Author Cecelia Ahern Discusses Her New YA Book Flawed

Check out P.S. I Love You author, Cecelia Ahern, discuss her new YA book, Flawed!

With her new book, Flawed out in just under two weeks, author Cecelia Ahern talked to EW about her transition into YA. Flawed is set in a society where public shaming is at full force: you are branded with an F on your hand if you steal, or even on your tongue if you tell a lie. Ahern talks about why she decided to try her hand at YA, and what crime she’d be guilty of in the world of Flawed. Check out some of the interview below:

Entertainment Weekly: You’re a successful adult novelist. What made you want to dive into YA?

Cecelia Ahern: I always say that I never choose the ideas, they choose me, and I had the same experience withFlawed. The idea arrived in my head and was bursting to be told. There was no big decision about writing YA, I just had to write the story that was in my mind. I always just write the story that moves me and hope that the right audience finds it. The adrenaline was pumping as soon as the idea arrived and I put pen to paper and finished the first draft in six weeks. The whole experience was a thrill and a joy.

Where did you find the inspiration for Flawed?

Flawed was inspired by the fact that I believe that we live in a very judgmental society, one that is quick to point the finger, to embarrass those who have made mistakes, or who have made decisions that we just don’t agree with. We hold people up as examples of what not to do, or of what is wrong with our society, creating scapegoats, and give little thought to the possibility of a fair second chance.

We are essentially branding people in the media, in society, already, so I decided to go one step further and create a morality court, one that is supported by the government and that makes real the labels that we already give people.

What aspects of our own society are mirrored in the society in Flawed? Did writing this make you feel more or less comfortable in today’s world?

I based this novel on modern society — many things that I dislike about what I see in this world, both from our history and the present, have gone into this book.

At the time of writing Flawed in 2014, the marriage referendum regarding same-sex marriage had not come into effect in Ireland so I was living in a two-tiered society; many of my friends and family members did not have the same rights as I did. Thankfully this has changed, but there are many countries where this is still illegal.

I wanted to show how women are treated in the media; the language used for Celestine’s mother and Celestine during the trial depicts this.

The public criticism Celestine faces in the media and by society is similar to what teenagers are faced with in social media. There is no hiding in social media from the bullying; the pressure to be perfect, to look perfect, to have a certain amount of friends on Instagram, to sound interesting, to be more sophisticated than they actually are, the obsession with image, to always be available.

Everyday I looked at the tabloids online to see who was being targeted. A young pregnant celebrity caught smoking, a young actress whose housekeeper didn’t pay taxes, a high-profile footballer who cheats on his wife and the attention turns to the flaws of his wife. People who live off the grid from the government. Leaked emails. Police officers ‘sexting’ on work phones. What is incorrectly described as news is just publicly shaming people. Judging them. Pointing the finger.

I could go on and on.

As a public figure, have you ever found yourself facing public shame/criticism?

I don’t think anybody is immune from criticism, especially as I write novels that are put out in the world to be enjoyed and criticized. I write to please myself. I must connect with my work, I must be moved. I can’t write for other people because it feels too contrived and there’d be a clear disconnect when reading it. If I’m proud of myself and know that if I’ve done the best I can, then that’s all I can do. The same stands for every aspect of life. If I feel like I’ve let myself down, then I probably have. I do the best I can.

If you faced the Flawed Court, what crimes would you be most likely to be found guilty of?

I think I would be very similar to Celestine in this instance. I’m like Celestine in that I won’t break a law, but when it comes to society’s rules or traditions, I find my own way. I’m open-minded, liberal, I follow my instincts and I’m always ready to hear the many other sides to one single story. Kindness is key. For that, I’d probably get just as many brands as Celestine did.

Check out the rest of the interview and an excerpt from Flawed here!

As a fan of Cecelia Ahern myself, I know that her books are always filled with flowing passages and emotional grounding that really brings the story to life and I am sure that Flawed will be no different!

Flawed hits bookstore shelves on April 5th, 2016.