|William C. Morris Award Finalist|
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.
Reading books written for young readers! I didn’t pick up a YA book until I was 26. That first foray was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, 2008), and I read the entire trilogy over the course of five days.
That then started a dystopia kick for me, and I read the first two books of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books, 2011) and the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver (HarperCollins, 2011). Then I picked up my first John Green book, and that was that.
There was something about the Young Adult category that spoke to me in ways literary fiction hadn’t, and I think it had a lot to do with the fact that YA wasn’t a thing when I was a teen, so there was this hole in my reading life.
Now I write for the kids like me—specifically the African American ones—who are still underrepresented in the YA sphere.
What was the funniest moment of your publishing journey?
The first time I went through professional copyedits, there was a note about the spelling of a particular curse word. I’d spelled the first part of it (because of course it was a compound curse word) “motha” and the note said something to the effect of “I think this should be ‘mutha*****’ because this way it looks like ‘MOTHa*****’. Okay?” I will never ever forget this note.
What model books were most useful to you and how?
The answer to this changes depending on the book I’m working on, but for Dear Martin there were five specific ones:
These books will always hold a special place on my shelf.
How are you approaching the transition from writer to author in terms of your self-image, marketing and promotion, moving forward with your literary art?
For me, this part of the journey has been the most surprising part and it’s largely because of the way the world is changing with regard to author visibility and accessibility. It’s weird to me that people want to see me and hear from me and connect with me as a person above and outside of the work I create.
Right now, I’m in the process of connecting my writer self with my selfie-taking self and connecting two of my creative outlets: books and makeup. Working on a concept for a Youtube channel, actually. Stay tuned!
In a starred review of Dear Martin, Booklist says, “Teens, librarians, and teachers alike will find this book a godsend in assisting discussions about dealing with police, as well as the philosophical underpinnings of King’s work. Vivid and powerful.”
Dear Martin was named a finalist for the William C. Morris Debut Award by the American Library Association.
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one.
After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the U.S. to write full-time.
Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.
You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her husband and sons on most social media platforms as @getnicced.