Xavia is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Fifth Street. As a storyteller, author, and business strategist, her passion for writing and business collide. In addition, she is the creative director that oversees book design and social media for Fifth Street.
She and her four children reside in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.
1.) Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Xavia Jones. I currently live in the Chicagoland area with my four children. My background is in business management, and I love creating business strategies for companies. Creating a strategy is much like developing a story. I have been writing all my life, but my first published book was created about ten years ago. I started as a children’s book author and now have moved into a different space in my writing-reflective of where life has taken me.
2.) Tell us what your book, Happily Ever After?, is all about.
Happily Ever After? is a book consisting of a collection of shared stories about love and marriage without the fairy-tale ending. It was a collaborative effort that intentionally created, what we hope to be, a safe place to explore the idea that there is life after divorce and recognize the connection we have through storytelling.
3.) What is the inspiration behind this book?
There is a lot of shame behind divorce, and I feel like shame really gets in the way of people living a fulfilled life. We set out to create a platform that allows people to realize that they aren’t alone and bring light to the fact that our self-worth isn’t tied to our marital status. We wanted to destigmatize the D-word and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.
4.) This book has a very interesting format. Not only did you co-write it with Nicole White and Lynda Wheeler, but you interviewed different people to find out their stories. Why did you feel it was important to approach the book in this manner?
In dealing with this heavy topic, it felt safe to approach this as a collaborative effort. The three of us authors are divorced, and we loved the idea of bringing our perspectives to this project. We all reflected on conversations we’ve had over the years and felt this discussion was needed. We could’ve just said “tell us what happen in your marriage,” but we wanted to be intentional about the messaging, keeping in mind the idea of what we wanted our readers to walk away with.
5.) Your book really digs deep into divorce and separation. How did you determine what questions would be asked in the book?
We thought about the readers and contributors when we developed the questions. The questions evoked emotion and required some self-reflection. I loved the question “where did your idea of love come from?” That isn’t a question that is often asked to others or even to ourselves. It was curiosity and reflection that went into creating the impactful questions.
6.) Why do you feel this book is important?
Divorce and separation are painful experiences no matter what the details are that led up to it. With the world taking a collective pause everyone was forced to examine their careers, their marriages, and themselves. While we’re still processing the repercussions of the pandemic, I believe that people are more inclined to seek fulfillment, wellness, and healing apart from those painful experiences. We felt it was a perfect time to have the conversation.
7.) Tell us about Fifth Street Publishing.
Fifth Street Publishing is an indie publishing company spearheaded by myself and my Co-CEO, who is also my cousin. We wanted to not only create a space for us to tell our stories, but we also felt that there was a need to create opportunities for others to share their stories as well. We wanted to build something that would be a part of our legacy.
8.) What’s the significance behind the name “Fifth Street”?
We grew up in a little black-and-white house on Fifth Street in a small city in Illinois. My grandparents raised fourteen children and helped raise hundreds of grandchildren in that home.
9.) What does being a Black Indie author mean to you?
Being a Black indie author speaks to the idea that we are creating our own lanes and giving a voice to our stories. It is important for me to take advantage of the opportunity to do so when, now more than ever, there are more resources available to do so. I aspire to be impactful by sharing my gifts as a writer with my community.
10.) Was there anything that stood out as a “wow” moment as you gathered the various stories to be included in this book?
I was wowed by the vulnerability the contributors were willing to expose. I mean, it wasn’t easy to answer all the questions, but they were so open and honest.
11.) Would you encourage those who are engaged or considering marriage to read this book? If so, why?
I would encourage anyone preparing for marriage to read this book. Someone might think that divorce and separation stories would contaminate the waters. However, I think the issue we examine is the idea that marriage is hard work, and these stories highlight the individual work that should be done before marriage.
12.) Please share your website(s) with our readers.
Your audience can find out more about Fifth Street and Happily Ever After? at fifthstreetpub.com.
13.) Where can readers buy your books?
14.) Where can we find you on social media?
Audra Russell is a blogger, freelance writer, and published author. She holds two undergraduate degrees in journalism as well as a Master of Science degree in Education. She also completed the Wesleyan University online Creative Writing Specialization course series.
She is an avid reader and writer’s advocate. Her passion for promoting the works of up-and-coming authors inspired her to create her podcast, Between the Reads, as well as her website, Read It Black to Me. Her debut novel, BLOOD LAND, was published on August 29, 2020, as her fiftieth birthday gift to herself. She lives in Maryland with her husband of more than 20 years, her 3 amazing children, a 12-year-old perpetual puppy, two dueling cats, and her lone surviving chicken of 8 years who she affectionately renamed Gloria (she will survive!)