author interview: brandy colbert

I’m very excited to announce that I have an exclusive interview with Brandy Colbert, author of Little & Lion here on my blog today!

1. Why is it important for you to write about mental health?

Mental health was never really discussed when I was growing up, and it is unfortunately still so stigmatized in society. I do think books, TV, and film have vastly improved over the last decade in showing nuanced portrayals of mental illness, which gave me the courage to write about it as well. I especially think it’s important to discuss mental health as a Black American woman, since it’s also been somewhat of a taboo subject in the Black community.

2. How can we improve the representation of mental health in books and movies?

I think thorough and balanced research is always going to be the most effective way to get the best representation—including reading memoirs and essays by people who discuss their mental health, and talking to people who have first-hand experience with mental illness. Inclusion should also be at the top of the list, as mental illness affects people of every race, ethnicity, sexuality, and socioeconomic status.

3. Do you think mental health in books for young adults is important? Why or why not?

Absolutely! Teens experience mental illness in a variety of ways, whether dealing with it on their own or through a family member, close friend, or their peers. Reading about mental health in fiction can remind teens that they’re not alone and perhaps help them deal with struggles they’re experiencing in real life.

4. What are some of your favourite books about mental health?

Two of my favorites are Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson and OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu. Both are unflinching in their portrayal of the main characters’ mental illness, and they felt so authentic.

5. What are you working on at the moment?

My next book is called Finding Yvonne, and it’s about a violinist who is struggling with her talent and what to do after her senior year. She finds herself falling for two very different guys and is also dealing with a strained relationship with her father and unresolved grief over her mother, who walked out on their family when Yvonne was six years old. It will be out on August 7, 2018, from Little, Brown, and I’m very excited to share it with readers!

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