"Q&A With Tiffany D. Jackson"
Book: Monday's Not Coming
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
"Tiffany D. Jackson is the critically acclaimed author of YA novels including the NAACP Image Award-nominated ALLEGEDLY and MONDAY’S NOT COMING, a Walter Dean Myers Honored Book and Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner.
She received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University, her master of arts in media studies from the New School, and has over a decade in TV/Film experience. The Brooklyn native is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.
Her forthcoming novel, LET ME HEAR A RHYME (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books) releases May 21st, 2019." (Source: http://writeinbk.com)
1. How did your HBCU (Howard Grad) experience aid you in your early writing career?
Going to an HBCU like Howard, the first thing you learn is how to hustle to make something happen for yourself, whether it be registering for an already full class or finding camera equipment to finish your film.
You need those type of creative problem-solving skill to be an author, either to plug up plot holes or market your book. It also made me profoundly proud to be black and tell our stories.
2. What was your writing process like for Monday’s Not Coming?
You'll hear from almost every writer, writing Book 2 is HARD. There are unsaid expectations you must meet and I felt every one of them down to the core. Originally, the first draft of MONDAY was due on Election day 2016.
I turned it in two months later. Even when I handed it in, I still didn't like the book until a week before it published.
3. Where did the idea for Monday’s Not Coming originate?
Monday originated from two real cases about missing black children. I really wanted to focus not just on the crime itself, but the elements that lead to their disappearance, asking the question 'how do kids just go missing and we (the public) not hear about it?'
4. How important was it for you to tell an emotional story like this and what do you hope readers get from it?
I love diving into hard emotions because we don't talk about them enough with kids. We try to shield kids from the ugliness of the world rather than prepare them for it so they are emotionally strong to deal.
Overall, I hope readers really see a beautiful love story between two friends but also note how grief affects everyone differently.
5. Do you see yourself in the character Monday? If so, why?
Not really, I see myself more in Claudia. I, too, was an old soul child, trying to keep my best friend just to myself while hiding a learning disability.
6. This book also touches on important topics such as prejudices, gentrification and the criminal justice system, if you could devise a plan to attack and fix these issues what would you do?
That's an impossibly hard question, LOL! But to start, I would look towards criminal justice reform, particularly for juveniles. It's inconceivable the life-long terror we are instilling in our children for mere mistakes.
Second, we should focus on educating our kids and building their empathy muscles so they can vote for policies that will help everyone in the long run. Third, attend more community meetings. Gentrification happens right under noses.
7. Switching over to your New Book “Let Me Hear A Rhyme” coming out in May, what can we expect from this book?
I'm SO excited for that book. Set in 1998 Brooklyn, a year after Biggie Smalls dies. It's about two boys who plot to turn their murdered best friend into a rap superstar by pretending he's still alive. RHYME is pretty much a love letter to my childhood and hip-hop.
8. If you could choose only one of your books to be adapted into a film which one would you choose?
Allegedly! I'd loved to see how someone would adapt my first born.
9. As a Horror filmmaker, who are some directors in that field that you look up to (past and present)?
Wes Craven and John Carpenter. Their vision and work was groundbreaking for the genre.
10. Being a Black Horror filmmaker, have you seen more doors opening since Jordan Peele’s Get Out was a massive success?
YES! I'm so thrilled to see black people not only making horror films but also going in droves to see them. I can't wait for 'US'! (Did you peep that Howard sweatshirt? So excited!)
11. Who has been an important mentor in your life and what have they taught you about success and happiness?
Tayari Jones. She definitely has taught me about patience and never giving up. Especially when I felt I would never be published.
12. What’s the best book you have read in 2019 thus far?
Oh man, that's HARD. But I'll go with The Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds. Give us more black teen love stories!
13. What’s your best advice for getting over writer’s block?
Take a break! I can't stress this enough. Take a vacation, go to every museum ever made, or just binge a series on Netflix. Sometimes, taking a break from your book to refill the creative well can really help.
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