Curious to learn the power story can have in our healing processes? How about tips on navigating the financial side of the publishing industry? Or ways to vividly craft emotion in your story? We talk about it all and more with author Jason Reynolds.
Jason is an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of his many books including When I Was the Greatest, Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys (co-written with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series, Long Way Down, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor, and his upcoming novel Look Both Ways.
In our conversation, we dive into the power of story and its ability to help work through hardships and trauma. We discuss writing from instincts when describing feelings and emotions, defining the sweet spot between science and soul in stories and the role this sweet spot plays in his editing process. Further into our conversation, we talk about survivor’s remorse as successful artists, how creating a lane for marginalized voices through access creates opportunities, and he unveils the financial side of the publishing industry.
Books and resources:
Check out these highlights:
- How Jason first fell in love with storytelling through hip hop and family stories (5:00)
- Jason shares his passion for poetry and how poetry helped opened the door to his novel-writing career (6:25)
- The power story has to build bonds and help overcome hardships and trama (9:15)
- The inspiration behind Long Way Down that sparked the urgency for him to write the novel (11:24)
- Ways to transcribe feelings and emotions in your story that is digestible to younger audiences (14:20)
- How to discover the sweet spot between science and soul in your editing process (17:35)
- Advice on coping with survivors remorse as a successful artist (20:45)
- Ways you can help open up lanes and access for marginalized voices to be heard (25:10)
- Jason spills some truths about the financial side of the publishing industry (29:05)
“You can’t show what you don’t know.”
“Instead of transcribing the traumatic experience, the traumatic act, I try to transcribe the traumatized interior of a person. And what does that feel and sound and smell and look like? And what that usually looks like is an animal stuck in your throat. What that usually looks like is trying to find language that does not exist, to describe a feeling that has never been felt.”
“Poetry has a way of assigning symbolism and language and meaning to things that don’t seem to have any language to be assigned.”
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Say “Hi” to Jason Reynolds:
Learn more about “Look Both Ways“
This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—
Talking about boogers.
Stealing pocket change.
Executing complicated handshakes.
Planning an escape.
But mostly, too busy walking home.
Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.
Learn more about Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. The American Booksellers Association’s 2017 and 2018 spokesperson for Indies First, his many books include When I Was the Greatest, Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), and Long Way Down, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.