Meet the Newbies: Brittany Cavallaro

Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts! Check out the full Meet the Newbies lineup here.

Brittany's debut, A Study in Charlotte, is such a fascinating retelling of Sherlock Holmes! I love the idea of this story surrounding Holmes and Watson's descendants. I flew through this book, and I can't wait for the next one. The mysteries are creepy, and the book is totally unpredictable. This is definitely a favorite 2016 release of mine!

Author Most Likely To Be Dancing To Taylor Swift In Her Car
Cavallaro_1.jpgNickname: Bri
First Day of School: March 1, 2016
Homeroom: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins
Grade: YA
Extracurricular Activities:Lit Mag, Glee Club, That Weird Dinner Club Where We Cooked In Our Dorm's Basement Kitchen And Ate It On A Ping-Pong Table
Favorite Class: Detective Fiction (I've actually taught it!)
Favorite Quote/Motto: "Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does." -Jonathan Safran Foer


1. Describe your book in five words.
Sherlockian redux at boarding school.

2. I absolutely loved A Study in Charlotte and its ties to Sherlock Holmes. Why did you decide to do a Sherlock retelling? Why do you like Sherlock Holmes so much?
I really wanted to create a version of the Great Detective who was a teenage girl. I love the character of Holmes so much, and I wanted to see all of his genius mapped on to a girl character who was him but wasn't, who had strengths and vulnerabilities that he didn't. (Plus I wanted to give her a boy best friend.)

I think I love Holmes so much because he's an island unto himself, someone who claims to not need the company of people but who is, nonetheless, one half of one of the most famous, interesting friendships in literature. We all want to be the genius, we know we can't--but it's not too hard to imagine yourself as the genius's best friend. Or maybe that's just me. I'm a Watson in a big way, and I love a good Holmes story.

3. What is your favorite Sherlock Holmes adaptation?
By far and away the Granada series from the 80s, starring Jeremy Brett as the Holmes I imagined in my head, somehow made real. He is tremendous, and will break your heart. The series used to be up on Netflix, but I think you can still find full episodes on YouTube. I'd start with "A Scandal in Bohemia," their take on the Irene Adler story (and by far and away the most accurate and lovely imagining of it).

4. I love the idea of re-imagining Sherlock Holmes by telling a story through Watson and Holmes’s descendants. How did you come up with the idea of A Study in Charlotte? What types of research did you do?
I knew I wanted to tell a feminist Holmes story set at a boarding school. I love boarding schools; I attended one, and somehow still that didn't kill my love for reading novels set on campuses. As for research, I actually have most of the Holmes stories swimming around in my head! I made sure to check my facts after I wrote a scene, but the texts I spent the most time with were Leslie Klinger's New Annotated Sherlock Holmes and William S. Baring-Gould's fantastic 'biography' of Holmes, Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street.

5. The cover for A Study in Charlotte is simply stunning. Did you have any say in what went on the cover? What was your reaction when first viewing the cover?
Isn't it incredible? I love it so much--I was so happy and surprised and impressed. I'm not a very visual person, so I just told them the two things I knew I didn't want on the cover--photo-realistic boys & girls, or giant symbols. I've seen a lot of covers that use those elements well, but I didn't think either of those would feel right for the Charlotte Holmes novels.

6. Charlotte Holmes is so similar to Sherlock Holmes in mannerisms, thought process, and many other ways. How did you tap into such a complex character and develop her character so well?
In a lot of ways, I think it comes down to dialogue. I tend to 'hear' a character before I know anything else about them, and I've had my own sense of the Sherlock Holmes speaking voice since I was a little girl. Charlotte isn't him, exactly--she messes up much more, she's more vulnerable and emotional and less selfless--but she's my loving homage.

7. What can we expect from book 2 in this series? Anything you can tell us? (I am SO desperate for this one…)
Oooh! Okay, I'll play. Europe, art forgeries, winter break, Leander Holmes, and a certain boy wonder Moriarty.

8. Finally, which other 2016 debuts have you read and loved?

So many! I've been really lucky to be on some Sweet Sixteens ARC tours this year. Recent favorites are Anna Breslaw's SCARLETT EPSTEIN HATES IT HERE, which is snarky, hilarious, fangirl perfection, and Jeff Zentner's THE SERPENT KING, about small towns, pariahs, and found family

Five Favorites:

Favorite actress? Emma Thompson
Favorite hobby? Crocheting
Favorite holiday? New Year's Eve
Favorite season? Autumn
Favorite movie? The last great one I saw was Crimson Peak!

About the Book:

A%2BStudy%2Bin%2BCharlotte.jpgThe last thing Jamie 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 great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy.

Book Buy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

About the Author:

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. Find her at her website,, or on Twitter @skippingstones.

Social Media Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr


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Have you read this book? Which are your favorite Sherlock adaptations?


  1. Great interview. I haven't read the original Sherlock, but I do enjoy watching the BBC version. I'd like to start the series, but I will be waiting until the other books have released because that's my new rule for myself. Otherwise I forgot what happened or lose interest, but either way it's not good. For the giveaway and 'follow a debut author' entry, it says extra points for following a debut author every day, but it's not an option to 'do this tomorrow for more entries'? Is that an error or just a personal achievement to try and unlock? ;) Thanks for hosting this event. I love reading debut authors, so I appreciate all the work you've put into it!

  2. I LOVE adaptations of Holmes and Watson, so when I heard about this book I knew I needed to have it. My favorite mystery is pretty much anything by Stephen King.

  3. A girl Sherlock sounds divine. Use to love to read Trixie Beldon mysteries as a chilld.

  4. I haven't read a lot of mystery novels, so I don't have a favorite. Since I haven't read a lot of books like this one is why I'd like to win.

  5. A new era Sherlock Holmes. I can't wait!

  6. I love anything to do with Holmes and Watson. I would love to read this take on the duo mystery solvers.

  7. Lovely interview, I really enjoyed A Study in Charlotte. I really like the cover, too!
    Great post (:

  8. This book sounds really interesting!

  9. I've already read A Study in Charlotte and absolutely love love loved it! Thanks for the giveaway though!

  10. This sounds like fun! I'm a sucker for Holmes retellings/reworkings, and it also fits into my Reading New England Challenge this year, which is a nice bonus. Plus I love boarding school novels, so basically I have to read it. Some other favorite mysteries...Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers, Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey, Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  11. O....this has been on my TBR list since I've heard about it! The mystery and the fact I've read that it's for fans of Sherlock Holmes...gotta try it! Why I love mystery? Because it's mystery! Tons of what ifs and clues and suspense! Awesome. Thanks! Annie JC


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