Wednesday, September 12, 2012

STORM and SPARK, Two Great YA Novels by Brigid Kemmerer

I found out about Brigid Kemmerer through a critique partner--and when I went to her website and read excerpts of her books, I was absolutely blown away by her writing. The more I've learned about her Elemental Series, the more I want to get my hands on it. The first book is called STORM, and sequel, SPARK came out on August 28.


Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys all the ones she doesn't want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They're powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all.
The storm is coming.





Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.

Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.

The fuse is lit…









Here are Brigid's answers to some of my questions:

Your website bio states that you've had the four brothers in the Elemental Series inside your head since you first wrote them in high school. How have they stayed so prevalent in your mind since then, and can you tell us more about how STORM came to be?

The first novel I wrote in high school was about four vampire brothers, named Michael, Nicholas, Gabriel, and Christopher. It was a silly story, but I still have most of it on paper. In my twenties, when I really began to take writing seriously, I wrote a few books but was unable tofind a literary agent or a publisher. I couldn’t get those four brothers out of my head – but I didn’t want to do vampires again. I started tossing around ideas that would work with the number four. Four horsemen of the apocalypse. Four leaf clovers. Four, four, four. The fourelements of earth, air, fire, and water seemed to work best—and I had a lot of ideas how I could make it fun. What teenagers wouldn’t want to be able to control the elements?



The best stories definitely come from intriguing concepts, and yours are no exception.The opening of STORM is probably one of the best I've ever read. How do you approach beginnings, and how do you know when a beginning is as good as it can possibly get?

Wow, thank you! I'm a firm believer of putting conflict on every page, and that includes the opening. One of the things I always say during school visits is, "If everyone is getting along, you're doing it wrong." A bit tongue-in-cheek, but it always helps me move through difficult scenes. If everyone in a scene is acting in accord, it's boring, and you can probably leave it out. And this doesn't mean fists need to be swinging. Internal conflict works, too. One of my favorite scenes in Spark is all about Gabriel and a math test.

But you asked about beginnings. I try to open with a character at a point of conflict in his/her life, and the conflict has to relate to the main plot somehow. Sometimes I think people try to open with conflict, but they just start with a scenario that never ties back to anything. ("Hey, writing books say I need to start with action, so let's start with a shootout!") If the action isn't relevant to the plot, what's the point? So that's basically it for me: Conflict + plot in the first chapter. If you can set up both, you're golden.



Fantastic advice--especially for aspiring writers! What do you wish you had known before you became published? Is there anything you would have done differently?

Nothing! I've loved the experience so far.



SPARK is the most recent book in the Elemental Series. What can readers expect from this newest installment?

Gabriel Merrick controls fire, and he is as unpredictable and volatile as the element itself. He's fighting with his family, then caught cheating at school, and struggles with who he is. One night he follows a fire truck and ends up saving someone's life -- only to find himself in the middle of an arson investigation. No one believes him, until he meets Layne, a shy girl with secrets of her own...



Great hook--and you've really captured both the external and internal conflicts really well. What are some other projects you're currently working on?

Right now I'm working on a new project that's more fantasy based. I'm really excited about it, but that's about all I can say right now...


Thanks, Brigid! To snag your own copies of STORM, and the series' most recent installment, SPARK, click on the buttons below:


1 comment:

Angelica R. Jackson said...

I haven't gotten to Spark yet, but Storm was great. Can't wait for the whole series to be finished! (Brigid, that's not a nagging, just an expression of anticipation!)