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ImageBreak the Chains is an inspirational, compelling memoir about forgiveness.

Dr. Jay D Roberts takes the reader on an interesting and enlightening journey, from the time he was a little boy raised by a military father who abused him, to the time he studied medicine in the Philippines in the midst of communist insurrection, to the time he fell victim to a deadly disease and eventually was miraculously healed in Lourdes, France. Above all, the author takes the reader on an internal spiritual journey of the heart and soul, from darkness to light, from slavery to freedom.

I enjoyed reading this memoir. In a simple, straight-forward manner devoid of superfluous words or descriptions, Dr. Roberts states the facts and allows the reader to make his own conclusions about the meaning of life, faith, persistence, love and, of course, forgiveness, which is the central theme of this book. The story moves back and forth in time, showing glimpses of the author at different pivotal points of his life. I found the flashes to his childhood quite disturbing, especially the way Dr. Roberts’ mother rationalized  her husband’s abuse of their son. I also found inspirational the way the author persevered to become a doctor and help patients in spite of all the barriers he had to overcome. In addition, the segments about the political upheavals in the Philippines were like a little history lesson. I wasn’t aware of this particular time in history and was glad to learn about it.

This book is the poignant story of one man’s struggles to break the chains and find peace. Fans of inspirational and Christian memoirs should pick this one up.

Break the Chains book is available on AMAZON B&N / TATE PUBLISHING.

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Roberts_Jay-2491-EditJay 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/

BUY BREAK THE CHAINS ON AMAZON / B&N / TATE PUBLISHING 

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.

9781627467582medWere there times when you wanted to stop? If yes, what kept you going?

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!

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Amber Leaf, Minnesota, 1942.

In spite of the hardships of war, young Jo Bremley lives in considerable happiness with her husband and 7-year old daughter. Then one night, influenced by his best friend, Jo’s husband announces that he has decided to join the war. Before he gets a chance to, however, he’s the victim of a snowstorm accident. Now a young widow, Jo tries to make ends meet as best as she can by doing laundry for an establishment called O.M. Harrington.

During the year following her husband’s death, Jo runs into several difficulties which put her job in danger. Her husband’s best friend, whom she’s always blamed for her husband’s death, sets up a successful law practice; her daughter has a couple of unfortunate incidents with Big Ole, the owner of O.M. Harrington; and Jo doesn’t think she’ll be able to get her daughter the Christmas gift she deserves. Eventually, through a series of twists, the characters learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness, all in time to celebrate the holiday season.

Though Tracks in the Snow is a slow read, and got me a little frustrated at times, I ultimately enjoyed it. I appreciate the way the author took her time in developing her characters and the question of how she was going to put all the loose ends together at the end kept me reading. At times I found Jo too perfect and goodie-goodie, but in the end she wins me over. I especially like Big Ole and his gradual change from a grumpy old man to a caring person. He has a nice character arc. The story is a snapshot of a family in Minnesota during World War II. The author did a good job portraying this situation.

The ending of Tracks in the Snow is heartwarming, without being preachy. In sum, although the pace of the book is slow, the characterization and the writing are good. If you’re looking for a page-turner, this isn’t the book for you, but if you like to take your time when reading a story and getting to know the characters, and you appreciate realistic fiction, you’ll enjoy Tracks in the Snow.

For more info, visit the author’s website or Amazon.

Originally published in Blogcritics

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Lisa is a brilliant, 30-year-old computer programmer recruited by ISF-Intel Securities Foundation, a contractor for the Department of Defense. At such a young age, she already has a patent on a software that the DOD is willing to buy from her at any price. Overnight, it has become the most sought-after program on the planet.

Then one day she is kidnapped and badly hurt in the process. To avoid giving her captors what they want, she fools them by faking amnesia. What keep her alive are thoughts of seeing again her son and the man she loves.

Meanwhile, her father Sam and her son Zach, together with the authorities, are doing everything they can to find her. Sam has a love-hate relationship with Lisa because he blames her for the death of her mother–and the only woman Sam ever loved.

Their relationship is further damaged by the fact that he took Zach away from Lisa and raised him as his own son. His action was partly due to the fact that Lisa was only a young teenager when she had Zach. The story, told in multiple points of view, switches from Lisa and her ordeal as she’s kept captive, to Sam and Zach as they try to find her.

There is quite a lot of backstory, especially at the beginning, which together with various punctuation mistakes, was somewhat distracting. However, I was able to root for Lisa and I also found interesting the dark family dynamics taking place between father and daughter, and mother and son until the compelling ending when there’s a transformation among the characters.

Part-thriller, part-drama, Betrayal and Forgiveness is an out-of-the-ordinary story that will appeal to fans of Christian fiction.

Purchase from Amazon.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN BLOGCRITICS.

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