Brigid Kemmerer gives us raw, bold and inspiring novels that empower us, teach us to be brave and remind us that it doesn’t make us weak to need others or lean on them for support. Her books provide sweet romances and friendships whilst showing the difficulties in being judged by others for our mistakes. She teaches us to follow our own hearts, and not to let anyone else tell us how to live our lives.
Kemmerer is the author of eight Young Adult novels, including Letters to the Lost, and a New Adult novel Thicker Than Water. She wrote the YALSA-nominated Elemental series which Kirkus Reviews calls “refreshingly human paranormal romance” and School Library Journal describes as “a new take on the supernatural genre.” She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.
In a recent and exclusive interview, Kemmerer talks about her writing and her novels.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
BK: Yes! I wrote books “in secret” during high school. I say “in secret” because most of my teachers knew what I was doing. I vividly remember being in Calculus class, and my teacher came over and rapped on my desk and said, “NO. You are NOT writing in my class.”
Q: What writers inspire you?
Kemmerer also spoke about her young adult, romance novel, Letters to the Lost.
Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.
Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.
When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither of them knows that they’re not actually strangers. When real life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. This emotional, compulsively-readable romance will sweep everyone off their feet.
Q: Letters to the Lost is a different kind of genre for you, how did you come up with the story?
BK: I love the movie You’ve Got Mail, and I love stories where people fall in love before they actually meet. I really wanted to tell a story where people show their true selves in writing, while not realizing how guarded they really are.
Q: Did you feel you related to any characters in the story?
BK: Yes! All of them, especially Declan and Rev.
Q: When reading Letters to the Lost, I felt as though the message of the story was about not judging someone based on one thing in their lives was this intentional?
BK: Absolutely. I think we’ve all become conditioned to see one aspect of a person, especially as social media lets them show only what they want to see. It’s important to remember that people are always much deeper than that.
Kemmerer went on to talk about her upcoming novel, More Than We Can Tell, which is the sequel to Letters to the Lost.
Q: What will More Than We Can Tell be about?
BK: More Than We Can Tell follows Rev Fletcher, Declan’s best friend in Letters to the Lost. Rev has turned eighteen, and he receives a letter from his abusive father, a man he hasn’t seen in ten years. He has to deal with the resulting fallout. (Also, Declan and Juliet have plenty of scenes with Rev!)
Q: Will it follow a similar story to Letters to the Lost?
BK: It’s similar in that it follows an alternating POV between Rev and a girl named Emma, who has a few secrets of her own.
Q: Will we see more about Rev’s story?
BK: You’ll learn a whole lot about Rev!
Q: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
BK: Never stop reading! Really. Figure out what works and what doesn’t work.