Young adult novelist Caragh O’Brien launches finale of book trilogy
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 22:10
Novelist Caragh O’Brien launched her final installment of the “Birthmarked” Trilogy at the Co-op on Tuesday and announced her signing for another trilogy.
O’Brien was a high school teacher at Tolland High School before becoming a full time writer. She earned her MA at Johns Hopkins University and since then has published romance novels and is an award winning novelist for teens. Both books in the Birthmarked series were named Best Fiction for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association.
Following “Birthmarked” and “Prized,” O’Brien’s latest novel is titled “Promised” and continues the story of Gaia Stone. Set in a world destroyed by climate change, the dystopian novel takes places a year after the second installment of the series. In this book, Stone becomes fiercer and faces more difficult challenges.
O’Brien read the first chapter of her new book to fans in the Co-op and handed out red bracelets that had the words “ORANGE” and “Promised”, which she said would hold significance to those who planned on reading the new book. After the reading, she answered a few questions asked by the audience.
She shared how she never checks for typos toward the end of the novel because she always received emails from readers that point out mistakes. She saves those emails and later fixes the mistakes for the 2nd printing of the book. She also described how she faced interesting challenges in writing the third book because she had to decide on which characters to keep and develop. Adding to this, she explained how she had to kill off main characters rather than side characters for resonance. Even though the novels are intended for youth, O’Brien claimed the right to kill off whatever characters she chose.
“It’s the fascination, it’s creating a world with characters I love,” O’Brien said. “I’m so immersed in the world of what is it, I’m just there… It’s like this world just disappeared.”
When asked if she was sad about the ending of the trilogy, O’Brien said, “I’m not sad about it because I know I have to write something else.” She then announced that she was working on a new project and had already signed a three book deal which would keep her busy for a few more years.
A fan of O’Brien, 7th semester English major Kathryn Croteau remembered first picking up “Birthmarked” at the Co-op years ago. She enjoys the dystopian element of O’Brien’s novels and plans to use one of O’Brien’s books for an independent study on dystopian literature next semester.
“I really like the dystopian thread without being depressing,” Croteau said. “It shows people what we’re capable of, whether good or bad, and how humans can react to extreme situations.”
Croteau spoke about the different messages and themes she found in the novels, including those of government corruption, post-apocalyptic scenarios, and trickledown economics.
O’Brien brought homemade cupcakes to share with the audience and stayed after the book launch to sign books and speak to her fans.