Icarus here! As most of you know, my person and I are huge readers! Reading is one of the greatest joys we have, and we love to hear about new books, especially when they’re about mythology. One of our favorite authors is Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, and when he did an imprint (which is basically where he finds other great authors that deal with mythology and folklore and bring them out into the public), we were both thrilled.
Albuquerque’s a pretty isolated place, so we don’t get as many big-name authors as we’d like, so when my person saw that J.C. Cervantes, author of the new book The Storm Runner, was coming to Bookworks, we both were jumping for joy.
Fast-forward to two days ago, the 18th of September. We showed up a little early at Bookworks, which is on Rio Grande Boulevard (for those of your who haven’t been there. You really should. It’s an awesome local bookstore!). After finding a place to park, we purchased our copy of The Storm Runner and eagerly awaited Mrs. Cervantes arrival. It didn’t take long. She had agreed to do a Q & A (question and answer) session first, then go into the actual book signing. We learned some really interesting stuff about her, where she lives, and the Maya (fun fact: it’s not “Mayan”, like most of us are taught. “Mayan” refers to the many different languages of the Maya people. Maya is both singular and plural. It’s Maya mythology, Maya people, Maya culture. How cool is that?)
So here are some interesting things we learned about Mrs. Cervantes:
-Writing came later in her life. Unlike most writers, who say that they’ve always wanted to be a writer, Mrs. Cervantes didn’t. She was a ferocious reader, but she didn’t write her first story until her daughter asked her to. It was a story about her daughter’s bear. I thought that was sweet, since, you know, this is a blog about my person’s horses.
-She did extensive research for her new book, The Storm Runner. In addition to reading as many “actual” Maya stories as she could find (we say “actual” because, thanks to the Spanish conquest, most Maya stories have been reinterpreted and are not the original), she also watched a lot of documentaries and spoke with experts to make sure her book was authentic (which is a big word for accurate or true).
-She was inspired by the dormant volcanoes near where she lives, in Las Cruces. It started with what would happen if there was something in the volcanoes, and what would happen to a boy living on the Mesa, and it went from there.
-The main character of her book, Zane, is Hispanic and disabled. One of his legs is shorter than the other. (I really loved this, since one of my ankles is permanently twisted. I thought it was a great thing for other kids to relate to).
-The Maya pantheon is the only mythology pantheon that includes a goddess of chocolate (since the Maya gave the world chocolate). Her name is Ixcacao or Ixkakaw (this is how Mrs. Cervantes has it; we found Ixcacao when we named my friend that. Turns out our version is a more modern interpretation of the name). It’s pronounced EE-SH-CA-COW.
Of course, some of the younger audience wanted to know if she’d met Rick Riordan, which she had. In fact, when she was called by Disney to be part of the Rick Riordan Presents Imprint, her daughter asked if she could meet Rick Riordan before congratulating her mom. Mrs. Cervantes says Rick Riordan is really nice.
When the Q & A was done, my person took Ixcacao and I up to meet Mrs. Cervantes. She was wonderful and really open to meeting us (we get some interesting looks, being only 3 inches tall). She even signed my person’s book for her!
We’ve started reading The Storm Runner, and so far we’re hooked! I’m really looking forward to reading this novel and its sequels!