GOD ONLY KNOWS by Xavier Knight

Intimate Conversation with author Xavier Knight

Xavier Knight is the Christian fiction pseudonym for C. Kelly Robinson. He is a native of Dayton, Ohio and magna cum laude graduate of Howard University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Robinson is a marketing communications manager by day and has a long record of volunteer experience across organizations including United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mentor St. Louis, and Student Venture Ministries. Author of six previous novels including the best-selling No More Mr. Nice Guy and the critically acclaimed Between Brothers (Random House), he lives outside Dayton with his wife and daughter. He is hard at work on his next novel and on a nonfiction project.

GOD ONLY KNOWS by C. Kelly Robinson writing as Xavier Knight
Julia Turner, an ambitious educator in her mid-thirties, leaves a high-profile job in Chicago to return to Dayton, Ohio to serve as superintendent of Christian Light, the K-12 private school system from which she graduated two decades earlier. A single mother with an ugly divorce and a complex childhood in her rearview mirror, Julia views her mission as a chance to contribute to her hometown and conquer the demons from her past. But she never expects to confront the one sin she and her childhood friends agree to bury as teens - the accident that left Eddie Walker hospitalized and incapacitated.

Meanwhile, Detective Peter Whitlock, Eddie Walker's older bother, is still determined to find the person(s) responsible for his brother's condition. When Whitlock's investigation leads him to the front door of Cassie Gillette, Julia's best friend and fellow Christian Light classmate, the lifelong friends must decide whether they will keep their dark secrets, or tell the truth and let God decide the outcome. With so much at stake, is their faith strong enough to risk everything?

“Knight masterfully weaves compelling characters and suspense that keeps you turning pages."—Victoria Christopher Murray, author Too Little, Too Late

ELLA: Please tell us about your writer's journey. What's new?
I first dreamed of writing a novel when I was a pre-teen. Throughout my childhood, high school and college, my writing skills were praised by English and Literature teachers, but I never viewed writing as a viable career due to a speech impediment that made me think I couldn't be an "author" or media personality.

I thank God for eventually showing me that I needed to throw off shackles of fear and pursue my dream and calling. I began writing short stories as well as my first novel in my mid-twenties while working as a corporate financial analyst. I have since been blessed to have 7 novels published by major companies, some of which have been bestsellers and all of which have received favorable reviews in major publications.

GOD ONLY KNOWS, my latest release due in March, is a suspenseful Christian novel about four grown women who must confront a shared childhood tragedy, a tragedy whose legal consequences today could put them in jail or endanger the safety of their families.

ELLA: Why is celebrating Black History 365 days a year important?
We should celebrate the accomplishments of our people in order 1) be empowered and reminded that we can build on past successes in the present and future and 2) to inspire youth and others who might otherwise think that their futures are limited to the more negative and disadvantaged plights of those around them.

ELLA: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because...
I am powerful to the extent that I rely on God's Holy Spirit power to guide my actions and efforts. He has shown a consistent ability to overcome my personal weaknesses, both real and imagined.

ELLA: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I am a native of Dayton, Ohio, and a graduate of Howard University (BBA Finance) and Washington University in St. Louis (MBA). My professional training is in finance and business administration. See the "passion for writing" section for the rest.

ELLA: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
Julia Turner and Cassie Gillette are the two lead characters of GOD ONLY KNOWS. They are best friends in their thirties, who bonded over a shared tragedy in their teens involving a white male classmate who attacked Cassie. Today they are both admirable women in their own right. Julia has overcome the pain of a divorce and a childhood being told she was not as beautiful as the "white ideal," and is now a PhD who serves as superintendent of the school system from which she graduated. Cassie, a biracial woman who grew up isolated from both white and Black children who spurned her, overcame a teenage pregnancy to build a solid marriage with three well-behaved children and a prosperous career as a realtor.

ELLA: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
The central question faced by Julia and Cassie is one that everyone can relate to - what would you do today if an act from your past suddenly came home to roost? Julia and Cassie had what they thought were very good reasons for not confessing to their role in the injury of Eddie, their classmate (who is still in a vegetative state decades later). Now a police detective has done some new digging and is pointing fingers in their direction, in effect placing their livelihoods at risk and threatening their families if they do not confess. It's a situation with no good answers, one that would test anyone's faith.

ELLA: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I hope they are inspired to reflect on the role that their childhood experiences - good and bad, blessings and scars - may still play in their lives today, and whether there are issues there that should be faced down and dealt with once and for all. And hopefully they see from Julia's and Cassie's example the benefit of doing that while relying on faith in God's word and guidance.

ELLA: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
How did you do it? Honestly, the biggest achievement to me is each time a reader contacts me to say that a book touched their life. To see the pursuit of my calling bring encouragement and inspiration to others is the ultimate blessing.

ELLA: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
I think the key qualities for a successful author who can build a sustainable career are self-discipline (to put in the regular time writing, re-writing and editing), creativity (in figuring out how to affordably but effectively market your work) and patience (because unless you're very blessed and highly favored there will be times when this industry makes you want to tear you hair out).

ELLA: What can we expect from you in the future?
My wife and I are expecting a baby with an early May due date, so I expect that keeping up with him and our toddler daughter will eat up most of my schedule for the foreseeable future! Ask me in 2010 and I'm sure I'll have more clear book plans.

ELLA: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
GOD ONLY KNOWS hits bookshelves and Amazon on March 23 - please pre-order your copy today and tell your friends!

C. Kelly Robinson, writing as Xavier Knight

"C. Kelly Robinson just keeps getting better and better."
Zane, New York Times Best-Selling Author

“C. Kelly Robinson is a wonderfully talented writer.”
—Kimberla Lawson Roby, New York Times Best-Selling Author

“Robinson is truly one of the most gifted new writers in the industry today.”
—Victoria Christopher Murray, Essence Best-selling Author

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