Thankful! Author Interview: John Darryl Winston

In a previous post, I wrote about a series I admire, IA. The series has two books published: INITIATE and B.O.S.S. The third book in the series, UNION, will be released on Black Friday, November 24, 2017. I recommend this series because I like positivity (if you didn’t know already!). Here is what I had to say about the series.

Some young adults are being raised in broken homes and turn to the streets for survival. They idolize heroes who often land behind bars. But John Darryl Winston brings a new hero to the streets, Naz, in IA: Initiate. Naz is a thirteen-year-old trying to survive in a foster home and stay away from the harsh streets while protecting his younger sister, Meri. Through Naz, John Darryl Winston sends a positive message to middle school children and young adults living in rough circumstances that the biggest heroes are the ones who can walk away from adversity and create a better future for themselves.

I wanted to ask the author a few questions about the series.

John Darryl Winston


Why did you write this series?

I wrote the series for two and a half basic reasons. One; there were very few books out there for students on heroes and superheroes of color if any, and I wanted to fill that void. The half; by writing in this genre, I mean to show students of color another possible career path they may not have considered. Two, and this is purely selfish; I was not a reader when I was growing up, mainly because the stories back then didn’t interest me. I wanted to write the book or books that I would’ve loved to read when I was a younger soul. Extra credit; it was fun! That’s really four reasons, isn’t it?

Who was your Target audience for the series?

In the beginning it was the students I taught at the time: middle school students. I could see myself in those students, and I wanted them to have the experienced I longed for as a youth and never received. But not being able to separate the middle schooler in me from the man I am today, my scope began to broaden. The focus became simply “good,” no, “great story.” I hesitate to even classify the IA series in any genre and opt for the distinction my publisher gives it: genre-defying. One of my favorite quotes is from one of my favorites authors and sums it up best. “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” –C.S. Lewis

What is UNION about?

Union is a love story. Now, wait! Male readers need not turn and run away. All stories are love stories in one form or another. IA is a story about the love between family, the love between friends, and yes, even the young love between a boy and a girl. In Union, our hero Naz Andersen has lost everything. He, along with his best friend Harvis find a rather unique way to get out of the prestigious International Academy and return to what they consider home: The Exclave and Union High School. There, Naz finds D, and all seems right with the world. But when D goes missing, all bets are off and Naz puts on his power. That’s it in a nutshell.

Why did you pick the Thanksgiving season to release the book? The characters in your books don’t have much, but they make the best out of their circumstances. I think Thanksgiving is the same. You don’t need much to celebrate it—be grateful for what you have while you work for more (if you are seeking more). Anyhow, I wanted your take on the book release.

I like your answer, Ipuna, but I know you won’t let me get away with just that soooo… The easy answer is, the major parts of the story, including an extremely emotionally part, occur during the holiday season. Union in particular starts during the holiday season and from a personal standpoint, there’s no better time to celebrate things like a fab book release. That’s all I got.

Can you share any reviews or quotes from people that indicate you are positively impacting others with your series?

There are many that come to mind. My aim is to not just write a book but make an impact on the publishing world with meaningful storytelling wrapped in writing that elicits a range of emotions from my readers. These are but a few words that tell me I’m on the proper path. 

Each book goes from strength to strength (as does Naz). There really aren’t many ‘young adult’ books that engage and involve as well as the IA series. It is something very special indeed. –Phil Reader, Blogger

“I often read first what I want my twin grandsons to read. I had been hoping to find a “Harry Potter” type book and series where the main character is African American and I believe ‘IA: Initiate’ fills that. Additionally, I look for “Super Hero” type books for them where the superhero is also African American. My grandsons delight in these characters on TV with European features, white skin and flowing Blond hair who don’t look like them. I have to interrupt that.” –Antonia Vann, Grandmother, and Goodreads Member

“The IA series has the potential of becoming a new literary phenomenon.” –Bil Howard, Readers’ Favorite.

“The storyline is fresh, the writing superb. The author, John Darryl Winston, has the potential to become America’s answer to Rowling.” Jay Aare, Kobo reader

What are you eating for Thanksgiving? What is the worst thing you are eating for Thanksgiving?

Funny you should ask, Ipuna. Up until Thanksgiving eve, I’ve been on what some of my close friends call a crrrrazy diet: Forty days and nights of no animal products, processed sugar, alcohol or carbonated beverages. So the answer is EVERYTHING! And as to the second question…hmmm… Not a fan of mac and cheese (keep that to yourselves, readers). Oh, and Flan. 🍮


I hope you enjoyed this interview! Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it)! Be thankful for we are blessed with much!


Union John Darryl Winston

If you want to enter in a giveaway for a FREE copy of IA:Union, click on the link.

To find out more about the author, visit his website: John Darryl Winston


13 thoughts on “Thankful! Author Interview: John Darryl Winston

  1. Great interview Ipuna. The author seems like a really nice, fine young man. What a blessing that a series you like so well and you not only get to meet the author but get an interview also.

    I pray you had a blessed and happy thanksgiving. I am thankful for God :):):) I know you didn’t see that coming hahaha 😉 God Bless you always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Margaret! I love supporting anyone who is trying to make a positive difference in this world. John is one of them.

      I had a great Thanksgiving! I am absolutely thankful for God as well! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your lovely family!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love how you think! We are kindred spirits indeed. Going back after the strike was intense — and such an incredible learning experience in resilience. And based on your life story, we both strengthen in the tough times. Thank God! 🙌

        Any news on your YA agent book competition? My good vibes are en route to you! 📖💙

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Absolutely! We definitely strengthen through tough times. Thank God is right!! 🙌🏼

          So, 7 agents are reading my manuscript right now. I waiting to hear from 3 if they want to read more. FIngers crossed! I’ll keep you updated. Thank you for asking, Andrea!


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