I love all things Sherlock…well, all Sherlock things that involve RDJ and Benedict Cumberbatch. That counts, right? So when I saw the synopsis for A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro, I was super excited to read it.
Before we get to Brittany’s interview, let’s check out the book.
The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.
Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.
Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense.
Sounds good, right?
1. Please give the elevator pitch for A Study in Charlotte.
Charlotte and Jamie, the descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, have to work together to clear their names after they’re framed for murder at their boarding school.
2. Where did the idea come from?
I’m an old school Sherlockian—I love the original novels and stories so much, and have always wanted to write my own retelling of the original stories set in modern times. It was really important to me to have the genius character, the Holmes, be a girl; it’s something I haven’t often seen in adaptations, and I wanted to see what the ramifications of that decision would be.
3. Why do you love Charlotte and Jamie and why should we root for them?
Charlotte is prickly and difficult and brilliant, much in the same way that Sherlock Holmes is, though she has vulnerabilities that he doesn’t have (or show). She’s made some really bad decisions and had some awful things happen to her, and she’s trying to figure out what her life looks like in their wake. Jamie is a daydreamer with a lot of built-up resentment toward his father. A lot of resentment in general, actually, but he’s also a boy with a heart of gold who’s looking for a friend. And Charlotte might not now it, but she’s looking for a friend, too.
4. What was the weirdest thing you googled while doing research?
How to get snake bloodstains out of linen. I’m sure I’m on some watchlist somewhere.
5. Without spoilers, what was your favorite scene to write?
Probably the initial scene in Charlotte Holmes’s lab. I loved describing it; it’s full of Easter eggs for the original stories!
6. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.
I was in my office on campus (I was teaching undergrads at the time), and I got the call from my agent right before I had to go teach a class. I kept saying, you’re kidding, and standing up and sitting down. I think I made myself dizzy.
7. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?
Possession, by A.S. Byatt – it’s everything, a love story, a satire, a beautifully written novel with letters and poems and characters in the past and in the present. Just wonderful.
8. What is one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?
Your email inbox will develop depths you can’t even imagine. I spend several hours most mornings trawling its depths, trying to get back to everyone!
Brittany Cavallaro is a poet, fiction writer, and old school Sherlockian. She is the author of the poetry collection Girl-King (University of Akron) and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She earned her BA in literature from Middlebury College and her MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Currently, she’s a PhD candidate in English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she teaches creative writing, detective fiction, and lots of other things. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, cat, and collection of deerstalker caps
Huge thanks to FFBC tours for the invite and to Brittany for taking the time. Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, and adding her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf.
Make sure you visit the other tour stops for all sorts of awesome things. And keep scrolling for a giveaway!