Over on theshelfstuff

This week in our #ElevateBIPOCAuthors q&a series we’re featuring @MauriceBroaddus, author of #TheUsualSuspects—a honest examination about systemic profiling and what it means to break labels 📚


Okay, I have two working spaces: my indoors office (if you squint you can see my active reading pile, some of my boxes of comics (over 20,000 total!), and the active novels I’m working on) and my outdoors office (which I call my “coffeeshop” with my neighbors being the regulars).

This is one of the four bookshelves around here (not including all of my TBR stacks). Speaking of …

I typically read two books at a time, one fiction and one non-fiction (very excited to dig into N.K. Jemisin’s collection since I just wrapped up her The City We Became).

I don’t have a photo of a book from when I was a child, but here are a couple cover images. One is of the first Danny Dunn novel I ever read. I loved this book. Ended up reading most of the Danny Dunn mystery series. I loved him more than Encyclopedia Brown because he was a SCIENCE detective! Second through fourth grade, I read them. In middle school, my first love was The Wolf King. Only looking back do I see its impact on me as a writer. But it’s the first fantasy novel I remember reading.

“Behind the Book” (THE USUAL SUSPECTS) Q&A

Describe your book in one sentence!

When something goes wrong, the principal gathers The Usual Suspects and they have to clear their not-quite-good name.

What inspired you to write this story?

From the teacher’s perspective, it came from my experiences working in the Special Ed rooms when I was a substitute teacher. From the student side, it came from watching my sons navigating their way through the school system. And I wanted to see if I could write Walter Mosley for kids.

Who’s your favorite character and why?

I love most of my characters, but I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Nehemiah. He’s just so … pure. He is who he is, makes no apologies, and makes life take him on his terms.

When and where do you write?

I typically write in the mornings and if my day is pretty free, in the early afternoon after lunch. During the summer, you can catch me sitting on my porch putting pen to paper. Otherwise, I’m squirreled away in my office (home or school).

Who is this book for?

This book is for middle schoolers and anyone who’s ever been in middle school. It’s all about navigating your way through life, dealing with the challenge of the labels people try to put on you.