I attended both of the NYC stops on Rick Riordan’s The Blood of Olympus Book Tour.
Rick Riordan and Apple Store moderator Maria Russo (New York Times Children’s book editor).
The first was on October 10th at the main branch of the New York Public Library. The second was at the SoHo Apple Store on Saturday. I held back on my post NYCC report in order to write a more comprehensive article. Here’s the most important spoiler free topics discussed at both events fans need to know:
1) Advice to Young Writers: Riordan’s first novel, an adult murder mystery, was rejected 14 times before the manuscript was published. Giving up wasn’t an option. He also advises aspiring writers to keep a journal for exercising the imagination every day.
2) Heroes of Olympus and Diversity: I asked Riordan about how the Heroes of Olympus became a advocate in the movement for character diversity in YA and Middle Grade fiction. He did not start out with that intention but over time the readers used the series in diversity discussions. As a former middle school teacher he learned from his diverse student body as much as his research.
3) The Imaginary Classroom: Although the middle schoolers who read The Lightning Thief in 2005 are now adults, the target audience remains the same. Riordan taught middle schoolers for 15 years and he keeps an imaginary classroom in his head as he works. He didn’t expect younger children or adults who are not parents to enjoy the Percy Jackson series, but those who enjoy are free to read.
4) Percy Takes The Backseat: The Blood of Olympus has no Percy or Annabeth point of view chapters. Readers tend to focus in on them and ignore the rest of the demigod team. In addition, Percy’s fatal flaw of sacrificing the world to save a friend would hinder the grand finale. The Blood of Olympus shifts the focus away from Percy and gives Jason, Leo, Piper, Nico and Reyna point of view chapters.
5) No Epilogue At The End: ”I just hate them. They’re lazy and a disservice to the reader,” Riordan said. He prefers endings where there’s a room for a return to previous ideas. In term, endings that aren’t firm allow readers to envision their own versions of the far future for their favorite stories.
6) Ending Emotions: Riordan compared his emotions over ending the Percy Jackson series to how a parent feels at high school graduation. It’s sad to see the end of an era but it’s also exciting to start working on new projects.
7) What’s Next: Riordan is working on three new works. His next series Magnus Chase & The Gods of Asgard will take on Norse mythology. For those who spotted the coincidence in the title, it is a purposeful one. Percy will be back next summer to deliver his snarky take on Hercules and other legendary heroes in Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes. There is also going to be another Kane Chronicles/Percy Jackson crossover short story The Crown of Ptolemy.