Spotlight on Rick Riordan – Comic-con 2010

Unfortunately I had to duck out of this panel about 15 minutes early to hustle to another one, but from the start I could tell Rick Riordan is one of the good guys. He’s so genuinely nice you can’t help but be glad for his success.

Rick started off talking about his influences: “When I was young I tried to write fantasy and everything I wrote came out like Lord of the Rings.” Lord of the Rings was the first series Rick ever read that made him realize reading could be fun. From there he read Greek and Norse mythology, Ursula K. Le Guin, C.S. Lewis, Dashiell Hamett, and Raymond Chandler. To name a few.

Rick started off his career writing adult mysteries:”One time I was writing a mystery novel and who did it changed three times.” The Percy series did inherit from Rick’s time in the mystery genre, he thinks, in the clues and the mystery to be solved. Percy Jackson actually began as a bedtime story Rick told his son.

Tyson the cyclopes is probably his favorite character.

He didn’t figure out Rachel Elizabeth Dare was the oracle until he was well into the last book.

The idea for the Kane Chronicles actually came from a reader – when Rick he was touring for Percy Jackson, a reader asked if Rick would write about another mythology. The seed was planted. Rick knew from working as a teacher, the only thing that came close to the enthusiasm for the Greek myths was Egypt. Mummies. Tombs. Pyramids.

One time Rick was asked if he got the idea for Percy from Harry Potter. For Rick, it was an earlier influence – Hercules, the ultimate archetype of a hero who discovers his abilities and has to be trained.

The next series in the Percy Jackson world is The Heroes of Olympus – the first book, The Lost Hero, comes out October 12 and it deals with the prophecy from the end of The Last Olympian. It has a new set of demigods, but you’re going to see Percy and all the old characters too. (For where to find a sneek peak of The Lost Hero, go here.)

Will we ever see Percy and the Kanes in the same series? Maybe, someday, after Rick has written everything else…

Norse mythology is Rick’s other favorite mythology but it’s going to be a long time before he can even think about doing it – three books total for the Kane Chronicles, five for the The Heroes of Olympus. (Author Michael Scott, who was moderating, sighed with relief at this news. Michael wanted to do the Norse myths too, and he joked that if Rick got there first, Michael would never be able to do it.)

Coming up next in Kane #2 – globe trotting, as most of the book doesn’t happen in the States. Carter gets a new pet, Sadie, will see Anubis again, and we’ll find out what’s happening with Apophis

When asked for his advice to aspiring writers, Rick said he has a section on his website, all about helping new writers (you can find it here), but mostly, read a lot, write a lot, and don’t give up.

A little boy got up to ask Rick if he would like to have the powers of Zeus. Rick replied: “Would I like to have the powers of Zeus? Well I wouldn’t turn them down…”