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’13 Reasons Why’ writer from metro says series is real, responsible and illuminates tough issues kids face

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- You`ve heard of "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix, the series documenting a suicidal teen. Show writer Nathan Jackson grew up in Kansas City, Kan., and now lives with his wife and kids in Overland Park.

When he got the opportunity to work on the series, he booked his ticket to Los Angeles.

"As a writer I just want people to be moved by what I do," Jackson told FOX 4's Megan Brilley during an exclusive interview.

And moved they were, as the words Jackson used to write part of "13 Reasons Why" stuck with teens all over the country.

"We dug deep. Not only in the book but within our own lives. Within the world around us," Jackson described.

He says the writers on the show immersed themselves into the mind of a suicidal teen; they read books and watched documentaries.

"We just started picking away at it and turning this document into a 13 episode series," he said.

Jackson wrote episode 10 of the series. He says he wanted to give kids both in Kansas City and around the country a show they could connect with.

"We hopefully took a step forward in putting something on television, that can kind of mirror the lives and some of the stuff this young people are going through," he said.

No one on set could`ve predicted the way the series took off, getting people of all ages talking about the once taboo topic of suicide. While many felt the series glorified suicide, Jackson says he and all of the writers worked hard to make sure the series was real and responsible.

"We did everything we could so it didn't look like that. We didn't want someone to watch this show and say, 'oh, this seems like a very good idea," he said.

Doctors in the Kansas City area believe the series has played a role in a recent uptick in suicidal teens. Jackson says parents should use this series as an opportunity to talk to their kids, but never let them watch it alone.

"They're dealing with some really tough issues, issues that your students may be dealing with now," he said.

While on set he took advantage to represent his hometown any chance he could, and says working on this project will be an experience he will never forget.

"Considering the subject matter we were talking about, it was a great set to be on," Jackson said.

"13 Reasons Why" did get picked up for a second season, but Jackson won`t be involved with it because of other projects, but says all of the writers and actors are so excited to get started.