Some videos of Rick Riordan speaking on his The Mark of Athena book tour have come online! Check out what he talked about below.
The videos are a little shaky, so we’ve rounded up the most important parts to report to you. These are from his talk at Temple Judea in Miami, Florida.
He begins by talking about how and why he started writing about Percy Jackson. It came as a conglomerate of thoughts surrounding stories his own grandfather used to tell him, his son’s ADHD, and Greek mythology. When he says, “Okay, well, one day there was this boy named Percy Jackson,” the room explodes and for just a second you forget that this is a novelist speaking, and not a rock star.
His son then encouraged him to write the story down. Riordan was already pretty busy, but he agreed that he’d give it a shot – doubting that anyone would really like it. Once he had The Lightning Thief written out, he passed it onto his sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, where he says that even though he’s sent manuscripts to New York, “I was more nervous having my own students read this book.”
His students loved the book and had some great ideas – some of which actually made it into the book! One student said, “Okay, he’s got his magic pen. But what happens if he loses it? Because that happens in middle school.” “Oh, yeah. That’s a good point,” Riordan replies. He even says that the original title was Son of the Sea God, but one girl said that he gave away who Percy’s father was too soon. Riordan ended up changing it on the advice of his student.
Riordan even says that he used a fake name when he sent the manuscript out to agents, because he was embarrassed! He didn’t think anyone would be interested in it, but said, “almost immediately seven different publishers wanted to publish it.”
There seems to be a small gap in time between the first and second video. Now Riordan is introducing his son Haley and telling the audience that Haley had been interested in writing his own short story that took place in the Percy Jackson world. We don’t get to hear what he says, but Haley seemed enthusiastic and the audience loved him right from the get-go.
In the third video, Riordan starts off by talking about the cover to The Mark of Athena. He also says he loves this book because all seven demigods of the prophecy are finally together in one place. He also mentions that this is very much Annabeth’s story – much to the audience’s delight. You can read our review of The Mark of Athena right here.
Then Riordan says, “You may have heard rumors. It is true. Next up, I’m going Norse.” He starts saying names like Odin, Thor, and Loki, while the audience continues to cheer. He also says that it’s not because of Thor or The Avengers, although he did enjoy those movies.
He even says it’s not because of the comic books, although he grew up reading them. Instead, “It’s really about, for me, going back to the very beginning. Like I told you guys, I really cut my teeth as a reader on The Lord of the Rings and Norse mythology. So this is like going back to the very beginning of mythology.” He even says that Norse mythology is his favorite out of all the sets of stories – even more than the Greek.
Because it’s so early on, he can’t really tell us much. He says that it will be the Norse gods in the modern world, like his other three series. The Norse also had a similar concept of demigods. Even though he’s pretty mum on the details, we’ve had a few ideas of our own.
Are you looking forward to Riordan’s next series?
Photo Credit: ContactMusic