Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Brigid Kemmerer at Bethesda Library

Brigid Kemmerer was at the Bethesda library last night.  Hannah McBride (I assume I'm spelling that right) interviewed her about both her new release, Letters to the Lost which is straight contemporary YA and there were also quite a few mentions of the Elementals series and those Merricks.  
Kemmerer said Letters to the Lost was loosely inspired by "You've Got Mail".  She was rewatching it one day and wondered how she could do a YA version, and then because her writing is not usually straight funny, but funny in the face of darkness, shifted to what if one of them was writing letters to someone who was dead.  And here we are. There is a companion book planned featuring the best friend of Declan (male protagonist in Letters).  
There was a lot of love for the Merricks, and discussion of when any future stories would be.  For those who haven't read the series, I can tell you the story wraps up, but of course, there is always more, another big bad lurking somewhere.  Kemmerer had planned to write more in the world, and has the next story started, but the publisher that has the series rights is not so much doing YA at the moment, so she is prioritizing the books that are under contract.  (So, less publishy nitty gritty version - maybe someday.) 
Letters is her first straight contemporary - I will say having finished Thicker Than Water recently, it reminded me of More Happy Than Not in that it seems like a contemporary for a good part of it, until you realize, oh, okay.  But Letters is contemporary and dual first person which Kemmerer enjoyed writing.  She also has another contemporary planned for 2019. 
She was asked about writing male POV's and said she drove her husband crazy asking what does it feel like to do this, and that, and the other when she was first writing the Elementals.  And finally her husband said it doesn't matter about what all guys think or feel, just this character.  
Kemmerer said the final (so far) story in the Elementals, Michael's was the hardest partly because she had to wrap up so many things, and by that point the series had fans and people would email her that they just couldn't wait for Michael's story and she was struggling, and pregnant, and sent 50 pages to her editor who said, hmm, maybe not quite that*, and so went back and wrote new pages that she hated. She was put on bed rest, so emailed her editor and said, I'm on bed rest for two weeks before the C-section, so I'll do nothing but write and everything will be fine.  And she (modified bed rest) went to Starbucks to meet her mom and the barista had the name that she and her husband had planned for their kid, and she told her mom, this is a sign, the baby's coming today.  Her mom told her don't be silly, but you know where this was going, so, yeah, she had to tell her editor new plan.  Anyway, the book does exist now, so it all worked out.  And Kemmerer said she's in that Starbucks all the time and never saw that barista before or after that.  

*I'm sure she was paraphrasing and encapsulating for the sake of the story.