Alston, B. B.
Black Girl Magic and a Life-Changing Tweet
If you haven’t heard of B.B. Alston and his rather unique rise to fame, you should probably go look him up because the story of how this debut author published his first book, Amari and the Night Brothers, sounds like something that only happens in fiction. His entire life changed thanks to a random book pitch he made on Twitter, and he’s quite happy about that.
“Being a published author is everything I hoped it would be and yet nothing like I imagined if that makes sense. Being able to craft for a living is a dream come true…It’s taken me to different countries, allowed me to speak to movie stars and even put me on the cover of magazines and a newspaper—which feels totally surreal.” He acknowledges that it’s been a learning process, both in terms of the business side and learning about himself as an author. “I had no idea being an author would keep me so busy! So much goes into promoting and marketing your book that your calendar stays pretty full. I’m also learning that I’m a slower writer, so navigating deadlines now as a contracted author has been a learning experience for sure, especially when it comes to work/life balance.”
Amari and the Night Brothers will have a sequel in August of 2022, Amari and the Great Game, something Alston says he planned. “I think there’s something special about meeting a group of characters and watching them grow over the course of multiple books. Those are the characters that stick with you the most, especially as a kid, because it feels like you’re growing up together. I’ve always seen the current story arc as three books, but I’d love to take Amari’s story even beyond that.” So, B.B. Alston and Amari fans rejoice, because this story of Black Girl Magic isn’t over yet.
Amari herself is quite a character. She has magic (no spoilers—read the book!) that in her world is illegal, and Alston says that “so much of Amari’s journey is about perception. How other people perceive her as a young Black girl from the poorer side of town, and also how she sees herself.” Because of Amari’s power, “she essentially gets a cheat code—she gets the ability to present whatever version of herself to the world that she’d like. But over the course of the story she gains the confidence to accept herself as she is.”
The final book in the Amari trilogy has not yet been announced, and “as much as I love writing Amari and her world,” Alston says, “there’s always the chance that the publisher won’t feel the same way. So I think it’s important to keep creating new characters and worlds to keep you excited.” There are “a couple projects [he’s] dabbling on here and there,” including Amari spinoffs and even possibly something in the YA thriller genre. Whatever Alston has up his authorial sleeves, we can’t wait to read it.
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