Episode 446: Exploring Social Justice Topics in a YA Thriller – Interview with Jumata Emill

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Today, Lori is interviewing Jumata Emill. They’ll be talking about exploring social justice through multi-cultural experiences and his book The Black Queen.

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In this episode Jumata Emill and Lori discuss:

  • The importance and long-term effects of character representation in YA novels.
  • Making social justice a relatable topic for young people through engaging and thought-provoking prose.
  • How the influence of real-life experiences and conversations have woven together to create inclusivity in his work.

Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

About Jumata Emill

Jumata is a journalist who has covered crime and local politics in Mississippi and parts of Louisiana. He earned his B.A. in mass communications from Southern University and A&M College. He’s a Pitch Wars alum and member of the Crime Writers of Color. When he’s not writing about murderous teens, he’s watching and obsessively tweeting about every franchise of the Real Housewives. Jumata lives in Baton Rouge, La.

You can find him on his website or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

The Black Queen

Nova Albright, the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High, is dead. Murdered the night of her coronation, her body found the next morning in the old slave cemetery she spent her weekends revitalizing. 

Tinsley McArthur was supposed to be queen. Not only is she beautiful, wealthy, and white, it’s her legacy— her grandmother, her mother, and even her sister wore the crown before her. Everyone in Lovett knows Tinsley would do anything to carry on the McArthur tradition. No one is more certain of that than Duchess Simmons, Nova’s best friend. 

Duchess’s father is the first Black police captain in Lovett. For Duchess, Nova’s crown was more than just a win for her. It was a win for all the Black kids. Now her best friend is dead, and her father won’t admit that the main suspect is right in front of his face. 

Duchess is convinced that Tinsley killed Nova. And that Tinsley is privileged enough to think she can get away with it. But it seems that Duchess’s father is doing what he always does: falling behind the blue line. Which could mean the white girl will go free. 

Duchess is determined to prove Tinsley’s guilt. Only, to do that, she’ll have to get close to her. But Tinsley has an agenda too. Everyone loved Nova. And sometimes, love is exactly what gets you killed.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link where, if you choose to purchase via the link, DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

Link to Episode 446

(Right-click to download.)

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