On Tuesday (January 12), Angie Thomas launched the prequel to her 2017 breakout blockbuster novel The Hate U Give, referred to as Concrete Rose.

The novel takes readers again to a Nineties-era Backyard Heights, which takes place 17 years earlier than her first work’s plot does. Throughout an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Thomas says her inspiration for the character Maverick got here from a supply many wouldn’t instantly guess: actor Russell Hornsby.

“My favourite character from The Hate U Give was really Maverick,” she mentioned to the outlet. “I keep in mind the primary time I noticed Russell Hornsby as Maverick, I used to be like wait, that is the cop dad from Lincoln Heights and now he will play this former gang member dad? However he blew me away and he was Maverick, full-stop. Right here was this man I’ve by no means met and he simply embodied my character in each means I had envisioned after I was writing.”

She continued: “Russell and I’d have conversations about Maverick, with Russell asking me questions I hadn’t answered earlier than: what his relationship along with his mother was like, did he have siblings, what had been issues like for him? It received me intrigued to the purpose that I spotted, huh, this might be a ebook all its personal.”

As for individuals in her personal life to drag for inspiration, Thomas says there are just a few that additional developed characters in her books.

“There have been a number of males that helped me with constructing this character,” she mentioned. “There was a younger man from my neighborhood, he was 17 years previous and he ended up turning into a father of twins. He had no automobile, no type of transportation, and the youngsters and their mother lived a few streets over — I’d see him on his bicycle going to go to his youngsters.” 

She added: “If their mother wanted a break, he would load these infants on to his bike. I’d see him happening the road with one child in his arm and the opposite within the basket; he dealt with his enterprise so far as being a father. I thought of him so much after I was scripting this character.”

Learn the complete EW interview with Angie Thomas here.