Brandy Colbert: “Every time I write a book, I see a little bit of me in each of the characters.”

5 Questions With...

Brandy Colbert

[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Brandy Colbert  and ask her five(ish) questions. Brandy’s novel The Only Black Girls in Town is out March 10th!]

Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?

Brandy: I was born and raised in the Missouri Ozarks, and my town was about 3 percent black when I was growing up. I was usually the only black girl in my class for most of elementary school, and junior high wasn’t much better. So I started wondering what would happen if I’d been one of the only black girls in my entire town and another one suddenly moved in across the street, which is what happens in The Only Black Girls in Town. It’s set in a fictional beach town on the California Central Coast, but I was able to draw from some of my experiences to help craft Alberta and Edie’s world.

What character do you most relate to and why?

I think I’m probably a mix of both Edie and Alberta. Alberta is pretty sheltered and wants to do the right thing, which I would say describes my childhood. Edie isn’t afraid to speak up for herself and has a lot of varied and maybe unexpected interests, which I also relate to. But overall, every time I write a book, I see a little bit of me in each of the characters.

Why do you feel books with powerful and relatable characters are so popular and have such a voice right now?

These are the books I’ve always been drawn to, but I think perhaps now that publishers are focusing more on inclusiveness when it comes to their lists, readers are able to see and experience perspectives they’ve never read before. It’s definitely an interesting time to be publishing, and I feel grateful to be supported by a publisher who believes in my work and the types of stories I want to tell.

Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.

The Only Black Girls in Town is a middle-grade novel about twelve-year-old surfer Alberta, who lives with her two dads in a town called Ewing Beach. Everything in her life is starting to change, but one change she’s excited about is the new girl, Edie, who’s just moved into the bed and breakfast across the street with her single mom. They find a box of old journals in the B&B and begin to unravel the mystery of who’s behind them as they deal with the normal issues of being in seventh grade.

What’s next for you in the book world?

My next YA novel, The Voting Booth, will be published by Disney-Hyperion in July 2020, and then I have a couple more projects I’m working on that I hope to be able to talk about soon!

Who is your favorite writer right now and why?

I can’t choose just one, but a favorite writer of mine is Jia Tolentino, whose book of essays, Trick Mirror, was published last year. I’ve loved her work in the The New Yorker for a while now, too. Her writing is so smart and funny and surprising, and I’d read anything written by her.

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