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June 28, 2017

The Austin Launch of Cora Cormack’s ROAR --- Guest Post by Teen Board Member Pranshu A.


Have you ever dreamed of meeting one of your favorite authors IRL? Here at Teenreads, we're always on the hunt for book launches, author signings and bookish conventions where we can meet our favorite authors, get signed books and learn more about some of our favorite stories. This month, Teen Board Member Pranshu A. was able to attend the Austin, Texas, book launch event for Cora Carmack's ROAR, a debut fantasy where the land is ruled and shaped by violent magical storms --- and the power lies with those who control them. In this post, Pranshu shares all the details about her experience and how it became a dream come true.

Picture this: a young Pranshu (maybe 12- or 13-years old) lying upside down on her bed reading the latest installment in a favorite series. She finishes the book and is bursting with things to talk about: the way the ending came out of nowhere, the cliffhanger, the way the two main characters are blind to each other’s feelings...but there's really no one to talk to. Her parents are too busy with work, her brother plays games too much to read, and she really has no friends to talk to. So she starts just talking about it in her room, pretending like she has a huge audience that listens to her thoughts about the books she reads. This game eventually grows into a dream; a dream where Pranshu reviews books for a living and goes to book events as she gets older, meeting authors, getting books signed, and getting to know the people behind the wonderful stories.

On Saturday, June 24th, 2017, teenage Pranshu fulfilled her dream by heading to BookPeople in Austin, Texas, to attend the book launch for Cora Carmack’s ROAR.

Talking about yourself in 3rd person is fun...but a little strange. Let's switch to 1st person, shall we?

First thing about the book launch: the venue. I used to live in a rather small town before I moved to the huge city of Austin. To be honest, I never realized it was a small town because I had nothing else to compare it to, but the only bookstore in my town was a single-story Barnes and Noble. BookPeople, however, was so much different. For one, it was two stories! I don't know why that excited me so much, but it was awesome to know that a bookstore near me was big enough to contain two floors of books. I even had to ask for directions to the signing, which would have never happened in my little Barnes and Noble.

I went upstairs to where the event was happening. There was a little mingling session where people could just mill around and talk. There were a few conversations around me that were all centered around books, which was really nice! After that, everyone took their seats and Cora asked what the audience would like to hear from her. It was a pretty unanimous decision that we wanted to hear her read from the book.

I don't think I have ever heard an author read from their own book before. I'm not the biggest fan of audiobooks either so I really have had no chance to hear an author read their own book. Because I had the opportunity to read the book beforehand, I had already read the section of the book she read. I loved this part of the event! It was awesome hearing Cora do all the different voices of the different characters. I don't often give specific voices to each character in the novel but it was a joy hearing Cora do so.

Next was the Q&A section. The coolest thing about this was that whoever asked a question would receive a necklace that was meant to look like a type of necklace that many characters in the book wore. Although I already had some questions in mind, this made me doubly excited to ask my questions. The Q&A portion of the evening was awesome as it allowed the audience to get to know the person behind the book a bit better. Her journey with this book, ROAR, was incredible. Although she has written multiple romance books, she had always wanted to write a YA fantasy novel. She sold a three book series to her publisher before she got the idea for ROAR. Her interest in weather and storms led her to the idea for this book and when she asked if she could pursue ROAR instead of the original three book series, the answer was yes! 

It was also interesting to hear about how much research went into the writing of this book. Cora talked about how she had to spend a long time researching how people reacted to storms before technology. You wouldn't normally think a fantasy novel would require much research because it is set in a world completely different than the one we know, but it did!

Cora also revealed that she is currently working on the second book in the series, which is good because the cliffhanger in ROAR has been plaguing me since I finished the book. She expressed interest in potentially pursuing a story that would give more voice to one of the minor characters. She also said she would like to work on a story mentioned in the book (the main character's favorite book). It was exciting to hear about all the exciting new things that Cora has coming up. Readers can expect the second book in the series in the coming year.

After the Q&A was the signing portion! I was a little nervous for this part because I have never been to a signing before --- but it was absolutely wonderful! Cora made sure to talk to every person in line and be engaged in the conversation. It wasn't just a quick sign and go; she talked to each person and asked them questions about themselves (which made me feel very special).

All in all, this was an amazing experience. While I don't think the career I dreamed of as a kid is in my future, I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend this event and live a little bit of what used to be my dream life. I hope I'll get to attend many more!