A Q&A, from December 2013, with novelist Khara Jhanielle Campbell:
Not My Will is your first novel. Sex before marriage, such a hot evergreen topic among the number of single Christians in this country. How did the idea for this book arise?
The protagonist Virtue was inspired by me. I wanted to abstain from having sex and honor my faith while dating but the guys weren’t having it. It was very difficult wanting to be faithful to God and wanting to fulfill my own sexual desires. That is why I created Virtue’s character; I wished I had a book like this to read during my struggle. At that time I felt like I was alone, it seemed everyone else was having sex and my wanting not to made me feel like a black sheep. Also at the time I was just restarting my relationship with Christ and I just felt other “seasoned” Christians didn’t understand where I was in my walk of faith, I needed a real life example of how to not continue to give in to sex while waiting for marriage, other than sending me to read a scripture. I wasn’t developed in my knowledge of the bible yet, all I had was real life experiences. Not My Will puts a real life face to the situation and a way to encourage others that they can and should stand up for their faith.
What is your goal as a writer? Do you set to educate or entertain?
Both! I love using my imagination and coming up with stories and characters, and I also like for people to end my book feeling inspired for the better. Life is a lesson learnt each day, if my book can entertain and inspire or bless someone that would be great.
How did you obtain your book deal?
I researched, researched, researched! I kept looking until I found a publisher I thought would be interested in my work. My debut novel is in the genre of Urban Christian, but it's not your typical Christian fiction. I needed a publisher that appreciated the story and message. I finally found Delphine Publications after almost two years of searching and receiving rejection letters.
What are you doing to prepare for your book launch?
I am represented by Dawn Michelle Hardy publicist at Dream Relations, PR & Literary Consulting Agency. She is an established and well known book publicist who is guiding me on the launch of my first book. I am also working on promoting myself to readers and introducing my voice via my personal blog and serving as a guest contributor on various sites including Black Literature Magazine and The Praying Women. I don't just want readers to know my novel, I want them to know me. I'm joining writing and author groups, placing ads, doing interviews like this, and networking on social media to name a few.
Where do you see the genre of Christian fiction going in the coming years?
People seem to enjoy reading Christian fiction. The genre encompasses many timely life lessons for us all. I hope it continues to thrive.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I like many so I will name a few: Michelle Stimpson (Boaz Brown), Neta Jackson (The Yada, Yada Prayer Group), Bernice L. McFadden (Nowhere is a Place).
What are you most concerned about regarding your debut release? Sales? Publicity? Reviews?
Honestly, like many first time authors, I'm afraid of public opinion. Will people enjoy it? Will it sell beyond my family and friends? It's kinda scary, I can't deny that. It's sort of like being pregnant and you have all the anxiety of giving birth and hoping and praying that you have a healthy child.
If you could have any author living or deceased to serve as your publishing mentor who would it be and why?
The three listed above. I've already received great advice from Neta Jackson, but I would also love to meet Michelle Stimpson and Bernice L. McFadden.
Who is your book, Not My Will, for?
My book is for any person struggling in their faith, regardless of what that might be. For Virtue it was her desire to start abstaining from sex, it may be a different struggle for others. This book is a message that none of us are perfect and we shouldn't be judgmental of others, we're only made perfect through Christ.
Learn more at Khara Campbell’s official website