Episode #4 - Interview with Nic Stone ft. Dear Martin
Hey guys welcome to the book Junkie. PODCAST brought to you by Brown gets read. This is a podcast where I bring on one of my friends and try to convince them to read a book that I really enjoyed. We talk about plot themes quotes, and how the story relates to us in real life, especially because routine majors I also interview authors who are making a big change in the world of young adult literature by writing about hot topics that are impacting the new generation. It's pretty much just a casual conversation all about books. Let's go into the episode. Today I am joined by Knicks Stone. She's the best selling author of Deer Martin odd out in clean get-away. She's also releasing a new book in September called Your Justice. She is a former cheerleader and graduate from SPELMAN, university. She loves writing and fever food is Bacon. I have the opportunity to talk to her. All about her book. Dear Martin in the background behind the story. I actually did a podcast episode with my friend Christian about Dear Martin in some really important issues that were encountered in the story. Miss Stone thanks for coming on the chat with me. Thank you for having me my dear. Okay so when I was reading about you and the birth of Deer Martin, I noticed that you have the concept for the book. After hearing about the shooting of seventeen year old Jordan Davis and I really love that you took initiative to write this book after seeing a problem in the world, so in what ways did writing this book influence? You personally not just your career. So the reason the Jordan Davis story impacted me so intensely because I have to African Americans sons. My older son was five months old windows. Davis was killed and it hit me in a place I hadn't been hit before because I didn't have children before so having a child who will grow up and we'll who, and who will be similar appearance to Jordan. Davis and to Michael Brown. Tamir Rice into all of these these. These black boys that have lost their lives. That's what made me want to dig into the book, and it has helped me to be more aware of my surroundings. Be More aware of how the world functions and also be more aware of my parts in this shared story that we're all living in how you know. My role is to write the stories that I think needs to be written, and hopefully with some kind of. Hopefully there's something in the stories that make people think a little bit harder. Yet can kind of relate to that because when I hear stories about that, I think my little brother who's also little black boy and when he gets older, he's GonNa look like all those other kids like you said about your son so i? Get concerned scared for him. I'm like I. Don't want you to grow up because I. Don't want something to happen to you or something to impact your future. Even take your life away from a simple mistake or somebody else's misconception. Yeah. I completely agree and I was reading the book and I noticed that Justice had kind of an internal battle with his personal relationship with white friends, in the fact that others who looked like them mistreated him so badly you know when he was arrested and they ripped his best friend away. What message would you give to Young African? American tour experiencing those emotions will the interesting thing about racism is that it's it's a systemic problem. Right like this is the problem that exists on a societal level and individuals obviously are affected by the way that we think about ourselves. The way that we think about other people is obviously shaped by the messages we get from society, but. And this is a big bite. It's important that we recognize each individual as an individual. I did have some problematic white friends when I was younger, and I was justice, like I, had that experience sitting in a classroom and hearing these things said around you that you know there's something wrong with there's. There's something not okay with what these people around you are saying, but you don't know how to speak up the thing that helped me the most. Most was coming to the realization. That like I. Get to be in charge of me. I get to be the person who decides who I'm going to be. What I'm GonNa do I'm going to stand for and what I'm not going to stand for, and I think that when kids in situations where you love your friends, but maybe your friends are saying things that highlight some problematic ways of thinking or or maybe wages. They are thinking at all. For me now what I would say, it's important to like. Talk to them about it. If friendship if your friendships are real, your friends should be receptive to hearing what you have to say into hearing about the ways that they hurt you and if they're not receptive to that, then they're probably not actually your friends. Is that make sense? Yes, because even in the book I was looking at the relationship between jared in manny in I was like manny should probably say something to jared. All other white friends who are saying comments that are aggressive towards his race in his people. You know yeah, yeah, but it's tricky like it is a tricky thing when you've been accepted by a group of. Of People for so long? There's a desire not want to upset that. However, even manny got to a breaking point. Right and I think as long as we recognize our own value. It's easier for us to stand up for ourselves for the people that we care about. Yes, because I understood manny's perspective, too, because he that's all he ever knew. That's what that's what he grew up with. You know the quote. Unquote preppy black boy and I think it was a really different take on young adult literature to see a black kid like many injustice. Go through real life struggles, but just the specifically because he found a way to. To confront it with peace, how did you come up with the idea for justice to write letters to Dr King Interestingly enough. There was a second. This is I won't say a second. This was like in a string. It was a pretty high number in the string of shootings, but there was a shooting that impacted me just as much as Jordan Davis, and that with the shooting of my own Brown in Ferguson Missouri, in response to that shooting, protests and marches broke out across the country, and it was really amazing to see people's kind of standing in solidarity against racism, but there was also a contingent of people who would quote. Quote Dr King in opposition to some of the protesting in the marching, which is a thing that like never made sense to me. I'm like no I'm pretty sure this is exactly the kind of thing Dr King. Not only would have stood for did stand for so after hearing. There's the mayor the mayor of my city. Actually at that point was his name was Christine read, and there was a day where we were supposed to do March and he got on the news, and he said all I ask is that you don't take the freeways. Dr King would never take a freeway and Dr King took a lot of freeways. So that it was like that line of thinking that made me want to examine contemporary events through the Lens of Dr King's teachings because it seems like any time. Something happens to a black person and people in the black community express any kind of anger over it. Other people white people, specifically especially white people in power. We're GONNA throw Dr. King says if like Dr King would have done things differently. He wouldn't be mad type thing and I don't agree with that, so that's why he ended up writing letters to Dr King because I really wanted to address this notion of Dr, King As. A pacifist quote unquote in the sense that like he would have. Just kind of taken would've thrown at him. I don't think that's true. Yeah, and I think it's also hypocritical for people to argue against the protesting with the words of a man who is quite arguably one of the most famous protesters in the world peacefully. Preach Baby. And justices name justice. It's pretty cool to me because the whole book is about justice for Black lives. So when I was reading the book at Keep Reminding Myself Pay, this is his actual name and the spelling was pretty unique to the y. c. e. when you first started writing the book. Did you have justices name? Just stuck in your head, or did you have something that inspired you to name him justice. Yeah, it's always been a very overt play on words. everything about this book is. About Justice. The character in the book is a play on words and Mike and I spell it with a wide did not directly on the nose so I was burying it just a little bit. Because you know people, we kind of created with the way we sell our names and I think that's beautiful day so from the get go. I knew this haircuts name was justice, and I knew that her name justice was going to be writing letters. Dr King, trying to figure out how justice actually work, and so throughout after book. If you see the where this is a good team, you can replace it with the concepts like in the opening chapter you have justice being arrested, and that's what's happening to the concept of justice in that scene, because there is no justice in that scene is being arrested as well because the boy hasn't done anything wrong, the girl has. So yeah I dislike kind of in your face metaphors. That's interesting. I love reading books. You know not not necessarily hidden meanings, but purposeful placement of the words. The absolutely and the sequel. Dear Justice is I. Kid incarcerated writing letters to justice, and it's the same play on words, so that was fun. Yeah, I can't wait to read that one I've really can't in September when that book drops, I will probably be the first person to read it honestly, and that brings me into the title Dear Martin Even Justice was it something that came after the story was written, or did you write the book based on justice writing to Martin or you know the title? Yeah the latter, so like I. When I wrote this book, I knew it was going to be a kid writing letters to Dr King. And Dear Dr King was just too much of a mouthful. So I went with Martin and like the same thing with your Justice Justice Kwan. He's a character India Martin is writing letters to justice. So that made it really easy fun fact, these are the only two books of mine that I have come up with the title for because I'm actually really bad at titling books, so these were easy, obviously like you ever kid writing writers Martin and Kate Writing Letters to justice very simple with my other books. I had a lot of help with those titles. Like how you called him? Martin in the Book Guy, made it more relatable for me, because if just wanted to be running dear Dr, Martin Luther King Junior dear Dr. Martin Luther King Junior now. I like that I liked how it was deere Martin like he was writing a letter to a friend. Thank you, and if you had to add another character into justice life, this is kind of an interesting question. Who would that person be to him? so interestingly enough the draft of Deer Martin that went to prints in the draft. Everyone like it is in the actual book was not the first one the initial. Dear Martin had it was double the length of what everybody's read. It had eight different points of view. It jumped back and forth in time and justice actually died on page three So. The very different book, but at the same time it was the same book it just like I, move stuff around, however in that previous version justice had a little sister, and she says she was a year younger manny like. Thing for her, and I wound up taking her out. In Edit. It's the one regret I have about this book because you know if you I don't know if you noticed, but there are no black girl in the book Melo is Biracial, but there's no straight up black girl, representing the black girl experience in the book because I, wound up taking her out and not realizing it I. didn't I didn't even notice that I had removed. Removed myself from the story, so that is the person that I would honestly put back in like if I could add another character, I would put her back into the book because she really was this kind of sounding board and this voice of reason in the thick of everything going on so personality lake. She was a big reader. She was kind of quiet. She kept to herself. academically driven she injustice were a lot of like She did not get along. Get along with their mother at all. Where justice with the he has the issue with his mom when it comes to s j win the sister within their. She and her mom just didn't get along at all so like it was just added a different layer the story I think. I would've loved to read about her. And I was reading the book in the realization came to me while not really realization because I knew this was going on in the world, but it settled in for me that this really is the harsh reality for so many black teenage boys who are being victimized by law enforcement in this book is actually the truth like some of their stories written down, so do you know anybody in your personal life that face this kind of adversity with law enforcement? I absolutely do unfortunately I know more than one person. I know one person who just turned eighteen, and he's one of my favorite people on Earth and he has had. He's had some run INS with law enforcement that have been completely unfair with every time he gets arrested. He gets out in the charges. Get dropped because he shouldn't have been charged in the first place type thing and then I actually have a female friend recently had an experience with police brutality that. Shook her up pretty shook her up pretty badly and it's it's interesting. Right? Because in both of these situations, it typically ends up being. There's always more than one police officer. Always and you have this group of like. Three four five police officers who are all for some reason intensely afraid of this one. African American person. You know it's it's such an interesting dynamic, and it's an unfortunate one and I'm glad that I got to write about. Police brutality, and I got to write about kind of this humanity of people, really because even police officers are people, and we're all fallible and I grew up with a police officer in my house. My Dad was a cop for the first twenty four years of my life, so having his insight and having him help me kind of walk through. Separating this ideal when it comes to what police officers are supposed to be from the fact that like they're human and they mess up. That really helped me with this book, and it helps me kind of when I'm hearing these stories from friends. It helps me Kinda like knocking as mad as probably would've other. Right, and it's not even the fact that it's all these beliefs offers going for this one person, a lot of the Times that person is a child. They're minor, and they're not even doing anything wrong. That warrants time treatment that they're being given. I even saw a video of this young girl and the officer that that she was holding a blunt, and she was holding a mechanical Pencil and the officer tackled her. She was fourteen. She was one year younger than me and that really hit hard for me. Yeah, and why? You know like why even if she wa holding a blunt. What would be the purpose in tackling her? You know what I mean like. It's one of those things around like what goes through your head. What goes through your head? When you're making these decisions that clearly are not good decision right and I know you went to bell men in Hec you and I love the idea of going to college of the bunch of people identify. What's kind of jealous on model fifteen in college yet, but towards the. Justices roommate is a preppy boy whose first impression immediately. Let's readers know that they're. Really Award contrast between their backgrounds. So, what was your college experience like in? How do you think it would differ from experience at a predominantly white college so I can tell you exactly how it differed from from the experience that a predominantly a predominantly white institution, Pwi, if you will, because I went to one I started at Georgia Tech So I started my first year college at. The Georgia Institute of Technology, which is a technological university definitely majority white and I hated it so much. It's interesting because I came from the kind of space that justice did with regard to like my classes. My high school was very diverse Supermix probably I think when I was in high school. It was one of the most socio economically diverse high schools in the country like not just the state, but like in the nation so you had kids who only eight at school, because they didn't have food at home or they didn't have a home. And then you had kids who drug this wound BMW like it was like this very wide variety of students that was very ethnically diverse. It was majority white, but there were people from all different backgrounds I had friends from all different backgrounds, but in my classroom spaces I was typically the only African American student. It says a lot about how we qualify the word gifted etc ninety to go into that right now, but. I had classrooms like justices, so I thought that the transition from a space like the one I would high school in to space like Georgia tech would be an easy one right like I was used to being surrounded by white people, but it was next level and walking around in a space where you have to be like you're there because of merit, right like people think of college it's like. It's base you. Being at an institution is basically based on test scores and grades. Etcetera Etcetera so if you're at like a more prestigious institution, people expect that either if you're if you're a person of color, there's either this expectation that you. It depends on what kind of person of color you are right, because like I. Don't think anybody aside a students of East Asian descent at Yale like that's the. There's this expectation that that east people that are Asian to sink are very very smart, but if you're Latino. Or if you're African American, if you're African even there's this expectation that will you're only here because -firmative action and I could feel that walking around campus interestingly enough. There's a scene in the book. They're talking about their test. Scores Justice Has Gotten Higher Higher Act score in jared. Jared is kind of the main antagonists endear. Martin and jared just does not believe him when he when justice says this. I pulled that whole scene from my life year of high school I had a girl in my iffy language and composition class, who was appalled at the idea that I had gotten a higher act score than her and I could feel that same kind of attitude as I walked around the Georgia Tech campus, so I transferred with Spelman and it was be complete opposite like Spelman, with such a warm and welcoming and life giving place because suddenly you don't have that cloak over you right like you don't have that feeling of somebody looking at you and assuming that you're not supposed to be there, it's just you are free to thrive. People are supported. You have all of these people who look like you and who know what your experience you're like. General experiences in this country are like so you can just vibe and it was I. can't I can't have more highly recommend the ABC experience for kids who are for kids who are black his. It's just like for a minute for four years. You get to be in this. This incubator where people want to see you succeed, you come to discover how beautiful it is to be the type of person that you are and everything about you is celebrated and I just like. If I could go back I would definitely do it again. Yeah! I would love to have not experienced because like how you were saying you went to the diverse high school I went to. An. Elementary school was predominantly white, but there was still a lot of diversity because it was predominantly white, mostly white people there and I had a lot of white friends. There was once this white boy that had the audacity needs to come up to me Commun- Oreo. End I was like I'm not an Oriole I'm a saw new I i. don't really understand where you're coming from with that, but that's just an example of how. People were trying to alienate me because I was black, but apparently because I speak properly, I sound white, which doesn't make sense. You can't sound or color, but I was speaking to when I spoke to Christian about Dear Martin, for the other episode. We discussed how jared was trying to make justice feel like less because. He thought that he didn't have a higher test score, which that doesn't have the same education, and it's not even about test scores test scores don't necessarily determine your intelligence or your emotional intelligence or anything like that it determined your ability to retain information, and that information back out on a test paper, which is bad I'm just saying that's what this and irritated say that to justice into so shocked. You know shaken to the core. He was shaking in his boots. Because justice had a higher test score was just crazy to me. Me Too 'cause that's that girl by class was looking. There's no way you gotta higher than me Okay why is that like? Why is that your assumption? And it's interesting because when you call, people backtrack immediately, because most people don't actually realize that they have these racist ideas in their head, and it's it's like. They don't reflect. I WanNa say this racist ideas don't reflect poorly on a person. As long as that person is willing to deal with the idea where it came from, so we are all products of our environment. We grew up in a country that has drilled into every single one of us that we are listed on when I say one of I. Mean Black People that black people we are less than. We don't have the same emotional I mean the same. Same, intellectual capacity! We are not as smart. We can't do as well on test. Scores like these are things that we have been conditioned to believe about ourselves, and that other people have been conditioned to believe about us so when you call that out, it's like okay now. You person who just made the statement that is a racist statement, and that calling you a racist I'm saying that what you just said with a racist statement that is evidence of a racist. Racist idea that you have in your head. Are you willing to confront that idea in adjusted? If you're not then, you are racist if you are. They're being anti-racists right? And that even goes back to the ideas of segregation in schools. Because when those black kids got him, he down from white people, they were thinking in their head. Hey, you don't deserve the new things, so we'll give you the old things and it's Kinda parallel to now when white kids think. Think that they're better than us. Because of the you know, it's just not true. Everybody has a mental capacity and I just don't like that stereotype. I think it's really ignorant for people to say yes. I completely agree and also like the way that we hold up standardized testing as this kind of end, all be all message on intelligence is also kind of a problem because it's not everybody's brain works the same way anyway. We could talk all day about this. Right because for double I'm a really good test taker I can remember information sometimes without even studying put on tests, but the person next door might struggle memorizing things, but the really really good at math in systems and things like that Yup. Okay, so now we're going to go into the quiz segment in I'm going aboard are well. The you know your book game were I'm GonNa ask you five questions about details in the story in each question, you will have five seconds to answer correctly. What a gun! Your point in that final score, so that's a little takeaway from this conversation. Question One. What type of car was mellow Taylor founding when justice SAR, it's a Mercedes. The candy, Apple Red Mercedes I. Don't remember the model. Oh boy. Yeah, that's right. And I put put them on. I don't even know if I. Put the MODEL in the book, but it's a candy. Algorithm Sadie Yeah You said Candy Apple Red mercedes-benz. Yes, okay, awesome! Okay, question one. That's correcting. Question to. What is manny's cousins full name? It's Brunell. Look one Bain accurate. Yeah I just wrote a whole new book about him. You know. If I missed that one ever going to be a problem. Yes, that's good. Okay, so wanted to correct question number three. What beverage did bring justice when he came to visit? GATORADE. Yes, and I know that because it's my own hangover remedy. I am thirty five years old. And sometimes there are times. On. Question Four. What is the name of the mountain that justice in many were supposed to go hiking on? Down Mountain, yes. Are Eighty, percent of the way through your winning right now. Number five which country artist S. J always listen to. She was doing schoolwork. Oh shoot. Okay, I think it's Carrie underwood. It's either Kyrie Underwater Miranda, Lambert but I think Carrie underwood. It's Carrie underwood. One hundred percent. You know your buck. That's so. Awesome I thought it would be easy, but you got all of them so good job. Thank you, my dear okay. Well I, just WANNA. Say thank you so much for coming to talk to me and thank you to everyone who listened to us. Discuss this book. Make sure you follow or subscribe to the Book Junkie podcasts on whatever platform you're using right now. If this got you interested in reading dear Martin by Nick Stone, you can purchase it on sites like Brown Katrina Dot Org Amazon Barnes and noble or Nixon Dot Info. If you'd like to know more about me. Visit Brown's redoubt work, which is a website for my nonprofit, you can learn about my personality, my undying love for books, and how I turn into a nonprofit, that helps others. You can also follow. Brown gets read on Instagram facebook and twitter all at Brown. And don't forget to follow Miss Nick. Stone on these platforms as well by going to the search bar in typing in Nick Stone. I promise you'll find. I'm glad you made it to the end of this episode and I'm so happy. You decided to click on the book junkie thank. You so much for listening and be sure to come back for more of my friends and I discussing diverse books as well as interviews with the same authors. Miss Stone any last words your often in all of you read our. They're often keep it up. Awesome okay well until next time book junkies by.