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Bobby and Cheryl Love: On the Power of Telling Your Own Story

Bobby and Cheryl Love discusses the process of writing coauthoring their memoir, The Redemption Of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice.

Bobby Love was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a husband, father, and church deacon. Cheryl Love was born in Brooklyn, New York. She is a wife, mother, and nutrition coordinator. The Loves currently split their time between Brooklyn and the metro Atlanta area.

In this post, Bobby and Cheryl discuss the process of coauthoring their memoir, The Redemption Of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice, the power of forgiveness, and more!

Name: Bobby and Cheryl Love
Literary agent: Brian DeFiore, DeFiore and Company Literary Management Inc.
Book title: The Redemption Of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice
Publisher: Mariner Books/HarperCollins
Release date: October 5, 2021
Genre/category: Memoir
Elevator pitch for the book: This is the inspiring, dramatic, and true account of an escaped convict and his wife of 35-plus years who never knew his secret, which captured the imaginations of millions on Humans of New York. With the drama of a jailbreak story and the incredible tension of a life lived in hiding, The Redemption of Bobby Love shows what it’s like to build a life from scratch, the pain of festering secrets, the truth about forgiveness, and the unbreakable bonds of love that keep a family together.

Bobby and Cheryl Love: On the Power of Telling Your Own Story

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What prompted you to write this book?

Bobby: I thought my story would be a good read. That’s what got me started. When I asked Cheryl if she wanted to be a part of it, at first, she said no. [laughs] But I always thought other people would be interested in my life, because it’s not exactly a regular life story. People always want to hear about how I escaped from prison, but I also wanted to share how God has shown up in incredible ways in my life.

Cheryl: I didn’t want to go public with my life story at first, but eventually I realized that this is our story, Bobby’s and mine. Bobby and I went through this experience together, so, telling the story together was the only way to do it. He had to tell his side of things, and I had to tell mine.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?

Bobby: It took years. I’ve wanted to share my story for a long time, but wasn’t sure how to get it out to the public. Then we met Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York. As soon as Brandon posted our story, things happened quickly. So, the idea to write a book has been with me for a long time, but once the real process got started, it didn’t take any time at all.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

Bobby: Writing a memoir is tricky, because people in your life might not like what you’re going to say. Some of my family members have given me the cold shoulder about the book, because they’re worried about how they would be portrayed. But this isn’t about them. It’s about me and my wife and our life. So, I’ve learned that you can’t please everybody, so it’s best if you just write the best book you can telling your own truth.

Cheryl: For my part, I’ve had to realize that I don’t have to be perfect to share my story. This book is about me and my own experiences. I don’t have to be an expert in anything. I can just be myself. I’ve always known that, but the importance of it is really clear in this process. And I hope that by sharing my imperfect story, other women will see themselves in the book and be inspired in some way.

Bobby and Cheryl Love: On the Power of Telling Your Own Story

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

Cheryl: Before we decided to write the book, I didn’t want people to know that my husband had been in prison. I just wanted to live our lives like regular people. But people wanted to hear our story, and I realized that we’d overcome something that truly showed our strength as a couple and individuals. The writing process has helped to heal something in me. Putting this story out there for other people has freed me from feelings of shame and secrecy. I feel so much love and compassion around us, just from sharing this story.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

Bobby: I hope they see it as a love story. I hope people learn more about the prison system and take an interest in prison reform.

Cheryl: I just want them to know that love never fails. When you love someone, it won’t always be good. There will be bad times. But you have to stick with it if that’s who you love and want to be with. And for goodness’ sake, forgive. If you can, forget. But definitely forgive. When everything came out about Bobby’s past, he asked for my forgiveness. We wouldn’t be where we are if I didn’t give it to him.

Bobby: I’m a blessed man.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Bobby: Be truthful. Be as truthful as possible in what you’re doing and in how you’re doing it.

Cheryl: Be prepared for surprises. I didn’t think I would cry writing this book as much as I did. And use your voice. Don’t muffle it, because it can help somebody else.

Memoir 101

The goal of this course is to teach you how to structure your stories, develop your storytelling skills, and give you the tips, techniques, and knowledge to adapt your own life stories into a chronological memoir. Learn more about the genre through Writing and Selling Your Memoir by Paula Balzer and The Truth of Memoir by Kerry Cohen.

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