Author Interview: Better Must Come by Desmond Hall

Crushed on by Christy Jane, on June 5, 2024, in Author Interview, New Releases / 0 Comments

Author Interview: Better Must Come by Desmond Hall

Better Must Come by Desmond Hall released this week and we are celebrating with an author interview! If you are into action-packed YA thrillers about how two teens try to better their lives in Jamaica and get entangled in a lost drug money plot – then I think you will want to read this one! Check out our interview with the author below, and Better Must Come is available now!

Author Interview: Better Must Come by Desmond Hall

Better Must Come

by Desmond Hall
Published by: Atheneum Books
on June 4, 2024
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, Young Adult

Barely Missing Everything meets American Street in this fiercely evocative, action-packed young adult thriller that looks at the darker side of light-filled Jamaica and how a tragedy and missing drug money helplessly entangles the lives of two teens who want to change their fate.

Deja is a “barrel girl”—one of the Jamaican kids who get barrels full of clothes, food, and treats shipped to them from parents who have moved to the US or Canada to make more money. Gabriel is caught up in a gang and desperate for a way out. When he meets Deja at a party, he starts looking for a way into her life and wonders if they could be a part of each other’s futures.

Then, one day while out fishing, Deja spies a go-fast boat stalled out by some rocks, smeared with blood. Inside, a badly wounded man thrusts a knapsack at her, begging her to deliver it to his original destination, and to not say a word. She binds his wounds, determines to send for help, and make good on her promise…not realizing that the bag is stuffed with $500,000 American. Not realizing that the posse Gabriel is in will stop at nothing to get their hands on this bag—or that Gabriel’s and her lives will intersect in ways neither ever imagined, as they both are forced to make split second choices to keep the ones they love most alive.

Author Interview: Desmond Hall

Tell us about Deja. Are there people in your life who inspired her character? If you could give her one piece of advice, what would it be?

Jamaica is an island of very strong women. And I’m lucky enough to have several cousins who fit that description. So, in writing Better Must Come, I “borrowed” certain incidents from family members, and the characteristics that they’ve shown—and blended those with a projection of my sister’s life. And though my sister has passed on, the raw beauty of her soul stays with me and inspires me. Unfortunately, she was a “barrel girl” who lived under terrible circumstances—and in many ways her life has the most to do with the creation the Deja, the lead character in Better Must come.

And as for advice I would offer to Deja; I’d say be patient when it comes to making decisions and to not look at those same decisions as a zero-sum game.

How did your work Partnership for Drug-Free Kids inform your writing process in this story?

Back when I worked for Spike Lee at his advertising agency, SpikeDDB, I was selected to join the board for Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. And I worked with several of the legends in the ad game to steward marketing efforts to help young people understand what outcomes they could have if they made poor choices when it came to drug use. That proved to be very instructive for my writing process but what was also important was the research that I had access to. The Partnership would supply us with top-level insights into the psychographics of at-risk kids, some of which helped inform how I crafted Gabriel and Hammer’s personas.

What was your writing process like for Better Must Come?

I always start with an outline. For me, it’s essential to know where I think the story might go even if I don’t end up going in that direction. It’s so easy to stray from the theme and to not dig deep into character with early drafts. As it’s often said, writers write early drafts to discover what they’re really writing about. But I think outlining helps to keep me from straying too far.

Thank you to Simon Teen for providing finished copies!

About Desmond Hall

Desmond Hall was born in Jamaica, West Indies, and moved to Jamaica, Queens. He has worked as a high school biology and English teacher in East New York, Brooklyn; counseled teenage ex-cons after their release from Rikers Island; and served as Spike Lee’s creative director at Spike DDB. Desmond has served on the board of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the Advertising Council and judged the One Show, the American Advertising Awards, and the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival. He’s also been named one of Variety magazine’s Top 50 Creatives to Watch. He’s the author of Your Corner Dark and Better Must Come. Desmond lives outside of Boston with his wife and two daughters.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.