Author Spotlight: Tirzah Price
Feb. 26, 2021
We are excited to feature author Tirzah Price and her young adult novel, PRICE AND PREMEDITATION! (HarperTeen) out on April 6, 2021.
Enter to win a copy!
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.
I’m a reader and writer, and currently I get to do both things full time as a freelancer! Aside from writing YA, I also work for Book Riot as a contributing editor where I podcast, write newsletters and content, and recommend books nonstop—it’s the best job! Before that, I worked as a teen librarian and an independent bookseller for eight years.
Growing up, I was always reading and writing. I loved YA books as a teen, and when I went to college I never outgrew that love. I knew from a pretty young age that I always wanted to write YA, but it took the reality check of college to realize that loving to write and having a career as a novelist weren’t the same thing at all. After I graduated from college, I got my MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children and Young Adults program, and that taught me the essential skills I needed to improve my writing and have the discipline to see story ideas through to the end!
Congratulations on your debut Pride and Premeditation! Tell us about it and what inspired you.
Thank you! Pride and Premeditation is a murder mystery retelling of Pride and Prejudice. It’s set in an ahistorical Regency setting, and it stars Lizzie Bennet, the daughter of a barrister who has law aspirations of her own—but she has to prove she has what it takes to be a working woman in the field. So she decides to solve a murder case and runs up against the defendant’s counsel, a young Mr. Darcy, along the way!
This is a murder mystery in the vein of Agatha Chritie (so it’s fairly cozy—not much on-the-page violence), and I was inspired by my two genre loves—historical fiction and mystery. It was a lot of fun taking the beloved characters that Austen created and imagining them in a slightly more perilous context!
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
I would say somewhere in between, although there were many days it felt very long and very winding! I graduated from VCFA in 2015 and took a year to revise the novel I wrote while in the program. Then, I queried and was lucky enough to connect with my amazing agent, Taylor Martindale Kean, pretty quickly. The novel I queried didn’t sell, nor did the next YA novel I wrote. I’m forever grateful to Taylor for sticking with me until we landed on a project that made it to publication!
Did you have a playlist while writing Pride and Premeditation? Is there one song that encapsulates a key moment?
I enjoy listening to music while I write, and usually I take a long time to come up with the perfect playlist for a new project…but drafting Pride & Premeditation coincided with my discovery of Lizzo. So I’m afraid I listened to every song by Lizzo that I could download on a constant loop while I wrote this book. Which felt somewhat fitting since the book is about being a confident young woman and owning your power!
What projects are you working on now?
Right now I’m revising Sense and Second-Degree Murder, the second book in the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, which will be out in 2022. I’m also starting to work on book three, Manslaughter Park. I’m hoping to squeeze in work on a new project unrelated to Austen in between those books!
What are the one or two best things you did for your writing career? What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
The best decision I ever made for my writing career was attending Vermont College of Fine Arts and getting my MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults. I don’t think you need to get an MFA to become a writer, but there are definite advantages—mainly, I had a structured two years of intense focus on my writing guided by some amazing, award-winning authors and I got a degree and an amazing community of fellow writers out of it.
My advice to aspiring authors is to take your writing seriously, whatever that means to you. For me, it meant getting an MFA and scheduling time in my day to write. For others, it could mean investing in writing workshops and classes, scheduling time to devote to the page, and then protecting that time. And seek out writer friends who take writing as seriously as you do! Writing friends are invaluable!
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
My dad is a rodeo announcer and when I was a kid, I competed in rodeos almost every weekend. My favorite events were barrel racing and pole bending.
Where can people find you online?
So many places! My website is TirzahPrice.com, and you can find me on Twitter and Instagram @TirzahPrice. I also write at Book Riot and I co-host the All the Books! Podcast with Liberty Hardy once a month!
Tirzah Price is the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries. She grew up on a farm in Michigan, where she read every book she could get her hands on and never outgrew her love for YA fiction. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a former bookseller and librarian. Now, she’s a contributing editor at Book Riot. When she’s not writing, reading, or thinking about YA books, she splits her time between experimenting in the kitchen and knitting enough socks to last the fierce Michigan winters.
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