Meet Roberta Burton:
Because The Burgundy Briefcase is a work of fiction written like a memoir, it is character driven. For that reason, a little of my personal background is in order. I had to give the main character Lee Lindsey reasons for her actions. I came from West Virginia. The Appalachian writers who remind me of my cultural roots continue to influence me. An avid reader, I have been writing since high school.
My arrival in the Tampa-Bay area of Florida provided me with a different culture and sometimes-dangerous environmental encounters like Palmetto bugs, coral snakes, and alligators, not to mention violent thunderstorms and hurricanes.
I have a master’s in clinical psychology and a doctorate in marriage and family therapy. I am also a private pilot. My other interests include Tai Chi, alternative healing modalities, spirituality, quantum physics, and philosophy. I continue to take classes in these subjects.
Like Lee, my biggest strength is also my biggest weakness. Tenacity kept me writing for six years on one book and keeps me holding on to ideas, relationships, and anything else long after I need to let go. My biggest aha moment was the discovery that all my writing has been about my search for meaning.
The Burgundy Briefcase is a novel, not an autobiography. The caveat is a lesson I learned in graduate school: sentence completions give away who I am at the time. So, yes, I am in all the characters. One thing I noticed was how I kept a file in my head of those things I would think about later. Then when at a writing conference, the presenter gave the prompt, “Write about an inanimate object that could be a metaphor for something in your life” I saw what I had done. I happened to have a burgundy briefcase that I used all through undergraduate through my doctorate degrees.
I wrote The Burgundy Briefcase to share my experience, strength, and hope with those searching for that something to make their lives better. I started out to tell the story of getting a doctorate degree and to understand how I could have stayed connected with someone like Frank. By getting some distance, I began to see connections with both the cultural and family systems that drive us as humans. Then, I began to see connections with the hoarding of things with the need to hoard relationships. The more I fictionalized it, the more I learned, and the more fun I had.