Cecelia Ahern’s YA début Flawed will be published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in March. She talks to The Bookseller.
What was the inspiration for your novel?
I felt very strongly about living in a judgemental society, one that is quick to publicly shame people. It felt at one point like a sport; I took how I was feeling and imagined a world where people are punished further for their mistakes. Flawed was born; a society brands people with an “F for Flawed” and they are forced to live as second-class citizens. I wanted to place a teenager in this setting because the stakes are high at that age, particularly now for teens with modern-day pressures. It’s a time of discovering who you are, of learning about people and it’s also a time where to be cast out of the crowd and to be seen as different is a traumatic event.
Is there any difference in writing YA to writing for adult readers?
I approached this novel in exactly the same way as I would with my adult novels. I got into the head of my main character, 17-year-old Celestine North, and I saw the world from her eyes, and because of that it has a younger voice and viewpoint. Essentially I’ve continued the same theme that is in all of my books; Flawed is about a young woman who is struggling with her identity and who is trying to find her place in the world.
Do you have any other YA books planned?
The sequel to Flawed is Perfect—it will soon follow. As for more YA novels, I never plan what direction I’m going to take, I just follow the ideas that come to my mind. I currently have one idea for a YA novel that’s alive in my head and bursting to be written. The problem is not finding the ideas, it’s having the time to write them all, because I write one adult novel each year. Writing Flawed and Perfect meant writing four novels in two years—I felt like I was double-jobbing!