read what would happen next. Proud of you Kim. Ready for part two.” Tracy Warner