Q&A with Nic Stone @getnicced #Author of, Dear Martin @randomhousekids @CrownPublishing #NewRelease #YA

I recently reviewed Dear martin on my blog (she here: https://annebonnybookreviews.com/2017/11/16/review-5-dear-martin-by-getnicced-nic-stone-ya-randomhousekids-crownpublishing-newrelease/). I then asked Nic if she would like to be part of a novel Q&A. So here it is!

Firstly, here is the novel

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
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.


Q) Firstly, can you please tell the readers about yourself and your amazing novel, Dear Martin?

A) Hi there! I’m Nic, current YA novelist, former Jack(Nic?)-of-all-trades, though master-of-none. 🙂 My debut novel, DEAR MARTIN—which debuted on the New York Times bestseller list, can you even believe that!?—follows Justyce McAllister, a seventeen-year-old African American boy who, after a traumatic racial profiling incident, begins a journal of letters written to the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. where he attempts to process his experiences moving through a world that often treats him with disdain based solely on his skin color. In a nutshell, it’s a book about American race relations here in the 21st century.

Q) I read a wealth of diverse literature and what made Dear Martin stand out, was the comparison between the Dr Martin Luther King Jr era and the modern day. What was the inspiration behind the idea of the letters entitled, Dear Martin?

A) This story is a response to seeing people in positions of great influence (i.e. Bill O’Reilly, Mike Huckabee, and former mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed) invoke Dr. King in opposition to exactly the type of nonviolent protest he championed. Every time I heard “Dr. King would be appalled by the #BlackLivesMatter movement,” I wanted to break something, so I used that fury for fuel and wrote this book instead.

Q) Justyce is such a likable, realistic character. As we read the novel we watch him come of age and begin to understand the society he lives in. Was Justyce based on anyone from real life? Or a mixture of people from real life?

A) Definitely a mixture of people, myself included. I really wrote this book for my two young sons who will one day be seen as threats before they’re seen as children. I wanted them to have something that would validate the way I’m sure they’ll feel. But yeah, some of Justyce’s experiences were pulled from my own life. Like the test score conversation in the classroom? That really happened to me.

Q) SJ is another character, whose opinions on race, culture and identity are wise beyond her years! I really admired her grounded and wise points of view. I felt her voice within the novel may inspire other white people to re-think their conscious and unconscious prejudices. Therefore, I think this novel would be perfect for education settings. Would you like to see the novel debated in English classes in the US and the UK?

A) I would love to see this novel used in classrooms to spark conversations! I’ve actually had the privilege of seeing it happen already, and I hope it continues.

Q) SJ covers the topic of white privilege, which I think was possibly, one of the best ways I have heard it broken down. I loved that the topic wasn’t ‘told’ to the reader, but explained with examples. Did the writing of SJ’s character, enable you to write/walk in someone else’s shoes? As Justyce enables the reader too.

A) So funny thing: SJ is really ME/my thinking wrapped in a person white people will actually listen to because they can identify with her. My husband is Jewish and I lived in Israel for a few years, so her Jewishness is a tribute to him as well as the large contingent of Jewish people who were instrumental during the Civil Rights movement. But every word that comes out of her mouth is a word I wish I could say to white people and get away with it, lol. Secret’s out!

Q) The novel largely covers the theme of racism in modern day America. With recent Nazi marches and a president who seems unable to condemn any form of racism, America is truly experiencing some trying times. I must ask will we see a follow-on novel?

A) Mum’s the word (**insert smirking emoji**). What I will say is that I’m glad these things are happening. The ugly things, I mean. For longer than I care to think about, I’ve heard people deny the continued existence of Racism, but now it’s indisputable. First step to overcoming a problem is admitting it exists, so I see all of this as a step in the right direction.

Q) what has been your favourite moment since the novel published? Have you been into any school settings with the novel yet?

A) I had the pleasure and privilege of being on a panel at a conference with a group of 8th graders who did this really cool multi-modal study of the book in their Language Arts class. The project included stuff like a blog and twitter handle and a few Instagram accounts, and it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. The kids put me to shame on the panel… they knew way more about the book than I did, lol!

Q) What have you got planned next in your writing? Are we able to have any snippets of news?

A) All I’m at liberty to say is new book—unrelated to DEAR MARTIN—coming Fall 2018!

*Huge thanks to author Nic Stone for agreeing to be on my blog for a Q&A. I wish you every success with your writing career, of which I am certain, will be exceptionally bright!

Nic Stone
Authors links:
Website: http://www.nicstone.info/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/getnicced

*For my 5* review of Dear martin, see here: https://annebonnybookreviews.com/2017/11/16/review-5-dear-martin-by-getnicced-nic-stone-ya-randomhousekids-crownpublishing-newrelease/ *

#BlogTour #Review Chasing The Traveller by @AlexKaneWriter 4* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #Indie

Chasing The Traveller by Alex Kane

‘I’ve fled from my husband and the only life I’ve ever known. I’m terrified that if he finds me, I’ll never find myself.’

Kat is trapped in a world where she has never belonged. As a traveller, she has always felt lost, especially since the death of her parents in a fire when she was fourteen years old. Having been taken on by the Denton family as their own, Kat falls in love with their son, tearaway Jimmy. His charm soon wears off and Kat finds herself married to a controlling and violent thug.

Sixteen years later, Kat decides enough is enough and begins plotting her escape from a lifetime of abuse.

Stripped of her personality, Kat has no idea how to start again but she finds an unlikely ally in her sister-in-law Ellie who shows Kat that she is not alone.

Kat and Ellie Denton begin their venture into a new world, where they meet new people and build new lives. But Kat still wants to know more about her parents’ past and when she seeks the location of an address on the back of a family photograph, Kat begins to uncover more than she expected including a revelation that will lead Kat back to the traveller site she had been so desperate to escape from.

Will she find the answers she is looking for, or will she fall prey to the violent Jimmy Denton once more?

My Review:

This novel opens with a prologue, which is a scene of brutal domestic violence. We become rapidly aware that Jimmy Denton is a jealous thug and his ‘wife’, has been subjected to physical violence, rape and being spat on regularly!
Jimmy’s wife Kat, is the central protagonist. She has lived a life of fear, dominance, and complete and utter control! Jimmy decides what she eats and wears. He views her, merely as his property! Kat is alone in the world with no family of her own. She is apathetic and accepts a lifetime with the ‘Denton’s’ on their traveling site. That is until a ray of hope is offered from an unlikely source……

Jimmy’s sister Ellie Denton, has always treated Kat with contempt. But one day, the women take a moment to confide in each other of the psychological scars they both bare due to Jimmy’s violent ways.
Together they are stronger, and it is together, a plan is forged!

“This is no way to live. You know it as much as the rest of us here” – Ellie

Kat after years of being victimised and dehumanised, relies upon Ellie tremendously, for their plan to work!
Their plan is one of escape, but an escape, that must be secretively, carefully and meticulously planned. If their plan is discovered, Jimmy may kill both the women.
When Kate discovers she is pregnant with Jimmy’s child, she fears for not only her own safety but the safety of her unborn child. She must put all her faith and trust in Ellie.

The traveller site that the Denton family ‘rule’, is fully explained. Denton women are forbidden to leave the site unless accompanied by a Denton man. It is easy to see how a community such as this, can easily harbour domestic abuse and sexual violence. Women are treated as possessions to be owned, rather than partners to be loved.

“Kat we’ll do it together. We’ll change our names so no one can trace us, we’ll start a new life together and we’ll get away from this shit hole” – Ellie

The women leave, with Kat clutching nothing but a single photograph of her parents. They are positively terrified, and fear follows their every step away from the site…….

I really admired the characterisation of the women. Kat as the victim and Ellie as the saviour. It was refreshing to read a novel where a female character, is helped by a fellow female, to save her own life. I found this very accurate and realistic. Ellie nurtures Kat, back to her former self.
There is a lot to be said, for the power of sisterhood amongst women and this novel is a perfect example.

The novel then progresses to one year later. Kat is now Katelyn with a three-month-old daughter named Lucia. Auntie Helen (Ellie) is still helping Katelyn overcome her painful past. Helen encourages Katelyn to seek therapy, as the women live their lives, always looking over their shoulder!
Katelyn begins to investigate the photograph, her only one possession taken from the site. What she uncovers is decades of secrets and a glimpse into her own family’s history on the traveller site!

The opening pages that describe the travellers site and the violence easily meted out. I could have quite easily believed to have been a Martina Cole novel. The writing was so detailed and brutally honest! The mental hold of domestic violence and dehumanisation is fully explored!
Beat, control and dominate!

Can Kat set herself free? Can she overcome the past? What will become of baby Lucia, if Kat fails to find the strength? Will Jimmy seek revenge?
To find out more of Kat’s journey, you will have to read the novel! But remember
“Don’t allow your past to define your future”