Kim Robinson

Kim Robinson

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
March 21, 2005

Q. Who is Kim Robinson?

A. I am a forty five year old wife and mother of three who believes that I am alive today because God is going to use me through my writing to help and educate others and use me as an example to others that you can change your life with his help. You see I lived in the fast lane. Growing up in Compton and with a family of hustlers I chose a life that gives you no peace. When you are doing wrong you always have to look over your shoulder. I did not value my life, because I did not value myself, I had no religion. I have been through many traumas in my life and do believe it is so I can help people who are still where I was.

Q. What inspired you to write the novel The Roux in the Gumbo?

A. My grandmother was always telling those stories that start with, "let me tell you about the time" or "I remember when" and I was pregnant at the time. She was telling me about her life. I was pregnant at the time, and thought that just like it was important to me to know these things, that one day my children and the others in the family should know about this, so we started writing.

Q. How did you come about the title?

A. My grandmother had a café where I would work in the kitchen cleaning chittlin's and prepping food since the age of five. My favorite dish was my grandmother's gumbo and she always said that life was like a pot of gumbo, you got out what you put in. She always said that the Roux was the most important part, cause you can taste the flavor in every bite. The Roux is the gravy base, equal parts of flour and oil browned while you constantly stir so it doesn't scorch. I think that everyone has a Roux in their life and my grandmother was the Roux in my life. She was a big influence. I think a little of her flavor is in everything I do.

Q. What type of research did you do for this novel?

A. My Grandmother visited me about every three months and we would add to the book and then when she die and I went back home, my family sent me tapes and would call me with their contributions. Then I went to Louisianna and I met a lot of people who remembered my great grandmother and I met quite a few people who were family and they gave me permission to use the information they gave me. My parents and uncles and aunts gave me quite a bit of the details. I started having dreams about ancestors also and when I researched I found out my dreams were true. Most of my books that I am working on now come from dreams and I do think that people who have pasted on are showing me their stories that were written.

Q. How long did it take you to write The Roux in the Gumbo?

A. Twelve years. My grandmother and I were watching Oprah and she was talking about her book that told her life story and she said, "Shoot I should write my life story, I have a lot of stuff happen in my time." I was on total bed rest during the end of my pregnancy and she was visiting to help me and I started writing down her memories. When she got ill and went into a coma I went back home and was reading to her and the family was sitting around listening and adding there memories when she said my name. My family believes in signs and they all encouraged me to finish writing the book and here I am.

Q. How long have you been writing?

A. I have been writing poetry since I was a young child, something to do with Dr. Seuss. I didn't get serious about writing until my Grandmother died.

Q. What does your family members think about your novel?

A. They are really amazed, happy and proud. They have started getting their memoirs together for a second book for the next two generations.

Q. Are you currently working on another book/novel?

A. I have a cook book coming out soon. The cookbook is a collection of recipes submitted by authors and business owners and the same page with their recipes is bookcovers and purchasing info and links to the websites. Currently I am focusing on two books; God ain't spelled government is the story of a government Alien conspiracy. Pollution and disease is about to destroy the planet so in order to start over they are going to set off bombs from satellites. When the wife of a department of defense employee leaks the info at the twenty year high school reunion the government finds out and since they don't know who she told they are assassinating everyone who attended. The class of 77,along with the black underground, and several multiracial organizations, ban together to stop the conspiracy. G-mama is a ex prostitute who quites the business and spends her days helping others change their lives as she did when she developes a relationsip with God. It is an eight book series that I call "Murder she wrote for the hood" When Crimes cross her porch she solves them and encourages the perpetrators to do something to make up for their crimes in God's eyes. She believes that the penitentiary is just "college for criminals." I am also writing my life story "Streetlife to Housewife." The title speaks for itself.

Q. What type of atmosphere do you require to write?

A. I have lymphademia, and need to elevate my legs several hours a day. I used to have the computer on a desk with wheels next to the bed, during a time when I could not walk. But now that I am a little better and get around more, my husband said that he would not have the computer in the bedroom anymore. I used to wake in the middle of the night with things that had to be written down and he did not like the glare of the screen or the noise at three in the morning when he is trying to sleep. We have a living area upstairs and I took a lounge chair from outside and took the wheels off the desk and with a lot of pillows this is where I am about 16 hours a day. I also keep the television or music on constantly. My best writing comes time is usually five in the morning when I first wake.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from reading The Roux in the Gumbo?

A. I would like more people to realize that to know where you are going, you have to know where you came from, which means you have to know about your ancestors. Your children and their children should know that it was not just a walk in the park to get where we are today. Every culture has gone through struggles. Civil War, holocaust, depression era, and people don't talk about this much, but blacks are not the only slaves. We have things like education and equal rights and that did not just fall out the sky, a lot people died making the world what it is today, good and evil.