Interview With Samuel Teer (BROWNSTONE)

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author Samuel Teer (Brownstone)!




Meet the Author: Samuel Teer

Samuel Teer is the author of Brownstone and Veda: Assembly Required. Raised outside of St. Louis, Missouri, he lives in Aurora, Colorado.





About the Book: Brownstone

 An exciting teen coming-of-age epic from author Samuel Teer and debut graphic novel artist Mar Julia, Brownstone is a vivid, sweeping, ultimately hopeful story about navigating your heritage even when you feel like you don’t quite fit in.

Almudena has always wondered about the dad she never met.

Now, with her white mother headed on a once-in-a-lifetime trip without her, she’s left alone with her Guatemalan father for an entire summer. Xavier seems happy to see her, but he expects her to live in (and help fix up) his old, broken-down brownstone. And all along, she must navigate the language barrier of his rapid-fire Spanish—which she doesn’t speak.

As Almudena tries to adjust to this new reality, she gets to know the residents of Xavier’s Latin American neighborhood. Each member of the community has their own joys and heartbreaks as well as their own strong opinions on how this young Latina should talk, dress, and behave. Some can’t understand why she doesn’t know where she comes from. Others think she’s “not brown enough” to fit in.

But time is running out for Almudena and Xavier to get to know each other, and the key to their connection may ultimately lie in bringing all these different elements together. Fixing a broken building is one thing, but turning these stubborn individuals into a found family might take more than this one summer.

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound




~Author Chat~


YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

 Two things were points of inspiration for Brownstone.

The first was growing up in a mixed language household, which included Spanish (which my Mom and Aunt predominantly spoke) English (predominantly spoken by myself, my younger brother and my Dad) and some American Sign Language (also spoken by my Dad, who is deaf.) I often found myself in a room with people and only understanding slivers of conversations. To this day, I can understand some Spanish and ASL, but struggle to communicate in those languages.

The second point of inspiration was around 2016 or so. I was working part-time at a hardware store and as I’m walking around the store, trying to avoid working, I saw a young latina girl translating for her Spanish-speaking father to a Caucasian employee. That visual of that young girl standing between two adults as conduit unlocked an avenue for me to explore all the things (the good, the bad and the ugly) I had personally experienced as an American-born Latin American.


YABC:  How do you know when a book is finished?

When I type the words, The End.

I don’t mean to be glib, but in the process of making a graphic novel, nothing is ever really finished.  It’s just “done enough” that it can go to the artist.


YABC: What research did you do to write this book?

Most of it is a lived experience that I was drawing from.

The stuff that wasn’t lived (such as the quinceanera scene) I did some cursory research on by reading articles, listening to podcasts and talking to other lat am folks for their thoughts/experiences. But really Almundea’s character informed how she would handle a quinceanera type situation — which is to say, unconventionally.


YABC: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I always told stories from a very young age. When my Mom would be cooking, I would pull up a chair next to the stove, stand on it and start making up stories on the fly. My Mom would ask, “Did you write this down.” and I say, “No.” She then said, “You should.” At some point I must’ve started writing those down.

As far as being a comics writer, that came a bit later. I was in 6th grade. I had just transferred from a private school to a public school and didn’t have many friends. The couple of friends I did have were very much into comics and comic book trading cards, which was met with hostility from other kids at our school and neighborhood.  We often sat directly behind the bus driver (which was seen as a seating decision worthy of bullying by the kids that sat in the back of the bus) and would talk comics the whole ride home from school.

One day when I got on the bus, the bus driver turned around and said, “I know you like comics. My husband works for DC Comics.” While I’m sitting there, my mind blown that my bus driver’s husband makes comics at DC Comics of all places!  Then she proceeded to hand me a color proof copy of one of the first appearances of Doomsday, who would go on to play a major role in the Death of Superman story arc. I read the entire thing, then reread it before getting off the bus and handing the proof back to the bus driver.

I remember walking home in a bit of daze and thinking “Okay. Making comics is a job. And if making comics is a job, then maybe it’s a job I could have?” By the time I walked into the front door, my thoughts had morphed from “maybe I could make comics!” to me throwing the front door open and announcing to my Mom, “Mom! I want to make comics for a living!”


YABC:  What type of scene do you love to write the most?

 Two character’s bickering or bantering is always fun! When thinking about a scene, I tend to think about the back-and-forth dialogue first then construct a scene to serve that dialogue.


YABC:  What word do you have trouble overusing?

Like. Both in the written and verbal forms.

YABC:   What do you do when you procrastinate?

Take my dogs for a very long walk.  Watch movies. Call my brother and have four hour conversations about the state of horror movies.

YABC: What kind of animal would your main character be and why?

I think Almudena would see herself as a jaguar. But she’s really more of an untrained Labradoodle.

YABC:   What’s up next for you?

I tend to work so far ahead that I’m already two or three projects beyond what readers would see as the “next” project.  I *think* the very next thing is a YA graphic novel called Castles and Cholos, which is about a group of (mostly latin american) teenagers that play a D&D-like game called Castles & Creatures. It shares a lot of DNA with Brownstone, in that it’s about a community, it takes place in the same universe as Brownstone (albeit a couple of years down the line) and it’s mostly about the interpersonal relationships that develop at the gaming table. Castles and Cholos is more about asserting your identity, making a bit of a spiritual sequel to Brownstone, which is about discovering your identity.  I’m collaborating on Castles and Cholos with the wonderfully talented Alex Moore, who was literally a person on my wishlist of artists to work with!





Author: Samuel Teer

Illustrator: Mar Julia

Release Date: June 11, 2024

Publisher: Versify / HarperCollins

Genre: YA Graphic Novel

Age Range: 14 to 17 years old