That subtleness is what gives these stories a unique edge. The brothers cannot beckon the forces of nature to right the world’s wrongs or bring a city to its knees. Each young man must deal with all of the good and bad of life while coming to terms with their not-so-normal abilities. They aren’t wealthy and in fact run their parents’ landscaping business. What they do have is a bond of brotherhood and everyday yearnings to find happiness. They also have some not so average enemies, and in Chris’s case, a challenger for the teenaged Becca who becomes embroiled in Chris’s life and troubles. Becca, too, comes with her own suitcase of problems she has yet to overcome.
Brigid is married with three sons, works outside of the home, and has managed to put together this intense, yet charming, story of high school, coming of age, finding love, and dealing with all of the inner and outer issues youth must contend with on a daily basis.
“Storm” isn’t atypical YA reading. Not at all. By centering a different brother in each novel, Brigid has assured readers of new characters, storylines, and well-conceived plots in this series. “Spark,” the tale of the brother with the gift of fire, is set for release this August.
Q) You once stated the greatest difficulty in writing these stories was to write from the perspective of a teenaged boy. How did you overcome that obstacle?
A) The funny thing is, I just had to stop overthinking it. I spent so much time trying to figure out what teenage guys would worry about, or how they’d feel about girls, or how they would relate to each other. I kept throwing hypothetical questions at my husband about how boys’ minds work. Finally, he said, “Hon, stop worrying about all guys, and worry about this guy. He’s your character. Just write him.” So I did. And it worked.
Q) Which leads us to this question. Why four brothers and not sisters?
A) I could give you the teacher’s pet answer and say that I’m fascinated by family dynamics overall, but am somewhat mystified about the complexities of how brothers interrelate, but I can see your eyes glazing over already. Instead, I’ll give you the honest answer: I first wrote about these four brothers when I was in high school. When I was sixteen, the idea of meeting four hot, supernatural brothers and getting caught up in their lives was … well … awesome. When I decided to rewrite the story featuring the same four brothers, I still remembered the magic the characters had for me then.
Q) You keep the characters grounded with topical issues such as bullying and harassment. What caught my eye was cheating in school (“Spark”). Why include something that is so wrong, yet occurs so frequently that some people have come to erroneously accept it as expected behavior? And, how did you avoid making the subject ‘preachy’?
A) Teenagers make mistakes. All of them. Including me. I could never preach to anyone, because it’s just not my style. When I set out to write The Elemental Series, I wanted these characters to have supernatural problems, but real life problems, too. Sometimes my characters get away with cheating or bullying or assault or whatever. Sometimes they don’t. Either way, they have to deal with the fallout from that in addition to the elemental powers they have to control.
Q) You obviously have a preference for paranormal and urban fantasy. What is it about these genres that attracted you?
A) When I was a little girl, I always liked to imagine that there was something … more out there, just waiting to be discovered. Who am I kidding? I like to imagine that now. I’m so glad that urban fantasy has really gotten a lift over the past few years, because it was my favorite genre to read as a child, and there was so little of it. What’s better than slapping something supernatural in the middle of real world belief systems and methodologies?
Q) You will soon begin the book signing tours and required marketing personal appearances for your novels. These absences can wear on a family. What steps have you taken to ensure your family stays intact?
A) I read this question out loud to my husband and he laughed. Seriously, we have a great marriage. He’s my best friend, and we’re a great support system for each other. He came up with a plan for “study dates,” where we make a pot of coffee at night after the kids are in bed, and I can work on the book stuff while he works on finishing his degree. We work together and bounce ideas of each other. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done to strengthen our relationship.
Q) Any parting thoughts for the readers soon to be introduced to your work?
A) I hope they love Becca and the Merrick brothers as much as I do! I love hearing from readers. Please don’t hesitate to follow me on Twitter @BrigidKemmerer.
DA Kentner is an author and journalist. www.kevad.net