IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Cissy Houston plans a book on her daughter, Whitney

Cissy Houston, gospel singer and mother of Whitney Houston, is meeting with publishers regarding a forthcoming book on the pop legend's life story.
/ Source: The New York Times

Cissy Houston, the gospel singer and mother of Whitney Houston, met with publishers in New York this week to shop a book about her daughter, several people who were in the meetings said.

Affectionately calling her daughter “Nippy,” her childhood nickname, and appearing emotionally and physically drained, Ms. Houston met with publishers in a suite at the St. Regis Hotel, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations were still going on.

Ms. Houston, 78, described the book in meetings as the real and definitive story of her daughter, the pop legend who died on Feb. 11 in Beverly Hills at the age of 48.

“It’s going to be the bad, it’s going to be the good,” she told one publisher.

How much Ms. Houston is prepared to disclose — and how candid she will be about her daughter’s troubled marriage and long pattern of drug use — could determine the amount of money a publisher would be willing to spend on the book. Bidding could easily go into seven figures, said the people who attended the meetings.

Two publishers said Ms. Houston appeared reluctant to address her daughter’s death and her drug habit.

The Los Angeles County coroner said last month that Whitney Houston died of accidental drowning in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel; cocaine use and heart disease also played a role in her death, the coroner said.

Talking about the book proposal to publishers, Ms. Houston seemed eager to set straight what she called “lies” about her daughter that have circulated in public discussion about her. “She said, ‘There are so many lies out there and I want to dispel all of those lies,’” one publishing executive said.

Ms. Houston was represented by Steve Fisher, a literary agent in Los Angeles, who is pursuing a deal for world rights to the book, publishers said. Mr. Fisher did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Cissy Houston has already written a memoir, which was published in 1998, titled “How Sweet the Sound,” that told of her upbringing in a deeply religious family and her career in gospel. As a young singer, she helped form the Sweet Inspirations, a group that frequently sang backup vocals for Elvis Presley; she later won Grammys for her gospel albums.

She will use a ghostwriter for this book, though no writer has been named yet.

Her book would not be the first about Whitney Houston to emerge since her death. Worthy Publishing, a small Christian publisher in Nashville, said last week it had signed the gospel singer BeBe Winans, whose memoir would tell the story of his longtime friendship with Whitney Houston.

The book, to be called “The Whitney I Knew,” will capture “Winans’s personal stories and anecdotes that reveal Houston’s warmth, generosity, and humor,” the publisher said in a statement. It is expected to be released in July.

This article, “Cissy Houston Plans a Book on Her Daughter, a k a 'Nippy',” first appeared in The New York Times