*Warning: This post is gonna have A LOT of gifs*
So, when it all went down, I felt a lot like this:
And then like this:
And, ultimately like this:
I’ve been waiting a while to tell everyone this information and it’s almost killed me Truly, I wanted to shout this from the rooftops from the second it happened…but life doesn’t always work that way. So I told a few people close to me and waited patiently for the go-ahead.
But now — NOW — I can tell everyone. We should probably start with the deal announcement in Publisher’s Weekly:
Karen Chaplin at HarperTeen has pre-empted a YA novel by Kelly Fiore, author of Taste Test and the forthcoming Just Like the Movies. Her new book, The People vs. Cecelia Price, was pitched as Sara Zarr meets Breaking Bad; it features a teenage girl accused of murdering her drug-addicted brother, though the truth is a lot more complicated. It will be published in fall 2015; Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary and Media was the agent.
So, what does this mean?
Well, obviously, my agent sold my book – THE PEOPLE VS. CECELIA PRICE – to Harper Collins.
And that makes me feel like this:
What else does it mean?
It means that, including Taste Test, I have four books coming out over the next four years. It could actually be more if I get the opportunity to continue my option books with Bloomsbury, and I really, really hope I do. I love my editor there so very much.
So, let me take a moment to talk about Cecelia Price (which is what I usually call the book — adding “The People vs.” at the beginning gets a little cumbersome.)
For me, Cecelia Price is “The Book.” I think I can say with some authority that most authors have their own version of “The Book.” “The Book” is, for me anyway, the thing I’m most proud of in my writing life. It shows the best of my writing and it shows how much I’ve grown as a writer. It was the book that spoke to me all on its own and had such important things to say.
“The Book” is what makes everything worth it. It makes me giddy, proud, and emotional all at once.
I am a very quick writer most of the time. This book, though? It took me the better part of three years to complete it — that’s a long time for someone who usually only takes 3-4 months for a good first draft. The reason, more than anything else, was the subject matter. Cecelia Price is about addiction to prescription medication, among other tough subjects. It’s a character study of a brother, sister, and father, all of whom live in their own versions of denial. Here’s the pitch from my query letter:
Cecelia Price murdered her brother, Cyrus. At least, that’s what the police are saying. So is the district attorney. But CeCe knows the story is more complicated, that a terrible thing happened when she was trying so hard to make things right. Cyrus was addicted to prescription pain killers and had deteriorated into an angry, violent version of his former self. CeCe had no choice but to adopt a fragmented identity: part drug dealer, part honor student, part sister, part daughter. Now, locked up and facing a murder charge, CeCe must make her lawyer understand how sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome.
The book alternates between three different perspectives — CeCe’s memory from her childhood, CeCe’s life from months before her brother’s death, and CeCe now (after her brother’s death) as she prepares for court. While we focus specifcally on CeCe’s character, we also watch the slow deterioration of her family through the lense of a desperate girl. Similarly, we get to know her love interests — both good and bad influences in her life — as well as two female figures helping to keep her out of prison: her lawyer, Jennifer, and her counselor, Trina.
It’s a book that’s both sad and real. It was written as a direct response to the feeling one has when a family member is in drug crisis – a feeling I know extremely well from my own family’s past. In some ways, for me, this book feels angular, like it would be hard to hug and love. Sometimes it’s hard for me to read it. I can’t even tell you how many times I cried while writing it. But it’s the best thing I’ve ever done, save having my little boy. If I died tomorrow and Cecelia Price was the last book I ever wrote, I’d be okay with that. I can only hope to be known for this story I love so very much.
So, that’s it. My big news. I am a happy, happy, happy girl.