In PAPER DOLL LINA (Lake Union Publishing/Amazon, September 2021), debut novelist Robyn Lucas delivers an honest and deeply moving portrait of life as the victim of domestic abuse—something she experienced first-hand during her 19-year marriage. Her debut novel comes in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
In the story, Lucas’ main character Lina Henry is a devoted mother and wife who has come to think of herself as a fragile paper doll. She lives in a beautiful home, her husband David is a well-to-do investment banker, and her two teenagers are wonderful, kind kids. To the outside world, she has it all. But behind closed doors, Lina’s paper doll life is being torn apart by her controlling, manipulative, and abusive husband.
In our conversation with the author, she talks about her journey to publishing and how it has changed her life. She encourages authors to “enjoy every moment” of the publishing journey while admitting that she sometimes has pity parties of her own–so intense that her sister sends her cupcakes to cheer her up.
When talking with this bubbly author, one would never suspect she has ever had a bad day She’s a delight to talk to. Her writing is well-formed and accessible and her dialogue believable. She is so honest she also conveys how she had second thoughts about publishing with Amazon, which she says some people characterize as “the evil one.” But she maintains the experience has been a wonderful one.
In the book, Lina wasn’t always a paper doll. Slowly over time, David chipped away at her confidence, sense of security, and self-esteem. Imprisoned in her own home and at the mercy of her husband’s mood swings and alcohol-induced violence, Lina knows she must figure a way out for herself and her kids. When Lina develops an unexpected friendship with a kind, charming and generous man, and reconnects with her former best friend, she begins navigating a way out of the emotional minefield that is her home. But as David senses his loss of control, he becomes more dangerous, and Lina must do everything in her power to protect herself and her children. In order to take back the happiness she deserves, Lina must first rediscover the strength and the fearlessness of her three-dimensional self.
We asked what prompted her to begin writing. “I had a dream the weekend Charlottesville happened and started writing rather immediately to distract myself from the chaos,” explains Lucas. “Little did I know I was writing about intimate partner violence that mirrored that of my marriage and echoed some of what my friends and neighbors were going through. Slowly, I began to put the pieces together and realized my own marriage was far from normal and I needed to either get help or get out. The abuse escalated until I had to take out a protective order September 2018. After 19 years of marriage, my divorce was finalized October 2019.” Robyn Lucas has partnered with Free From* to raise money and awareness about domestic abuse and has already donated $1,000 to the cause, which supports survivors of domestic abuse in building financial security.
PAPER DOLL LINA is a compelling and emotional story of abuse and survival. It’s a story of a mother who will stop at nothing to protect her children and a portrait of a woman fighting to return to herself. It’s also a story of hope and second chances.
ABOUT ROBYN LUCAS
After finding her way to Atlanta, Georgia, by way of Hawaii, USVI, Miami, and South Carolina, Robyn Lucas developed a successful career in communications and marketing. Her background came in handy when her teenagers created an award-winning mental health app. But living the fabulous life is tough, so Robyn grounds herself with piles of laundry, managing busy teenpreneurs, and writing women’s fiction because it’s cheaper than therapy. When Robyn is not writing (with a spreadsheet filled with plot bunnies for countless novels), she enjoys traveling, spending time with her teens, marathoning (TV shows, not running), reading, and snuggling with her dog, Trooper. For more information, visit www.robynlucas.com.
ABOUT FREE FROM: Free From is a national organization, based in Los Angeles, whose mission is to dismantle the nexus between intimate partner violence and financial insecurity. Learn more at: https://www.freefrom.org/