By Ava Stanski
It takes talent and skill to craft an entire world from words found inside of a half-inch-thick book. Brigid Kemmerer, a New York Times bestselling author from Pasadena, has proved to be able to do just that.
In her most recent novel, “Call It What You Want,” she explores a modern retelling of the beloved folk tale “Robin Hood.” The story revolves around high school student Rob as he attempts to navigate the school year after his world is flipped upside down. “Rob’s father is found out to have been embezzling money,” Kemmerer explains, “and a lot of Rob’s old friends and classmates believe that he was helping his father, so he kind of goes from being the top of the high school food chain to being a bit of a social outcast.”
After finding a $10 bill on the ground and giving it to a student who had no money for lunch, Rob begins taking money from his wealthy friends and redistributing it to less wealthy students. “He’s trying to somehow atone for his father’s actions in the only way he feels that he can,” Kemmerer said.
Meanwhile, Meagan is attempting to cope with her own family drama after her sister comes home from college pregnant. When she is paired with Rob for a class project, it only throws additional complications into both of their lives.
Rob’s journey, however, is far from the black-and-white version of Robin Hood that many have grown up with. “I tried to examine the moral dilemma that Rob encounters, since stealing is still illegal, even if it’s for a good cause,” Kemmerer said. “Rob really has to grapple with his actions and do some soul-searching to try and answer the question of whether he can make up for his father’s wrongs. I really tried to show all sides of the issue.”
While writing the novel, Kemmerer spoke with individuals with different viewpoints. “I spoke with many people that lived in more disenfranchised areas, but I also spoke with an FBI agent that specialized in fraud and embezzlement to learn more about the legal ramifications of my character’s actions. I also took a few classes researching money laundering and fraud.”
While “Call It What You Want” may seem worlds away, Kemmerer’s familiarity with Pasadena and Baltimore helped her write her setting. “While my story is completely fiction,” Kemmerer elaborated, “it actually takes place in Howard County. In fact, a lot of my novels occur in or around Washington and Baltimore.”
Kemmerer also has a new novel on the horizon, “A Heart So Fierce and Broken,” which will be the sequel to her popular young adult fantasy novel “A Curse So Dark and Lonely.” The original is a fantastical retelling of the classic story of “Beauty and the Beast,” with an abundance of twists and turns throughout. The second book in the series promises to be an equally exciting and compelling read.
The team at Bloomsbury Children’s Books is excited for bookworms to pick up copies of each book.
“Brigid is a master storyteller who crafts stories so rich with emotion and page-turning action,” said Mary Kate Castellani, executive editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. “The Cursebreaker series, with its foothold in the real world, has inspired fervent love in both fantasy and contemporary readers alike.”
To learn more, visit www.brigidkemmerer.com or follow her on Twitter @BrigidKemmerer or on Facebook by searching for “Brigid Kemmerer, Writer.”
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