“Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensity social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation”
Believe it or not, literature is one of the more powerful branches of media. Easy to obtain, good literature tells an authentic story that can touch the lives of thousands upon millions of people around the world. It can be used to entertain, enlighten, emancipate and inspire. It shows us where we’ve been, where we are now, where we’re going and where we need to be going. Simply put, a classic piece of literature is a mirror image of society.
However, the book industry (the black book industry especially) has taken a loss in the number of classic pieces of work that are released each year. With sites like Amazon and Smashwords, the internet has made putting a book out to the public easy. With so much work in the marketplace, it’s hard to decipher good literature from the trash that was put together by someone that considers the artistic form of writing as a simple hobby or a way to come up on some quick money. Standards have been pushed to the side and pervasive ratchetness has reigned supreme.
Many authors have stopped pushing the envelope and have resorted to putting out novels with repetitive formulas of graphic sex, over-the-top violence, botched themes, shabby editing, misuse and overuse of slang terms and strong language that would make most rappers drop their heads in shame. Meanwhile, good literature has pushed to the side. Stories with a message are seen as “boring” and “slow-paced”. We’ve gotten to a point in our culture where many consumers even turn their heads at the sight of a non-fiction book that isn’t a tell-all from a reality T.V. star or pinned by a celebrity. Information is shunned and mindless entertainment is glorified and celebrated.
However, not all “black books” fall into this hole of repetition. Some authors break the chains of familiarity and write in an authentic voice that makes black literature icons like Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Zora Neale Hurston look down from heaven and smile. Literature that reflects the troubles and triumphs of contemporary black society still exist due to contrasting opinion. One piece of work that comes to mind is the Urban Romance-Christian Fiction hybrid Not My Will, the storied debut novel by Khara Campbell.
Readers and reviewers are raving over her novel, citing its relatability. Recently, I got a chance to dialogue with her about her novel, relationships and the importance of fiction with a message.
Randall: Your debut novel Not My Will is a realistic fictional tale about celibacy, lust and moral value. How did this story come about and what was your inspiration behind writing it?
Khara Campbell: I really didn’t have much of a plot when I first started this novel, however as my mind kept turning with ideas and my fingers typed, the story came about. The inspiration for Not My Will came from my own similar experience with wanting to abstain years ago before I got married. That was a very trying time of my faith during that period.
Randall: Was there a realistic motivation behind the novel?
Khara Campbell: Yes, like I mentioned earlier, the inspiration for the novel came from my own similar experience. However the novel is fictional, none of the events actually happened in my life. But having dealt with this relevant topic myself, I was able to create realistic characters and scenes which many readers related to.
Randall: In your opinion, how important is sex to a healthy relationship?
Khara Campbell: I think sex is an important factor in a relationship. However, it’s not the only factor and sex shouldn’t be the main focus of the relationship either. Sex should enhance a great relationship not be the basis for it.
Randall: Not My Will is different from other Christian Fiction novels in regards to the plot and topics approached. How important is creating a positive image of African-American life to our culture?
Khara Campbell: Black people, which I prefer rather than African-American, have great qualities and have contributed a great deal to our world at large. Creating positive images is important because unfortunately there are too many negatives ones or misconceptions of Black people in general. We are a great people and should be seen that way.
Randall: In your opinion, is there a place in the current black literary market for fiction that has an overt message and tackles real world issues?
Khara Campbell: Yes I do believe there is a place for these types of fiction – which is why I felt my novel Not My Will had to be published and made available in the literary market. The topic of celibacy, faith and relationships is very relevant for many people. Celibacy is an issue for many men and woman whether it’s for faith reasons or other personal reasons they may have. With weaving this topic into fiction, it gave readers characters they could relate to and also receive some advice or encouragement from while being entertained at the same time. I’ve had a lot of readers tell me personally how they felt like they were Virtue, the main character in the novel, and how Virtue’s approach to the situation encouraged them in their own personal journey.
Randall: Do you believe black women are at a disadvantage in the business world? Why or why not?
Khara Campbell: No I don’t. Many opportunities have been made available for women of every race. Yes it may be a little tough in a “male dominated” business world, but if a woman wants a particular position I believe she can get it, it will take work. I don’t think anyone should expect a position or raise because of their gender – it should be earned. Intimidation may be one thing that may make some women feel like they’re inferior though, but hard work, determination, and having a virtuous demeanor will pay off in my opinion.
Randall: How important is faith to success?
Khara Campbell: I personally believe your faith in God should be your lifestyle, so to me faith is very important to your success. Do you have faith in fulfilling all that God has for you? If one believes that, takes action in fulfilling what God has for them – success is only inevitable.
Randall: What upcoming projects do you have on the horizon?
Khara Campbell: I am working on my second novel, Tears of Purple. There is no release date or anything yet because it’s still in the first stages. However I have plans for many more novels so please keep a look out for me.
Randall: By the time this article is published, it will be read by many young people. What is your message to them?
Khara Campbell: Don’t give up on your God given dreams! Keep pushing, keep believing and you will see the fruits of your labor. I know how hard it can get, the self-doubt and disappointment you may feel, but that is only temporary. Many successful people dealt with the same issues, but they didn’t let that stop them – so neither should you!
You can find Khara Campbell at:
Facebook/Pinterest: Khara Campbell
Check out her novel Not My Will today!
Do you have any questions or comments for me? Is there someone you’d like me to interview? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:
Twitter: @AuthorRandallB & @TeamYGB25
Check out a preview of my debut novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad today! It’s coming soon!