Nic Stone, Author of Dear Martin | Speed Interview
The Children’s Book Review | February 8, 2018
The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe Dear Martin?
Nic Stone: Young Man Wants To Understand.
Can you share a highlight from the book? Your thoughts on, or an excerpt of, your favorite sentence, paragraph, or page?
My favorite scene in this book involves a classroom discussion of standardized test scores. A white boy comes into class furious because the black main character of the story was admitted early-action to Yale University whereas the white kid was deferred. As they talk about their qualifications and it’s revealed that the black kid scored higher on the ACT than the white kid did, the white kid is incredulous. “There’s no way he got a higher score than me.”
This is an incident literally pulled from my own life—a white female classmate didn’t believe I’d gotten a higher ACT score than she did—and every time someone comments on how asinine and implicitly racist the white kid’s assumption is, I feel validated. ☺
If you had to take a vacation with one of the characters from Dear Martin, who would it be? Why?
Melo. She’d know the best beach locales and want to hit all the museums, and that’s my type of vacation.
What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
I had a 15-year-old black boy who’d never finished a book before tell me he felt seen. As a reader who never saw herself in books during adolescence, there’s nothing better than hearing I’ve prevented a kid from feeling as invisible as I did.
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
Oh man. Way too many to count. I know at the top of the stack right now is the UK version of Jason Reynolds’s LONG WAY DOWN. Which has these incredible illustrations. (Also: that book, though.)
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
Grande Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
ALLLLLLL. Laptop, composition notebooks and gel pens to be exactamundo.
Can you tell us one more thing we may not know about Dear Martin, your writing style, or yourself?
I’m super into dialogue as a narrative device. Like I love it so much, and honestly prefer it with as few dialogue tags—she said, he mumbled, they whispered, womp womp womp—as possible. And I sit and eavesdrop on people’s conversations for story inspiration. Like a creeper. It’s the best.
Written by Nic Stone
Publisher’s Synopsis: Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.
Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers | Oct. 17, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1101939499
About the Author
Nic Stone is a native of Atlanta and a Spelman College graduate. After working extensively in teen mentoring and living in Israel for a few years, she returned to the United States to write full-time. Dear Martin, her first novel, is loosely based on a series of true events involving the shooting deaths of unarmed African American teenagers. Shaken by the various responses to these incidents—and to the pro-justice movement that sprang up as a result—Stone began the project in an attempt to examine current affairs through the lens of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings.
This speed interview with Nic Stone, author of Dear Martin, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with African American Authors, African American History Month, Justice, Martin Luther King Jr., Nic Stone, Racism, Reality Fiction, and Speed Interview.