“All I ever wanted to do was escape into this magical world where for once I don’t have to act a certain way because I’m Black, and where I don’t have to answer certain questions because I’m the Black authority in the room, and where if I do something that’s not stereotypically Black, I’m different.” ― Brittney Morris, Slay

Representation matters: in the literature we read, the movies we watch, and even the video games we play. And I am grateful that in present times, our youth can see so much of themselves in the entertainment they consume. I am constantly in awe of authors who introduce us to characters and plots that we can so easily relate to. One author in particular, Brittney Morris, masterfully weaves together stories and characters that readers can FEEL. She consistently creates characters that stick with us long after the read is over.  

Today, I share an author Q&A with said esteemed author, Brittney Morris. Here, she discusses what inspires her stories, video-game writing, advice to aspiring authors, and briefly touches on the paperback release of The Jump. Read below to learn more about Brittney Morris.


Brittney Morris is the bestselling author of SLAY, The Cost of Knowing, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales - Wings of Fury, and The Jump. She also writes video games and has contributed to projects such as The Lost Legends of Redwall, Subnautica: Below Zero, Spider-Man 2 for PS5, and Wolverine for PS5. Brittney is an NAACP Image Award nominee, an ALA Black Caucus Youth Literary Award winner, and an Ignite Award Finalist. She has an economics degree from Boston University and spends her spare time reading, playing video games, and not doing enough yoga. 


What inspired you to become a young adult fiction author? Can you share a bit about your background and how it has influenced your writing?  Sure! I started writing when I was 9. Growing up, I was used to being the only Black kid in most spaces, so I quickly became a ‘cultural expert’ of sorts at my school and other social settings. I thought it was normal. I thought my lack of knowledge around what kinds of foods we eat and what music we listen to and what movies we watch together, was indicative of my less-than racial status. I grew up believing I wasn’t ‘Black enough’, like I was some kind of second-rate Black girl because I didn’t fit most of the stereotypes my classmates had in their heads. Now, I write mostly about Black kids and other kids of color doing their best to make it in a world designed to keep them from making it, with all the feelings that come with that.

What have you enjoyed the most about writing young adult fiction? I love writing YA because age 12-18 is such a pivotal time in life. It’s when you’re conflating all that you’ve been fed since you were a child with all that you’re seeing and living in the world around you. Those don’t often match, and it can make for some explosive conflict in the midst of self discovery.

What was your favorite young adult book as a teenager? I fell in love with Ella Enchanted, although that might be a middle grade title. I didn’t really read much YA as a teenager. Since I was raised religious, I read a lot of Francine Rivers, but that was Adult. I was mostly into video games at that point anyway.

The characters in your books often handle complex issues and social situations. How do you navigate these challenges in your storytelling? How do you balance storytelling with delivering important messages in your books? At the core of my books, there’s always a central question that my characters are taking 50,000 words to answer. With The Jump, the central question is “what would happen if four kids took on a nefarious organization by playing a game”. Each member of Jericho’s opinions and perspectives change as they encounter new details and pieces of the answer, and with each piece they find it propels the story AND changes the core conclusion. Both have to happen in tandem for the story to feel organic.

I've enjoyed getting to know characters like Kiera, Alex, and the kids of Team Jericho while reading your books. I appreciate that I've been able to share these characters with my teenagers as well. How do you hope your books are received by young adult readers, particularly those from diverse backgrounds? What insights do you hope readers gain after reading your books?  I always hope my readers walk away from my stories with a new perspective, even if it’s not one they agree with. I hope they read my stories and ask questions they’ve never asked before, and hopefully that they see themselves somewhere in my books! 

Speaking of Team Jericho, your book The Jump gets a paperback release on February 27th. What inspired this book? How have your own personal experiences colored this story? I lived in Seattle for 7 years before moving here to Philly, so it’s still a city that’s dear to my heart. I was inspired to write The Jump after seeing a mini docuseries about the Cicada 3301 cryptology puzzle, which was a real-life worldwide scavenger hunt posted by an elusive group under mysterious circumstances. While the Cicada 3301 puzzle hosted individual adults, I realized how impactful it would be to see teams of diverse teens taking on such a puzzle. And so was born The Jump.

What does your writing process look/feel like? Do you have any specific rituals that help you become your most creative self?  Is your writing space filled with bright images and mellow music as you write? Do you turn off your phone hours at a time to avoid distractions? What makes you arrive at your most inspired place? If I had unlimited time, my writing process would involve 4 hours of YouTube and getting lost in an internet rabbit hole before settling into a cozy chair at my favorite coffee shop and sprinting for 6 hours, in 15-minute intervals. I’d have a hot cup of coffee and a pastry, and my latest favorite song on repeat in my headphones. That’s when I feel most inspired!

What advice do you have for aspiring young adult fiction authors, especially those from underrepresented communities? Are there things you've learned in your writing journey that you wish someone had shared with you? Read, read, read, and write, write, write. Even play, play, play if video game stories are preferred. Experience stories of all genres, ones you love and ones you hate, and take on board what made you feel things as a reader/viewer/player.

Are there any upcoming projects you're working on that you'd like to share with us? Are there any themes you look forward to exploring in your future works? Absolutely! Currently I’m working on my first adult rom-com, and my next Young Adult contemporary, which is shaping up to be a cross between Mama Mia and The Godfather.

How can readers stay informed with the latest news about you, your books, and video game contributions? You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @ BrittneyMMorris, and you can reach me directly via my website at

I would like to thank Brittney for her time and the opportunity to share this interview with you guys. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and Instagram to stay posted on her current and future works. 


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