C. Kelly Robinson

C. Kelly Robinson
No More Mr. Nice Guy

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
January 30, 2003

1. What inspired you to write the novel "No More Mr. Nice Guy?"

I had spent years hearing women complain about not being able to find any good men, and hearing my male friends complain that when they were honest and straightforward with women, they were dismissed as dull or too "safe." It seemed that in a subtle way, brothers were being encouraged to act more like players or dogs in order to get women's interest. I decided to write the story of a couple where the guy tries to make that conversion in a more radical way, while the woman has tired of players but is more attracted to the guy when he stops being "nice."

2. How did you come up with the title "No More Mr. Nice Guy?"

I have to give all credit for that to my publisher. My editor and her boss suggested it, after we had gone through about a dozen other possibilities. It sums up the central plot very well, though.

3. What message would you like readers to receive from Mitchell's character?

As long as Mitchell and Nikki's struggles make people think, I think they can draw their own conclusions. All I tried to do was realistically depict the things that motivated Mitchell's decision to stop being nice. It's up to the reader to decide whether he would have been more happy staying true to his central nature.

4. Was Mitchell's personality change a threat to Nikki?

I think she was caught off guard when he first "came out" as this player-type with women hanging off him and so forth. Nikki had dismissed Mitchell when he was nice, but when she first saw him in his new phase she was a little disappointed to see his loss of innocence. Eventually, though, I think her curiosity about his new personality drew her to him.

5. How did you come about Trey and Tony characters?

Trey was a complete work of fiction; I have white friends who are "cool people" but none who actually think they are Black. However, when I first became aware of the so-called "wigger" phenomenon I couldn't resist building a character around that. Trey is a guy who emulates hip-hop culture so much, he's more "Black-acting" than Mitchell.
Tony was sort of a combination of several of my close friends and family members throughout the years, those who were skilled at playing the field and winning women over. I tried to make him a more well-rounded figure than some of the other supporting characters, to showcase what drives some of the players and "non-nice" types out there.

6. How did you come about Marvin's character?

I think Marvin represents the rarely-seen, straightforward brother with spiritual and moral convictions. I think he's interesting because he's one of the few characters in the book who stands by his principles throughout the story, even when he suffers for it. I have had some female readers say they wanted Nikki to fall for him instead of Mitchell, probably because they admire those rare traits in a man.

7. How long did it take you to write "No More Mr. Nice Guy?"

The first draft was about six months. I probably spent another three months working on revisions.

8. Will there be a sequel to "No More Mr. Nice Guy?"

I am actually working on that as we speak. It is entitled The Perfect Blend, and will feature Mitchell and Nikki's new adventures, along with those of O.J. the "Sinister Minister" from my first book, Between Brothers. It should be published before the end of 2003.

9. Do men really put shoe polish in their hair to cover thinning?

I have never personally tried this, but I threw it in when recalling a conversation with my father a few years ago. He wisely advised against it, on the theory that the chemicals in the polish would probably just speed up any hair loss (smile).

10. Do any of the characters in this novel have your personality?

Mitchell and I share some similarities, however he's much quicker to worry about others' opinion of him than I am. I never faced his internal crisis about being a nice guy versus a player, but if I had found myself single at twenty-eight I don't think I would have tried to become something I wasn't.

11. What message would you like readers to receive from reading "No More Mr. Nice Guy?"

I just hope they are entertained and see some of their life struggles and joys reflected in the story. A lot of women are reading it and then questioning their choices in men, I am hearing that consistently. And the brothers who do read fiction say it rings true. That's plenty for me.