Women of Wednesday: Nic Stone on Taking Heat…and Writing Anyway

Olivia A. Cole
Dec 6, 2017 · 3 min read

WOMEN OF WEDNESDAY is a micro-interview series featuring women of color in various industries and walks of life, focused on highlighting their pursuits and making it easy for readers to support their endeavors. If you would like to be featured, please submit your answers to the below five questions here.

Image for post
Image for post

Nic Stone, New York Times Bestselling Author

Hiiiii! Lol, answering this question feels mad self-congratulatory, but my goal with all of my work is to provoke critical thinking about… well, about things people don’t often think very critically about in our ultra-light speed, gotta-have-it-and-do-it-and-say-it-NOW culture. My first novel was about American race relations. The second one is about teen sexuality (which is a biological thing whether we want to admit it or not — also, why do we even balk at this in the first place?). Third examines relative poverty and the psychology of socioeconomics. Fourth and fifth will look at gang culture and the flaws in the criminal justice system, and mental illness in the black community respectively.

In my humble opinion, the world won’t get better until we all begin to examine what and how we think, learn to empathize, and start prioritizing the humanity of other people over being right or maintaining *power*.

**Puts the mic back in the stand and steps off the soapbox**

Honestly: other people’s moral ideals and personal fears. Which is a very new thing. I didn’t face any pushback at all when writing/publishing DEAR MARTIN, but my second book, which takes the same type of *unfiltered* look at teen sexuality and questioning that DEAR MARTIN took at race relations, is taking some heat. And all because we’re wary of talking about sex without qualifiers. But it’s cool. I wrote it anyway. :)

Image for post
Image for post

People saying: “Yo, this is REAL.” I think part of the reason it’s taken us so long to see more diversity in kidlit is because marginalized experiences can be so profoundly different than privileged ones: gatekeepers — who are almost always coming from privileged backgrounds — have these weird reactions to them when they see them in books. So to get past that, marginalized writers need supporters who step up and say “Man, this experience in this book is real.”

Also: the books have to sell.

Buy the books, tell your friends to buy the books, and if you can’t buy the books, get them from the library and read them and talk about them. Loudly.

“We are not put into the world to air our moral prejudices.” It’s from The Picture of Dorian Gray and pretty sums up my whole life philosophy.

Editor’s note: buy DEAR MARTIN here.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store