Jay D Roberts MD is a board-certified physiatrist, specializing in the treatment of physical disabilities with a focus of adding quality to life. He is currently in private practice in California. He is a member and lecturer at national and international conferences related to his specialty, a contributing author to Current Trends in Physiatry, and author of various scientific papers. In addition to his career, Dr. Roberts volunteers as part of a Christian ministry in maximum security prisons. He and his wife, parents of two grown sons, live in Indian Wells, California. Break the Chains is Dr. Roberts’ first book. Following in the long tradition of doctors who combine their passion for saving lives with their passion for writing, Dr. Roberts is currently at work on a novel, concerning children forced to work in mines. Visit http://jdrobertsmd.com/
Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself, the person, as well as the doctor who treats patients?
I always wanted the love of my father, even just for him to like me or be proud of me. That is what drove me to be the best in what ever I did. But it did not work. He never told me once he loved me or that he was proud of me. It is “interesting” that I gravitated to treating people for their pain and wounds, while I could not heal my own.
I understand you went to medical school in a third world country against a dangerous political backdrop, and on your return, you had to deal with the demons you’d left behind. Could you expand?
I went to medical school in the Philippines, mainly to get away from my father. Living under martial law was challenging and threatening. It taught me how lucky are those who live in a free and democratic society. But the iron fist rule by Marcos was nothing compared to my tyrant reign of my father over me. While in medical school, my father was dead to me. Returning to the States and facing him again, reignited the terror that had been burnt into my being since my childhood.
There are many events which led to the writing of your poignant, powerful memoir, Break the Chains. Can you share with us some of these events?
So many- tortured by my alcoholic father; turbulent lifelong dialogue with God; cheated death from accidents; escaped attempts on my life by rebel insurgents in the Philippines; healed from a fatal disease; hating myself, God, and my father, until I learned the power of forgiveness in prison.
When did you start writing the book and how long did it take you?
I started about ten years ago. But it was awful. It read like an emotionless scientific paper, so I stopped for a few years. Then I bought books on the craft of writing, attended writing workshops, and started writing again. After a year I stopped again. This time because it was too painful to write of my past shame. I could not write for two years. Three years ago, I surrendered to my burning desire to write and dove head first into my memoir.
Yes. Every time I took down a stone from the wall around my heart, and exposed deep wounds that had been buried for years, I wanted to stop. But the burning desire, that flame that burned deep inside of me would not be extinguished. And Buddy, who you’ll meet in my story, told me I must continue. To trust him. And I did.
Was the completion of this work cathartic?
Immensely. I never had any form of therapy as a child. First, during my time you never revealed to anyone what went on inside your home. Second, only crazy people or those rich movie stars went to therapy. The process was painful, as I broke down the walls around my heart that had protected me for years and years. In fact, I stopped writing it for two years because of the pain.
What themes do you explore in your memoir?
- Mysterious power of forgiveness
- Affirmation of faith in God and the human spirit
- Physical, mental, and spiritual growth
- Adapting to survive in two cultures
In terms of craft, what did you find most challenging about writing the book?
The English language! In my schooling, I shined in math and science, not English!!
What message do you hope readers will take away?
My hope and prayer is that my story will help others understand the importance and power of forgiveness to break their chains and be set free.
Is this a spiritual book a reader from any religious denomination can enjoy?
Absolutely! Forgiveness is for everyone, regardless of religious denomination, or absence of one.
Tell us about your publisher, Tate Publishing. How did you find them?
After many rejections, one glorious day, one of my mentors, Joan, found my book a home with Tate Publishing & Enterprises, a Christian-based, family owned, mainline publishing house.
I thank Dr. Tate for believing in my story and all the staff at Tate for their help in making my book a reality.
What’s on the horizon for Dr. Jay D Roberts?
I am currently finishing my first novel, Tin Kids, about the abuse of kids in tin mines. It is a medical, political thriller. I am very pleased with it. Can’t wait to send this baby out into the world!!
I plan to use proceeds from my books to help build an orphanage and return to medical missionary work to help heal the wounds of the less fortunate ones.
Any last words you’d like to share with my readers?
Never stop writing. Never take “no” for an answer. I was rejected- by many editors, publishers, and agents. I was even told to my face, “Even if you can write, which you can’t because you’re a doctor, and, anyway, no one will ever buy your book because you’re a nobody.” Believe in yourself. You are somebody!