I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter
Published By: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
THE LOVELY BONES meets ALL THE RAGE in a searing, heartbreaking contemporary story of a lost teenager, and the town she leaves behind.
Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.
Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.
But then the unthinkable happens and Ellie is trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.
The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.
TE Carter’s stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture but also makes you slow down and think about what it is to be human.
Excerpt from I Stop Somewhere:
Later, I remember how my dad would stand in my doorway, watching me. Trying to reach me across so little space, yet so much. He stared at me like you look at a museum display or a creature in the zoo. I was the coelacanth and he was awed by my strangeness.
“I brought you something,” he said, holding a bag out across the threshold to my bedroom.
My room was an experiment. Posters and magazine pages and images covered the walls and the vanity and my dresser. All the people I wanted to be, wanted to look like. They were the people who mattered. I stared at myself in the mirror, hating how I looked. I hated how the curves made the boys poke me through the back of my chair in class, and how they made the girls call me fat. I hated how far the people in the magazines were from me. I thought I would never count, because I wasn’t them.
“What is it?” I asked my dad, gesturing toward the bag he was holding.
“I thought you might like it.”
It happened every few nights. He’d show up, presenting an offering in a plastic bag. Makeup. Clothes. Hair bands. He tried. He tried and so I tried, but the discount stickers said it all.
They were marked down, because the lipstick was too orange. The tank top wasn’t cut right. The hair pins would have been perfect for a girl my age – ten years ago. But I wore them for him and he smiled, because he didn’t know the difference.
“Thanks, Dad. I love it,” I lied.
“You’re beautiful, Ellie.”
I was a markdown girl.
I did know the difference.
Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t know if I ever had an official epiphany or anything, but I have always loved books. Writers were sort of my superheroes growing up. I loved making up stories and I loved living inside of other people’s stories. I think writing just evolved naturally from that.
Q. How long does it take you to write a book?
I have the worst writing habits and I think it’s kind of important to admit that. There are a million and a half articles out there about how to write, but I know none of them seem to apply to me. I think this shows that writing needs to be whatever process you need it to be. Writing a book, in my case, actually only takes about six weeks. That said, I spend about eight months just thinking about the idea. I let the story develop in my head until I have a better sense of who the character is, where it takes place, etc. I’m always “writing” in the way that I keep notes of random thoughts as they come to me, but most of my process involves waiting for the character to form. Once they do, it takes me about six weeks to get the story down. And then there’s revision and edits, of course.
Q. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The content of I STOP SOMEWHERE is tough. It came from a very personal place and that’s always hard to tap into, but it was important to me to tell this story. Even recently during pass pages, I found there were scenes I had to put down for a moment. I’ve read this book way too many times to count by this point, but I still feel so much of the hurt that went into writing it when I edit.
Q. What process did you go through to get your book published?
Well, I started by writing it, obviously. That was in late 2015 and early 2016. Then, in February 2016, I started querying agents. I sent my first batch of letters Sunday night and by Monday morning, I had a request from my now agent. That Wednesday night, she emailed me to set up a call and by Thursday afternoon, I had an offer.
Once I officially accepted the offer, we went on submission that night and three weeks later, I agreed to a deal with Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan. We originally planned on publication for Fall 2017, but in May 2016, I was told they were pushing me out to Winter 2018 since they thought it would be a better fit for that list.
Not a whole lot happened for months, but then in September, I started edits with my editor and we finished revisions just after the holidays. The book comes out February 27, 2018 in North America (my UK publication is with Simon & Schuster UK, releasing tentatively in April 2018). So while my writing process is done for the book, we’re just getting started on getting the word out about publication!
Q. What do you like to read in your free time?
I read pretty much anything, but my favorites are contemporary fiction, classics, and independent comics. I’m not opposed to other genres, of course, but I do tend to connect deeper to realistic contemporary novels, especially the heartbreaking ones!
Q. What projects are you working on at the present?
My second novel, ALL WE COULD HAVE BEEN, is scheduled for publication in 2019 and I will be getting into edits on that later this year. It’s already written, so now the revisions start! That’s also contemporary and is about a girl trying to escape her past and the dark secrets of her family.
I’m currently writing my third novel, contracted with ALL WE COULD HAVE BEEN and expected for publication in 2020. It’s still way too early to really say much about it, but it will be another contemporary standalone.
Q. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
So many unfinished books, but they’re not really half-finished. I have a lot of beginnings. Once I get past a certain point, I finish the story. I have a collection of unpublished work, but it’s not really a good idea to spend much time thinking about those!
TE Carter was born in New England and has lived in New England for pretty much her entire life. Throughout her career, she’s done a lot of things, although her passion has always been writing. When she’s not writing, she can generally be found reading classic literature, obsessing over Game of Thrones (she’s one hundred percent Team Lannister), playing Xbox, organizing her comic collection, or binge watching baking competitions. She continues to live in New England with her husband and their two cats.