Stephen Mack Jones is the critically acclaimed author of the “August Snow” series of crime novels. He spoke with BridgeDetroit about why he created a Black Mexican-American character from Detroit. He hopes a planned ABC drama based on his books could help change perceptions about the Motor City. 

Related: Hollywood may shine a spotlight on Southwest Detroit, but will it get it right?

Former Detroiter Keegan-Michael Key has agreed to be an executive director and portray the biracial Snow.

Jones was born in Lansing and lives in Farmington Hills. He first moved to Detroit to work in advertising and marketing communications. During his advertising days, he wrote two plays based on the lives of African-American veterans of the Vietnam War. In the mid-’80s, a teenage Key auditioned for one of his plays, “Back in the World,” in Detroit at the former Attic Theatre

“The kid was dynamic. He just blew everybody away,” Jones said. “Even so, he was a 16-year-old kid” and the role was for a Vietnam War veteran. Key didn’t get the part. Jones’ play eventually made it to off-Broadway. 

Jones’ first book “August Snow” was published by Soho Press in 2017. The second, “Lives Laid Away,” was released in 2019. The third, “Dead of Winter,” debuts in May.  

Watch our interview with Jones for more.

Louis Aguilar is BridgeDetroit’s senior reporter. He covered business and development for the Detroit News, and is a former reporter for the Washington Post.

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