YA author Brigid Kemmerer talks to us about her new novel A Heart So Fierce and Broken—which is a follow-up to her Beauty and the Beast retelling A Curse so Dark and Lonely—here.
What is A Heart So Fierce and Broken about?
A Heart So Fierce and Broken is the second book in the Cursebreakers series, and it follows Commander Grey, who's learned some life-altering truths about himself and his heritage, and a new character named Lia Mara, who is the daughter of Karis Luran, the ruler of a neighbouring hostile queendom, who must find a way to work with Grey if there's going to be peace between their rival nations.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely was a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast tale - how did you go about extending the story in this book?
One of the things I've always wondered about Beauty and the Beast was what was going on OUTSIDE the castle. There's a cursed prince in an empty castle ... surely this must have had some kind of impact on the surrounding kingdom, right? To have rulers just ... vanish or lock themselves away? Once I created the kingdom of Emberfall in Curse, it was easy to keep expanding into what neighbouring countries would be doing, and how their rulers would respond.
What can fans of A Curse So Dark and Lonely look forward to revisiting in this book, and can you reveal any new characters or elements you’ve introduced?
Readers of A Curse So Dark and Lonely can look forward to spending time with Grey, Rhen, and Harper, whom they've come to know and love, in addition to more page time for Jake and Noah, characters from our world, and the introduction of Lia Mara, Tycho, and Lisak, some fun new characters who are all unique in their own way.
What are the challenges of writing a retelling? Did you feel any pressure taking on such well-known story?
I knew Beauty and the Beast had been done a million times before (if not more), so I focused more on using the classic fairy tale as a bare-bones inspiration. You have the kidnapped maiden and the tortured prince and the cruel sorceress, but from there, the story really took on a life of its own once I put Rhen and Harper on the page.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on two books for Bloomsbury right now: the third book in the Cursebreakers series, which is scheduled to be released in January 2021, in which Rhen and Grey will have to come to terms with what fate has in store for them, as well as a new fantasy, Defy the Night, which is scheduled to be released in late 2021.
A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer is published by Bloomsbury YA on 7th January.