Contributed by Brigid Kemmerer
I’m going to come right out and say it: I love people. I really do. I love meeting people, talking to people, learning about people. I love families. Kids. Grownups. Single people, married people, red people, blue people—wait. I’m turning into Dr. Seuss.
You know why I love people? Because they’re complicated. Everyone has a story.
At the core of any good story is conflict, right? I spend a lot of time thinking about characters and their motivations. Since I write about teenagers, a lot of time this involves thinking about teens and their parents (or stepparents, or grandparents, or foster parents, or extended families). I have a stepson myself, and he’s one of the most awesome teenagers I know. (I totally lucked out.) I also have three young sons, and over the last ten years, I’ve had the opportunity to watch our family grow, and I’ve gotten to learn a lot about how dynamics can change.
That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Being a stepparent can be a tricky balance sometimes. I love my stepson, but I know he has a mother, so I never want him to feel like we’re in competition with each other over anything. Sometimes there are misunderstandings that linger. I remember when he was young, he had an assignment to read ten pages of a book, and I told him to go read while I started making dinner. After a little while, he called out, “I read fifteen pages!” He sounded so excited, so I said, “That’s great! Keep going!” A little while later, he said, “I read twentyfive pages!” So I said, “Wow! Keep going!” He burst into tears and ran to his father. I thought he was excited because he was loving the story. He was excited because he thought he was done, and I misunderstood and kept encouraging him to read more.
I’ve written about a lot of misunderstandings. In The Elemental Series, the Merrick brothers were orphaned when the oldest was eighteen, and he had to take over raising his younger brothers. Their bluecollar family struggles are really the core of the series; the paranormal aspects are actually secondary. Chris Merrick thinks his oldest brother is an overbearing pain in the ass—while Michael is actually terrified that he’s going to screw up and his younger brothers will pay the price. Gabriel Merrick acts like a tough jock—to cover for the fact that he can’t pass math and he’s secretly insecure when compared to his brilliant twin, Nick. When reviewers say that my books are paranormal romances that read like a contemporary YA, I feel a little squee inside, because that’s what’s most important to me: the characters and their stories.
In Thicker than Water, my main character, Thomas, is eighteen years old, and he’s been raised by his single mother. Two weeks after she remarries, she’s murdered in her bed while Thomas sleeps down the hall, leaving him with a stepfather he barely knows. When I write, I try to let my characters develop on the page and see where they take me. Thomas was full of rage about his mother’s death, yet also full of fear and confusion about his place in life and how he’d be able to survive. He was left with nothing.
Enter Stan, his stepfather, who is also a police officer who isn’t sure whether Thomas was involved in the murder. He wants to honor his dead wife by caring for her son—but he doesn’t want to betray her memory by helping her killer. Some of my favorite moments in the book are the conversations between Thomas and Stan, because they’re both hurting so much, and they both feel so alone.
Blended families are part of the human experience nowadays. The core of a real family has nothing to do with blood and marriage anymore, and that’s a beautiful thing, misunderstandings and all. Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Brigid Kemmerer is the author of Thicker than Water (December 2015, Kensington Books) and The Elemental Series (available now). She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband, their four boys, and a wellused coffee pot. Visit her on the web at www.brigidkemmerer.com or follow her on Twitter @BrigidKemmerer.
Meet Brigid's new book, Thicker Than Water.
Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be
murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straightup dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden...
A big thank you to Brigid Kemmerer for this enlightening post! Now read on for the latest giveaway below!
By: Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: December 29, 2015
Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. During this giveaway, Brigid has a question for you to answer in the comments below: What was the name of Thomas’s sophomore year Homecoming date?
See Chapter One of THICKER THAN WATER here: http://www.brigidkemmerer.com/2015/09/thickerthanwaterfirstchapter/
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