A Curse so Dark and Lonely – Interview with Brigid Kemmerer

Beauty and the Beast has provided inspiration for countless writers however few create such a beautiful story of their own from the most famous of fairytales as Brigid Kemmerer. Released today, A Curse so Dark and Lonely is an incredible adventure into the life of a curse prince and a remarkable heroine. Cinders was lucky enough to speak to Brigid about how she created the fantastic world of Emberfall and the wonderful characters who inhabit it.

1.A Curse so Dark and Lonely is inspired by Beauty and the Beast, did you have a favourite fairytale as a child?

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite. I remember when the original Disney cartoon version was coming out, I would stalk the Disney Channel for any chance at seeing the preview. I was so excited I could hardly sleep. Cinderella and The Little Mermaid would have to be a tie for a close second.

2.There have been many Beauty and the Beast retellings in recent years – what made you decide to tell yours partly from the perspective of the beast?

When I tell stories, I really like to look at my characters from all angles, and this one was no different. In most versions, we see the “beast” only through “Beauty’s” eyes, which is fine, but I wanted to give him the chance to tell his side of the story.

3.There’s a contemporary twist on your version – Harper is from a very different world to most of the Beauties we have had – where did the inspiration for her story come from?

I’ve always loved the idea of being whisked away to a fantasy world, so this was easy for me.  

4.Harper is a very compelling and relatable hero – were there any heroic characters who helped to inspire her?

Harper was so much fun to write! I wanted a girl who wasn’t afraid to kick butt, but at the same time, I didn’t want her to be over-the-top and in your face. I wanted her to be vulnerable and uncertain and gentle, too.  

5.The fact that Harper has cerebral palsy is a central part of the story, and a key reason as to why she is underestimated – how do you feel about characters with disabilities increasingly getting more representation in YA?

I think it’s fantastic! Our world is made up of people from all walks of life, and our fictional worlds should be too.  

6. A Curse So Dark and Lonely is filled with diverse and interesting characters, did you have any one in particular who you enjoyed writing most?

Oh wow, I loved writing them all, from Rhen’s arrogance that hides his fear, to Grey’s stoic patience, to Harper and her merciful kindness. I loved Freya’s mothering and Zo’s bravery and Jamison’s willingness to fight and Noah’s knowledge and Jake’s fierceness. I just had so much fun writing this book.  

7.The juxtaposition between our world and Emberfall, makes the latter seem even more fantastic. What kind of world were you hoping to create?

I wanted a world where readers would feel comfortable, that wouldn’t be too intense for Harper, either. I wanted there to be magic and palace intrigue and battles and swords and lots of horses. I built Emberfall as I went along, and I’m so happy with how it came together.

8.You have a penchant for romance both paranormal and traditional – what do you think makes the best love stories?

I love when characters have a chance to really get to know each other before they fall in love. You’re never going to see “insta-love” in any of my books. Insta-lust, for sure. But love takes time, and I want to reflect that on the page.

9.Do you have a favourite Beauty and the Beast version (other than your own)?

There’s an old black-and-white subtitled version called La Belle et la bete that I used to watch when I babysat for an old neighbor (they had an old VHS tape), and I absolutely loved it.  I would look forward to babysitting just because they had that version.

10.What advice do you have for budding writers?

Read as much as you can, including manuscripts for other aspiring authors. Nothing helped train me for spotting ways to fix my own manuscript like reading for others.

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