Rick Riordan's Blog
June 26, 2017
I was honored to attend the Stonewall Award ceremony today at the American Library Association meeting in Chicago. Magnus Chase 2: The Hammer of Thor, won the children’s book award for “exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience” because of the character of Alex Fierro. I had such a great time meeting young folks, librarians and other award-winning and honor-winning authors!
If you would like to read my acceptance speech, it is below:
Thank you for inviting me here today. As I told the Stonewall Award Committee, this is an honor both humbling and unexpected.
So, what is an old cis straight white male doing up here? Where did I get the nerve to write Alex Fierro, a transgender, gender fluid child of Loki in The Hammer of Thor, and why should I get cookies for that?
These are all fair and valid questions, which I have been asking myself a lot.
I think, to support young LGBTQ readers, the most important thing publishing can do is to publish and promote more stories by LGBTQ authors, authentic experiences by authentic voices. We have to keep pushing for this. The Stonewall committee’s work is a critical part of that effort. I can only accept the Stonewall Award in the sense that I accept a call to action – firstly, to do more myself to read and promote books by LGBTQ authors.
But also, it’s a call to do better in my own writing. As one of my genderqueer readers told me recently, “Hey, thanks for Alex. You didn’t do a terrible job!” I thought: Yes! Not doing a terrible job was my goal!
As important as it is to offer authentic voices and empower authors and role models from within LGBTQ community, it’s is also important that LGBTQ kids see themselves reflected and valued in the larger world of mass media, including my books. I know this because my non-heteronormative readers tell me so. They actively lobby to see characters like themselves in my books. They like the universe I’ve created. They want to be part of it. They deserve that opportunity. It’s important that I, as a mainstream author, say, “I see you. You matter. Your life experience may not be like mine, but it is no less valid and no less real. I will do whatever I can to understand and accurately include you in my stories, in my world. I will not erase you.”
People all over the political spectrum often ask me, “Why can’t you just stay silent on these issues? Just don’t include LGBTQ material and everybody will be happy.” This assumes that silence is the natural neutral position. But silence is not neutral. It’s an active choice. Silence is great when you are listening. Silence is not so great when you are using it to ignore or exclude.
But that’s all macro, ‘big picture’ stuff. Yes, I think the principles are important. Yes, in the abstract, I feel an obligation to write the world as I see it: beautiful because of its variations. Where I can’t draw on personal experience, I listen, I read a lot – in particular I want to credit Beyond Magenta and Gender Outlaws for helping me understand more about the perspective of my character Alex Fierro – and I trust that much of the human experience is universal. You can’t go too far wrong if you use empathy as your lens. But the reason I wrote Alex Fierro, or Nico di Angelo, or any of my characters, is much more personal.
I was a teacher for many years, in public and private school, California and Texas. During those years, I taught all kinds of kids. I want them all to know that I see them. They matter. I write characters to honor my students, and to make up for what I wished I could have done for them in the classroom.
I think about my former student Adrian (a pseudonym), back in the 90s in San Francisco. Adrian used the pronouns he and him, so I will call him that, but I suspect Adrian might have had more freedom and more options as to how he self-identified in school were he growing up today. His peers, his teachers, his family all understood that Adrian was female, despite his birth designation. Since kindergarten, he had self-selected to be among the girls – socially, athletically, academically. He was one of our girls. And although he got support and acceptance at the school, I don’t know that I helped him as much as I could, or that I tried to understand his needs and his journey. At that time in my life, I didn’t have the experience, the vocabulary, or frankly the emotional capacity to have that conversation. When we broke into social skills groups, for instance, boys apart from girls, he came into my group with the boys, I think because he felt it was required, but I feel like I missed the opportunity to sit with him and ask him what he wanted. And to assure him it was okay, whichever choice he made. I learned more from Adrian than I taught him. Twenty years later, Alex Fierro is for Adrian.
I think about Jane (pseudonym), another one of my students who was a straight cis-female with two fantastic moms. Again, for LGBTQ families, San Francisco was a pretty good place to live in the 90s, but as we know, prejudice has no geographical border. You cannot build a wall high enough to keep it out. I know Jane got flack about her family. I did what I could to support her, but I don’t think I did enough. I remember the day Jane’s drama class was happening in my classroom. The teacher was new – our first African American male teacher, which we were all really excited about – and this was only his third week. I was sitting at my desk, grading papers, while the teacher did a free association exercise. One of his examples was ‘fruit – gay.’ I think he did it because he thought it would be funny to middle schoolers. After the class, I asked to see the teacher one on one. I asked him to be aware of what he was saying and how that might be hurtful. I know. Me, a white guy, lecturing this Black teacher about hurtful words. He got defensive and quit, because he said he could not promise to not use that language again. At the time, I felt like I needed to do something, to stand up especially for Jane and her family. But did I make things better handling it as I did? I think I missed an opportunity to open a dialogue about how different people experience hurtful labels. Emmie and Josephine and their daughter Georgina, the family I introduce in The Dark Prophecy, are for Jane.
I think about Amy, and Mark, and Nicholas . . . All former students who have come out as gay since I taught them in middle school. All have gone on to have successful careers and happy families. When I taught them, I knew they were different. Their struggles were greater, their perspectives more divergent than some of my other students. I tried to provide a safe space for them, to model respect, but in retrospect I don’t think I supported them as well as I could have, or reached out as much as they might have needed. I was too busy preparing lessons on Shakespeare or adjectives, and not focusing enough on my students’ emotional health. Adjectives were a lot easier for me to reconcile than feelings. Would they have felt comfortable coming out earlier than college or high school if they had found more support in middle school? Would they have wanted to? I don’t know. But I don’t think they felt it was a safe option, which leaves me thinking that I did not do enough for them at that critical middle school time. I do not want any kid to feel alone, invisible, misunderstood. Nico di Angelo is for Amy, and Mark and Nicholas.
I am trying to do more. Percy Jackson started as a way to empower kids, in particular my son, who had learning differences. As my platform grew, I felt obliged to use it to empower all kids who are struggling through middle school for whatever reason. I don’t always do enough. I don’t always get it right. Good intentions are wonderful things, but at the end of a manuscript, the text has to stand on its own. What I meant ceases to matter. Kids just see what I wrote. But I have to keep trying. My kids are counting on me.
So thank you, above all, to my former students who taught me. Alex Fierro is for you.
To you, I pledge myself to do better – to apologize when I screw up, to learn from my mistakes, to be there for LGBTQ youth and make sure they know that in my books, they are included. They matter. I am going to stop talking now, but I promise you I won’t stop listening.
June 19, 2017
I am pleased to announce my tour dates for Magnus Chase 3: The Ship of the Dead, which comes out in October. If I’m coming to a city near you, I hope to see you!
This tour marks my first ever public events in the Tampa, FL area, Wichita, KS, Milwaukee, WI, and Rochester, NY. The other stops are all places I haven’t been in a long time: Washington, D.C., Raleigh, NC, New Orleans, LA, and Portland, OR!
I will post more details as I have them. Check with the sponsoring library or bookstore of your local event for full information.
Tuesday 10/3/17 – Washington, DC – Library of Congress Young Reader’s Center
Library of Congress Young Reader’s Center
Thomas Jefferson Bldg.
10 First Street So
Wednesday 10/4/17 – Raleigh, NC – Quail Ridge Books
Quail Ridge Books & Music
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road
Raleigh, NC 27609
Thursday 10/5/17 – Brandon, FL (Tampa) – Books-A-Million
839 Brandon Town Center Drive
Brandon, FL 33511
Friday 10/6/17 – New Orleans, LA – Octavia Books
513 Octavia Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
Saturday 10/7/17 – Wichita, KS – Watermark Books & Cafe
Watermark Books & Café
4701 E. Douglas Avenue
Wichita, KS 67218
Sunday 10/8/17 – Milwaukee, WI – Boswell Book Company
Boswell Book Company
2559 N. Downer Avenue
Milwaukee WI 53211
Monday 10/9/17 – Clackamas, OR (Portland) – Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble #2262
12000 SE 82nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97266
Wednesday 10/11/17 – Fairport, NY (Rochester) – Fairport Public Library
Fairport Public Library
1 Fairport Village Landing
Fairport, New York 14450
June 16, 2017
I am a very lucky guy. Not only do I love my job, but I get to take cool vacations from time to time and explore new places, which often end up in my books later! Travel is a great way to recharge my creative batteries while spending time with the family.
Last year, I was working on my Apollo series while vacationing in Norway. This year, while working on my Norse series, I flipped things around and headed with my family to the Mediterranean. When you read Magnus Chase 3: The Ship of the Dead, it will have been revised in a combination of wonderful cities we visited: Paris, Nice, Monte Carlo, Pisa, Sorrento, and Barcelona.
Want a peek at the cool stuff we did and saw? Read on!
We started our journey in Paris, teleporting into the Fourteenth Nome via the Egyptian obelisk in the Place de la Concorde. You can see the top lit up pretty brightly from all that magic power! (Um . . . actually we just flew to Paris. There is no such thing as magic. And that would bypass customs, which we would never do. Ahem. Moving on.)
Once there, our friends in the Fourteenth Nome gave us a tour of the Egyptian artifacts in the Louvre.
Our old friend Horus said hello.
And Bast, of course!
Khufu the baboon was sad we forgot to bring Cheerios for him.
We found a new (very old) khopesh for Carter Kane.
And an impressive collection of Ancient Egyptian ping pong paddles! (Okay, actually they were mirrors.)
Here is a scene from that famous Egyptian children’s book Make Way For Ibises.
A collection of Egyptian dice! Here we have just enough to roll 8d6 to generate the effects of a fireball spell. The pharaohs were huge D&D gamers.
Their collection of ancient Monopoly tokens was also amazing! Would you like to be the djed, the wadjet, or the shoe?
Here is an entire family of Hathors.
And of course, our popular friend Bes, the god of dwarves, was everywhere. You decide: Which Bes wore it best?
The Louvre is an amazing place, but it is HUGE. Just the Egyptian collection went on forever and took us an entire afternoon. The museum was built up over the centuries, various palaces connected to one another, each room more ornate than the last. Even without any of the displays, it is jaw-dropping. You can certainly imagine how a secret school for magicians could be hidden in the complex . . . er, not that there is one, of course.
This was our first time in Paris. Being a contrarian, I went in with the attitude that if so many people gushed about the city, it must be overrated. Well, I was wrong. It really is as beautiful and enchanting as people say. As the kids said, Paris has stunning architecture the way Norway has waterfalls — they’re everywhere.
Here is your obligatory photo of the Arc de Triomphe, which stands in the middle of the world’s busiest traffic circle. (Traffic not pictured.)
One of our favorite places was the garden courtyard in the Palais Royal. Beautiful roses, fountains, cafes. And that sunset wasn’t bad, either.
Our hotel room had a terrace, so this was my view while I wrote for a view days. Pity me.
And at sunset. Seriously, it was tough trying to work in these conditions.
Every evening, the Eiffel Tower put on a light show for us, which we could see from said terrace.
While in Paris, we ate all the things, including enough soufflés to inflate a zeppelin blimp. (Which was kind of how we felt at the end of the trip.)
We visited lots of museums. Here is Patrick in front of Monet’s Water Lillies at L’Orangerie. This is as close as you may ever get to seeing Patrick’s face.
And here is me saying, “Hey, look, I found a thing.”
And I just so happened to see this fabulous window display at WHSmith for The Dark Prophecy:
The art at the D’Orsay Museum was really impressive. Check out our favorite finds:
That is high culture right there!
Becky and I also took a morning walk down to Notre Dame Cathedral, which is beautiful from any angle but a lot quieter and more interesting from the back:
We had breakfast and looked around the famous English-language bookstore Shakespeare & Company, which reminded me a lot of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. Great place to hang out!
And as always, those Greek & Roman motifs were everywhere.
The pegasi on this bridge were extra shiny!
We even found a satyr stepping on a snake in front of the reptile house at Le Menagerie, the Paris Zoo. Why he was stepping on the snake, I do not know.
The Paris Zoo, by the way, is a great place — small but fun, with beautiful botanical gardens and cool displays.
My favorite were the caracals:
They made us miss our cats at home. Those ears!!
Eventually we made our way back to the Louvre the check out the Greek and Roman exhibits. Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, yes, sure. Those were cool. But I liked a lot of the less high-profile stuff, too.
Like this fashionable gladiator helmet, perfect for a day strolling through the Jardin des Tuileries!
Or this lamp with a frog on top for absolutely no discernible reason!
Not to mention these Roman action figures — lead figurines from tabletop D&D, because Caesar became a massive player once Cleopatra introduced him to the game.
Oh, no, it’s a level eight troll!
I will attack it with my foot-stomping stone giant!
We also found a statue of Artemis:
And Uncle Ferdinand:
The statue below is entitled “Dude, Stop Pulling My Hair.”
And this one is “Boy Strangling a Goose.” No, seriously, that’s the title. Why is the kid strangling a goose? No idea. Maybe it’s Hera in disguise?
Finally, there’s the famous statue of Hermaphroditus, who looks female from the back but male from the front. Even after all these centuries, the art challenges your assumptions about gender!
Finally, having eaten every croissant in the Greater Metropolitan Area and having caught 22+ Mr. Mimes, we bid a tearful goodbye to Paris and waddled our way to Nice to begin a cruise around the Mediterranean.
This is the view of the harbor in Nice:
Nice flag you got there, Nice. Get it?
We sailed to Monaco, a country roughly the size of our old driveway in Texas, though much prettier:
Above was the view from the balcony of our stateroom while we were docked in Monte Carlo. We just missed the Gran Prix by one day, which is probably just as well since the city was nice and quiet!
Haley decided Monaco was his favorite place on the trip. Here he is, declaring, “I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE!”
Our favorite stop was the Aquarium/Oceanography Museum, which sits on top of a huge cliff near the Old City and the prince’s palace.
Inside the impressive mansion, we found OH MY GODS WHAT IS THAT?
Oh, it’s an early diving suit! I’m telling you, if Percy saw that thing underwater, he would attack.
We also found an actual submarine from the American Revolution. I used to teach about “The Turtle,” but I’d never actually seen it in real life!
The kids encouraged me to climb aboard, but I did not want to get arrested in Monaco so I resisted the urge.
At the top of the museum we also met Coco, the local seagull personality who was rescued by a cook at the cafe as a hatchling and has stuck around ever since:
From Monaco, we sailed down the coast of Italy, eating the countryside clean of gelato and pizza like the Goth invaders of old.
First stop, Pisa. (Insert your favorite Pisa/pizza joke here.)
Sometimes, famous buildings are underwhelming when you see them up close, but I have to say, the Leaning Tower is a lot more impressive in person. The whole town of Pisa was very pretty, including this nice statue of Lupa with Romulus and Remus:
They also had some interesting souvenirs. Here are statues of your favorite gods for sale — Hera! Jesus! Zeus!
Wait . . . What?
We moved on to Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, where I got to go diving in the Mediterranean. No pictures, but it was a lot of fun. Also, the Mediterranean is COLD!
We next visited Sorrento, a cliffside resort town across the bay from Naples. That’s our cruise ship parked with Mount Vesuvius in the background. The volcano obligingly did not erupt while we were there. Thanks, Vesuvius!
In Taormina, Sicily, we visited the Greek theater, where they were setting up for a concert. Apollo once played here, back when . . . you know, he was a god. (That sound you hear in the distance is Lester Papadopoulos sobbing.)
From Sicily, we bid farewell to Italy and sailed across the sea to Spain, our first visit there!
We discovered that Barcelona is an AWESOME place. So awesome, that I failed to get any pictures, because I was just walking around going “Whoa” and enjoying the view. I ate paella, and it was good. VENI, VIDI, PAELLA, as I think Julius Caesar once said.
While in Barcelona, I finished my revisions for The Ship of the Dead. Hooray! Then we sailed back to Nice, and back to Paris for a few last days before heading home.
I tell you: Being in all these great places over three weeks gave me a new appreciation for the size of the Roman Empire. We traveled for days, over so many cities and countries, and we never left Roman territory. It also deepened my appreciation for the people of France, Italy and Spain, because they were so welcoming to us. They forgave me my stumbling Italian and Spanish and my even more stumbling French. They fed us well. They made it a wonderful trip. Grazie. Gracias. Merci!
Now I am back home in Boston and diving into my next project, which is of course THE BURNING MAZE. I have lots of inspiration to work with! Look out, Lester. Here we go!
I hope you all have a great summer. And whether you stay home or travel, I hope you find time to read some good books!
May 14, 2017
There are lots of ways to be a great mother, but moms rarely get the credit and appreciation they deserve. They support their children, they nurture them and listen to them, they hold the family together with unconditional love and countless sacrifices. That, at least, is something I have come to understand about my wife Becky in the thirty-six years we’ve been together. She is the strongest, most caring, most resilient and giving person I know, but she is not comfortable being in the limelight. She makes everything possible for me and my two sons. Without her, I would not be who I am. I would not have had a successful career. I would not have two sons of whom I am so incredibly proud. Becky has built this family. Usually, she prefers to be off stage, but I hope for today, at least, she’ll forgive me if I put the spotlight on her, the most important person in my life and the best mom ever.
Thirty-six years being with someone is a long time!
How does a great mom get her start? By being a great young woman.
Becky in 1979, around the first time I ever saw her. I noticed her at the ticket booth for our church’s pancake supper. I knew this was one pancake supper I needed to go to. In case you’re wondering, we are exactly the same age. Like, exactly the same age. Both born June 5, 1964. She is thirty minutes older than me. We wouldn’t find out that until much later.
Becky a year or two later, in high school, about the time we started dating. She was a force in the high school art club. I was a band nerd who composed bad songs on my guitar in my spare time. She friend-zoned me for many months, but finally . . .
We started dating, and went to senior party together (our school was too cool to have a prom.)
I broke up with her a couple of times, which are two of the stupidest things I’ve ever done, but it was a little frightening for a sixteen year-old guy to realize he’d found his soulmate so early in life. I quickly came back to my senses. In college, we were married on our mutual 21st birthday.
Why she wanted to marry this long-haired guy with a cheesy mustache, I’m not sure. Her family wasn’t sure about me. Fortunately, Becky said yes.
Our wedding cake was a birthday cake, of course.
We graduated from UT Austin together, Becky with a degree in fine art, me with a degree in English and history. She supported me while I got my teacher’s certificate and convinced me that I could be a success in the classroom, even when I definitely did not feel like it.
Becky at our house on the West Side of San Antonio, around 1986. Looking beautiful with the 80s hair!
This is one of the first Christmases we celebrated together, way before we had kids.
And this is me and my baby at the Frio River, around the same time.
After I had been teaching in San Antonio and New Braunfels for a couple of years, Becky and I decided to do something brave and move to the San Francisco Bay Area, just because we were ready for new adventures.
On our scouting trip, we visited Golden Gate Park.
We discovered llamas in Sonoma Country.
But we really feel in love with Berkeley and Oakland in the East Bay, and that’s where we ended up moving in 1989. We would live there for most of the 90s.
While I taught middle school, Becky was a blue-collar worker, doing interior landscaping for a plant company in San Francisco. She had always been good with plants, but she became a real pro during those years. Here she is on the job, talking to a robot. Of course we had robots in the 90s!
And then the most life-changing thing happened. We got pregnant. Becky was determined to be a good mom as soon as she found out we would have a kid. She read every book she could get her hand on. We talked about Dr. Sears and attachment parenting. We baby-proofed our little apartment. Becky worked at her job, climbing ladders, hauling plants, and driving a work van around downtown San Francisco, into her third trimester. She was a boss. I was a mess. But somehow, we got through the experience together and decided to name our little boy Haley, which is my mother’s surname, and an Irish boys’ name meaning ‘ingenious.’
It was not an easy pregnancy. I was freaking out the entire time she was in labor, and I wasn’t even the one in pain. Becky, as always, got through it with toughness and calmness. After a long labor and a caesarian, little Haley Michael Riordan joined us. The year was 1994, and we were both 30. We’d already been married for nine years at this point, which was a huge plus. We already had the relationship well underway, and we knew who we were as a couple before we introduced kids into the mix. I’m not saying it was easy. It wasn’t! But Becky was a pro.
Great moms laugh with their kids.
They sleep and cuddle with their kids. Heck, they sleep whenever they can, which is rarely!
They share meals with their kids.
They use cutting-edge technology to keep in touch with the grandparents.
They teach their children that ice cream is really, really good.
They learn to love what their kids love, like choo-choo trains!
They enjoy the great outdoors together.
They somehow look chic, even when they are pushing a stroller.
But they also know when to get comfy.
They share a love of science and learning.
They model wonder and excitement.
And they somehow look amazing while doing it. Haley was not an easy kid. He demanded constant attention and interaction, but Becky was always there for him. She made the tough decision to become a full-time mom, even though we knew it was going to be hard living on a single teacher’s salary. She was adamant, though, that Haley needed her. And she was right.
In 1998, our second son Patrick John Riordan came along, and that was a tough pregnancy for a different reason. Becky got toxic shock from the procedure and almost died. I have never been so terrified. You can’t tell how sick she was feeling in the picture below, but it was bad.
Becky recovered, and Patrick got to discover just what a great mom he had. Soon, we moved back to San Antonio, our hometown, where we could live on a more modest budget and be closer to the kids’ grandparents.
Great moms also support their kids’ choices in headwear.
They throw you super birthday parties with more great headgear and Teletubby cake!
They keep you cool in those hot Texas summers.
They introduce you to the wonderful world of choo-choo trains.
And living history. (Here is Becky with Patrick in Williamsburg, VA.)
Throughout it all, while I was teaching and Becky was being a full-time mom, she supported my efforts to become a writer. She encouraged me to take my first mystery-writing class at UC Berkeley, and she was at my side in New York in 1999 when I won the Edgar Award for my second novel, The Widower’s Two-Step.
When Haley was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia around age seven, she took the lead in getting him testing and support at school and at home. When I told Haley the very first version of Percy Jackson’s story, The Lightning Thief, Becky encouraged me to write it down and gave me the time and space to do it. Without all those field trips she took with the kids — to the zoo, the the countryside, to Target, to the museums, I would not have had the time to write that novel.
And two years later, when I sold the Percy Jackson series to Disney, she was at my side again when my colleagues threw me a going-away party at Saint Mary’s Hall. I had made the terrifying decision to become a full-time writer. Without Becky’s encouragement, I never would have done it.
Even after The Lightning Thief was published, it was a long hard slog before I started seeing success. I spent five years relentlessly promoting the books, travel the US and the UK doing school visits. Finally, it began to pay off, but during those years, Becky was the only thing holding me together and keeping the family on an even keel. Percy Jackson, and all the books that came after it, are not just mine. They are the product of teamwork, Becky and me working together toward a goal. Without her being a super mom, an amazing wife, and a career coach and guide for me, I would not be where I am.
The other thing about being a great mom: You keep being a great mom, no matter how old your kids get. Here’s Becky with Patrick and Haley a couple of years ago in Greece. (You will notice the boys are going through a long-hair phase, just like their dad did!)
The family at the Colosseum in Rome. Patrick is just starting his college career and making straight A’s. Haley just graduated college with a degree in philosophy — this is the kid with ADHD and dyslexia who would cry when he had reading homework in elementary school! What was the secret to his success? A mom who never gave up, always loved him for who he was, and always gave him the support he needed. (Just like she did with me!)
And I swear, Becky just gets more beautiful and wonderful every year, whether she’s in Norway.
Or Las Vegas.
Or New York.
Getting ready to go out on the town with her crazy husband, whom she has stuck by all these years.
So a big thank you to the love of my life, the best mom ever. Becky, Happy Mother’s Day. You continue to amaze and inspire me every day.
Some more pictures for you!
April 26, 2017
I am so excited to announce more details about my new imprint with Disney – Rick Riordan Presents! In 2018, we will be publishing three fantastic books by three wonderful authors, but if you’re a little confused about what this imprint business is all about, read on! I will do my best to explain.
If you missed it, here’s the original announcement from Publishers Weekly about why I decided to make an imprint at Disney.
And here’s the follow-up with Publishers Weekly talking about the three authors who we’ll be featuring in our first year.
Basically, our goal is to publish great books by middle grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage. Over the years, I’ve gotten so many questions from my fans: “Will you ever write about Hindu mythology? What about Native American? What about Chinese?” I saw that there was a lot of interest in reading fantasy adventures based on different world mythologies, but I also knew I wasn’t the best person to write them. Much better, I thought, to use my experience and my platform at Disney to put the spotlight on other great writers who are actually from those cultures and know the mythologies better than I do. Let them tell their own stories, and I would do whatever I could to help those books find a wide audience.
So let’s go through some questions you might have!
What IS an imprint?
An imprint is like a brand, a subdivision within a publishing company that usually specialized in one particular kind of book. If we were talking about movie studios, for instance, you could describe Disney as the publisher, with various “imprints” under their umbrella – Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney Animation, etc., each making a different kind of film, but all part of Disney.
With publishing, Disney Worldwide Publishing is the main company I work with. They have published all my various mythology-based books. Rick Riordan Presents will be a small branch of that very large publishing house. Our hope is to eventually publish about four books a year under the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, two books every fall and two every spring. All these will be books that my editor Steph Lurie and I feel will appeal to kids who like my books. In other words, they will probably be some type of fantasy, with lots of humor and action, and probably draw on myth or folklore in some way.
Are you writing all these books for the imprint?
No! My job is to help edit the books where it seems appropriate, to offer advice and guidance where I can, and to promote the great books we will publish, but I am not writing the books and I don’t tell the authors what to write. This is not like using a ghost writer or ‘assistant writer’ to write my ideas. These are original stories generated by the authors – their intellectual property, told their way, with their characters and their sense of humor. The worlds they create are their own. They are not extensions of Percy Jackson’s world.
The authors (and their agents) who choose to submit their works to the imprint negotiate a publishing deal with Disney the same as they would with any publisher. I’m not directly involved in those negotiations. Steph Lurie just shows me samples of the different works that are submitted and I let her know which ones I’m the most excited about. The three books we will publish in 2018 are the first batch, and I am stoked about each of them!
*Suspicious Sideways Glance* So what’s in it for you?
Disney is paying me a nominal fee to write an introduction for each book, help edit and promote it, etc., but that’s the limit of my monetary involvement. As I said above, the authors own their own intellectual property and negotiate contracts with Disney as they would with any publishing deal. I am not doing this for money.
Honestly, for me this is a way to give back for my success. I’ve been very lucky in my career. I want to use my platform to help other writers get a wider audience. I also want to help kids have a wider variety of great books to choose from, especially those that deal with world mythology.
Will you keep writing your own books, though?
Oh, yes! The imprint won’t affect my own projects at all. I’ll keep writing my own books. Not to worry.
So how do you choose which books to publish for Rick Riordan Presents?
My editor and I look for books that I could enthusiastically recommend to my own fans. If you like Percy Jackson, if you like Magnus Chase and all my other stuff, then I believe you will probably like these books too. That’s not to say the imprint’s titles are exactly like my stuff. These authors all have their own unique voices, senses of humor, plots, characters, etc. But the books are all great, highly accessible reads with lots of fun fantasy and mythology elements. And, as I said, we try to pick books about cultures you don’t hear enough about in middle grade books, by authors who know their mythology and folklore from the inside in a way I never could.
Okay, tell me about the first three titles, then.
I’m so glad you asked!
First up, in spring 2018, is Aru Shah and the End of Time, by Roshani Chokshi. (The author goes by ‘Rosh,’ and her first name is pronounced ‘Roshni.’ The ‘a’ is silent.)
You guys have been asking about a Percy Jackson-esque take on Hindu mythology, and let me tell you, Rosh does it better than I ever could. Aru Shah is a smart and salty middle school girl who just wants to impress her snooty private school friends. She takes them on a tour of the Indian-American Museum her mom curates, where her friends dare her to do the one thing she is forbidden to do: light an ancient lamp that will supposedly start the end of the world.
Aru takes the bet. You can guess what happens from there. All of Hindu mythology comes crashing down on her. Aru finds out the secret of her ancestry. She is plunged into new worlds. She meets new friends, lots of enemies, and a host of gods and demons on her quest to stop the chaos she’s unleashed. Oh, and there’s a talking pigeon and a ping-pong ball that shoots lightning. What else could you want? The book has been described as Percy Jackson meets Sailor Moon. Yup. This is going to be great!
Rosh is a rising star, for sure, but she is no stranger to publishing. She’s the New York Times bestselling author of young adult fantasies The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes.
Here’s her website: http://www.roshanichokshi.com
And follow her on Twitter! @NotRashKnee
Next up, in spring 2018, are two more great titles!
Storm Runner by Jennifer Cervantes.
Zane is a lonely 13-year-old boy in New Mexico whose physical disability makes him feel even more like everyone at his middle school is watching him. But as he soon learns, his physical differences are merely the first clue to a family history that connects him to the Mayan gods–and puts him in mortal danger. As an ancient Mayan prophecy begins to unravel, Zane has to find the hero within himself.
Great premise, wonderful main character, and some seriously awesome mythology!
Jennifer’s first book was the middle grade novel The Tortilla Sun, which racked up multiple starred reviews and awards.
Here’s her website: http://www.jennifercervantes.com/home...
And follow her on Twitter! @jencerv
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.
Yoon Ha Lee
Yoon Ha Lee’s debut novel was an adult sci fi book called Ninefox Gambit, which I absolutely loved. You can read my review here. A few weeks after I finished it, my editor Steph wrote me and said, ‘Hey, this author named Yoon Ha Lee would like to do a book for our imprint –”
And I said, “YES!” Then I read the proposal. And then I said, “YES!” again.
My elevator pitch for the book is simple: Korean fox spirits in space! (Echo: space, space, space.) It’s a mix of sci fi opera and Korean mythology. This is not something you’re going to see every day, and no one could pull it off like Yoon Ha Lee does.
Our main character is Min, a teenaged fox spirit whose brother disappears, supposedly deserting the Thousand Worlds Space Forces to search for the legendary artifact the Dragon Pearl, which may have the power to save their struggling home colony.
Yoon Ha Lee has already been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and I anticipate he will be seeing a lot more accolades when people get to read Dragon Pearl next spring!
Here’s his website: http://www.yoonhalee.com
And follow him on Twitter! @motomaratai
March 21, 2017
When Disney Publishing first told me they wanted to do a Percy Jackson coloring book, I thought, Uh, why? Nothing against coloring, mind you. I used to let my students color pictures of Greek art while they listened to Greek myths. For some kids, it’s a helpful way of focusing, and it’s fun. I just didn’t understand how you could turn Percy’s story into a coloring experience.
Now that I have actually seen the page proofs for the coloring book, I get it. This is going to be AWESOME! The coloring book tells the entire story from the Lightning Thief in beautiful line art. It’s worth getting even if you never break out the crayons or colored pencils. I was blown away by the quality of the depictions!
The book comes out Aug. 15 of this year, in honor of Percy’s birthday (which is actually the 18th, but books always come out on Tuesdays, for reasons I don’t pretend to know, and the 15th is the closest Tuesday). To give you a sneak peek at what you’ll be getting, here is the scene with Percy fighting Ares!
March 9, 2017
What a beautiful day it was in Manhattan! Not only was the weather lovely, but I got to stop by Disney Publishing headquarters and sign 1700 of these babies, hot off the presses:
Yep, those are the first actual copies I’ve seen of The Dark Prophecy, Trials of Apollo Book 2, which will be available for purchase on May 2!
I also got to see the very first copy in existence of Camp Half-Blood Confidential, a companion volume with short looks at camp life from various counselors and camp denizens. This book will also be available on May 2:
My editor pointed out that when they are stacked together, the book covers say, APOLLOOOOOOOO.
Now to answer your questions:
1. If books are already printed, why do I have to wait until May 2? Why can’t I have them NOW?
Yes, I understand that! Disney isn’t trying to be mean. But having them printed is only one step. Then they have to be ordered by the booksellers, shipped all across the country, catalogued, shelved, blah, blah, blah . . . and they have to be published in their specific time slot because there are thousands of other books also waiting to be marketed and published. It’s kind of like planes sharing runways at the airport. They can’t all land at once or there would be chaos. And yes, I know e-books are different, but that’s a whole ‘nother set of logistical issues.
So May 2 really is the date when the books can first be available. I hope you enjoy Dark Prophecy when it arrives!
2. How can I get one of those signed copies?
The signed copies are for various bookstore accounts. As I get information about where and when the autographed copies are available, I will post info on my social media accounts. Right now, I’m not sure where all these are bound. And yes, this is just the North American version for the US and Canada, and it’s only a tiny fraction of the first printing. I have signed some editions for the UK as well. I will let you know what I find out about those!
While I was in signing mode, I also signed several hundred posters for the LIGHTNING THIEF Broadway musical. These will be part of a raffle (I believe) on opening night. What’s that? You haven’t heard about the musical? Yep, it’s an actual thing. Check it out here and get tix. Performances begin on March 23. (Just in NYC for the present, because, you know, that’s where Broadway is.)
Also while at Disney HQ, we talked about my new publishing imprint RICK RIORDAN PRESENTS. I am so excited! I will do a different blog post later on telling you all about this, but you can read the release info here. The first title in the imprint will be released around this time next year, and it is KILLER AWESOME. More details to come . . .
And now back to writing. I’m presently hard at work on Magnus Chase 3: The Ship of the Dead. When I last left our friends, Blitzen and Hearthstone were in quite a perilous situation. I’d better see if I can write them out of it somehow . . . preferably using rune magic and extreme fashion.
January 23, 2017
It’s been a while since I posted what I am reading, so here are some of my favorite titles that got me through the fall.
Malice in Ovenland is a super-fun graphic novel, great for elementary readers and up. Obviously, this is a new take on the Alice in Wonderland story, with a young heroine Lily Brown from Queens who doesn’t like her mom’s “healthy” new cooking until she is told to clean the oven and falls headfirst into a netherworld society which lives off the excess cooking grease from Lily’s mom’s oven. Lily has to find her way back to the upper world while pursued by a whole host of enemies who blame her for the recent draught of life-giving grease. Lots of fun, this is a fast-paced read with beautiful illustrations. It would make a perfect read-together story for parents and kids! After reading, you might even be tempted to find cockroaches cute . . .
Certain Dark Things is not just another vampire novel. Set in Mexico City, the novel imagines an alternate present in which the discovery of vampires’ existence in the 1970s has fundamentally reshaped the world of the 21st Century. Mexico City has become a closed nation city, leaving the rest of the country at the mercy of powerful vampire gangs who fight for territory against each other and the humans. And it’s not just one kind of vampire. Vampires from every culture in the world — dozens of subspecies — have fled to Mexico because it has some of the least restrictive laws against blood-suckers. This is not great news for the native vampires of Mexico — bird-winged blood drinkers who have existed since the time of the Aztecs. One of these, a beautiful young woman named Atl, flees to Mexico City when her Northern Mexico clan is destroyed by a rival gang of Necros (a horrifying European species that can control humans with a single bite and whose blood is poison to other vampires). With only her faithful dog Cualli and a young street boy Domingo, Atl must try to find a way out of the country while pursued by both Necros and human gangs who refuse to tolerate any vampires on their turf. I loved the premise of this book! Throwing vampire myths from so many cultures together was right down my alley. If you like vampire books but would appreciate some . . . er, fresh blood . . . this is a fast-paced read that breathes fresh life into the genre.
I read this book months ago and it keeps resurfacing in my thoughts — a good indication that this is a powerful story. All her life, twelve-year-old Ada has been raised by her father David Sibelius, who home-schools her and takes her to work with him at the university computer science lab, where he and his colleagues are working on early versions of artificial intelligence. Ada is a prodigy who can code, talk physics or analyze literature with her father’s friends, but she has no friends of her own age and does not understand anything about “regular” twelve-year-olds. When her father David begins to lose his mental faculties, she is forced to adjust to a terrifying new reality, but she is also presented with a shocking secret: Her father was not who she always believed he was. The novel jumps back and forth between Ada as a child in the 1980s, and Ada as an adult in the 2010s. In both time periods, she is grappling with the legacy of her father’s secret, and of the strange work he was doing on artificial intelligence. Before his mind deteriorated completely, David promised that he would see Ada again. What did he mean? Who was he? The novel is poignant, well-crafted and utterly convincing. A great read that will haunt you long after you finish.
Ann Leckie’s series drops us right into a universe both familiar and terrifyingly different. It may take you a while to understand what is going on, because many of your assumptions about point-of-view will be stripped away. This is because the main character Breq is an ancillary — a human body that has been ‘slaved’ to the artificial intelligence of a giant spaceship, in this case Justice of Torren. In the empire called the Radch, each spaceship is sentient, crewed by legions of ancillaries who are all connected to the same central mind. Because of this, Breq can be in a thousand places at once, watching events unfold all across the surface of a planet, wherever her soldiers are stationed, or on the ship orbiting above.
Where do ancillaries come from? The Radch is a military empire. It exists by annexing other star systems and enslaving huge swaths of the native population, putting them in cryogenic storage until those bodies are needed — their old minds wiped away and reprogrammed as part of a ship’s AI. If that sounds horrifying, it is, but Breq knows no other life — until a terrible event separates her from her mothership, which is destroyed in hyperspace, leaving Breq alone, the last remnant of Justice of Torren. An ancillary is not considered to be human, but now Breq must find her way through space, hiding and pretending, until she can find a way to discover the truth about how her ship was destroyed, and take revenge on the person she blames — who happens to be the leader of the empire.
There are three books in the Radch series, and I read them all one after the other. Once you are sucked into this world, you don’t want to leave. Another really cool thing about the world which Leckie creates — the Radch do not pay attention to gender. Gender exists, but their language does not even include words for ‘he’ or ‘she.’ Because of this, all characters are labeled ‘she’ and you can’t really be sure, nor does it really matter, what gender they are. Breq struggles whenever she is in another non-Radch culture, since she has to look for subtle clues and remember not to insult males by calling them female and vice versa. I just loved this. I found the second two books a bit more slow-moving than the first, but that was okay. By that time, the story was a drama I cared about, and the Radch are all about taking time, observing propriety, and having tea. You have to accept them on their own terms at their own pace. If you are looking for a brave and terrifying new world to immerse yourself in, definitely give this series a go.
After reading the Ancillary Justice series, Ninefox Gambit was a wonderful complementary read. We are dropped into an interstellar empire called the Hexarchate, where six factions with different skill sets vie for power within the system. (Think Divergent on a galactic scale.) The ultimate power in the universe is pure mathematics. An understanding of number theory has to be agreed on and followed by everyone in the society, right down to the yearly calendar and how many days in a week. Within this mathematic “orthodoxy” the laws of physics work as you would expect, and all is right in the cosmos. But from time to time, mathematical heresies arise, like adding a day to the week or computing with a different base number, and the whole fabric of physics starts to warp. Weapons don’t work they way they’re supposed to. New technologies become possible that should not be possible. Our hero, Captain Kel Cheris, is a military commander who gets in deep trouble for unorthodox strategy, but she is given a way to redeem herself: Retake an important station that has fallen into the hands of heretics. To do this, she must use a secret weapon: She downloads the consciousness of a never-defeated general who has been dead for thousands of years. The only problem: this general was consigned to cold storage because he went mad and massacred his own armies. Can Kel control the new voice in her brain? Can she trust it, or keep from being taken over? And how will she defeat an unknown heresy? Once you get into the premise, this is a fantastic adventure with brilliant world-building.
This sci-fi novel got a lot of buzz when it came out, and I see why. The basic story: pieces of a gigantic metal robot, thousands of years old, are discovered scattered around the earth, buried deep in the earth or under the sea. Where did they come from? What are they for? A team is assembled in top secrecy to rebuild the robot and figure out how it works. The story is told in a series of interviews — reports submitted by an anonymous interviewer who is pulling most of the strings behind the project. This narrative structure is very easy to follow and pulls you in nicely. I finished the book in a single day, and I’m not a fast reader. I did think that toward the end, the limits of the transcript format began to show. The storytelling had to use some rather hard-to-believe contortions to report certain information, and by the end, you don’t really feel like you’ve come to know the characters very well. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a quick, engaging sci-fi mystery, this one is a good choice!
January 15, 2017
Greetings from Athena House, Riordan family headquarters in Boston! I hope your 2017 is off to a safe and healthy start.
As I come up for a brief gulp of air between writing projects, I thought I’d take a moment to update you all! Below are some personal goings-on, book goings-on, and miscellaneous news and thoughts.
We spent the holidays in Poseidon’s territory, visiting several islands in the Caribbean. What a treat!
On Christmas Day we found ourselves in Nevis, so I had to pay my respects to the birthplace of Mr. Hamilton.
Nevis is a beautiful but tiny place, especially quiet on Christmas as you can imagine. It’s easy to see why an ambitious young boy would dream of traveling elsewhere and visiting the more populous colony of New York. His childhood home is now a small museum.
On the island of St. John, I got a chance to reacquaint myself with scuba diving, something I hadn’t done in years. Here’s the boat we used, with mascot puppy Pepper, who was a highlight of the trip.
I got to dive in three places, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Barts — each beautiful. I didn’t spot any naiads, alas. Percy had warned me to look out for Triton, as he winters in the Caribbean, but I didn’t see him either. I did, however, run into some great sea life. (Thanks to my fellow diver Charles for sharing his pictures.)
Here’s one of the three reef sharks we saw in St. Bart’s. This one was small, which was just fine by me.
And here is Molly the hawkbill sea turtle. (Of course I’m sure her name was Molly. She told me.) She was not well-pleased to see us at the bottom of the sea, but she tolerated our picture taking and we left her in peace.
Some group shots of our fellow divers.
We stopped to remove an old mooring line that could have snagged some sea life.
And yours truly in the deep blue.
Back on the surface, we found that a rainbow hovered over the mega-yachts in the harbor, perhaps God’s promise that blessed are the billionaires. I don’t know.
Back on St. John, we visited a local open-air market and took a photo of a rooster. We do tend to take a lot of pictures of animals because . . . well, animals. You can find this shot in my upcoming photo book The Random Chickens of St. John.
It was a great trip. Percy would have approved! And if that wasn’t enough, when we returned home we took a quick trip to NYC to see one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, Othello, at the New York Theatre Workshop, with Daniel Craig as Iago and David Oyelowo as Othello.
What a great performance, and it was a benefit for the Theatre Workshop’s education program, which made it all the better. As you can see from the photos, it was a tiny theater space. At one point, Daniel Craig sat down right next to my son Patrick. I’m not sure what Patrick thought about that . . . Kudos to the entire cast. Fabulous production.
And now I’m home, back to work! I am presently signing tip-in sheets for the autographed editions of Dark Prophecy: 15,000 by the time I’m done. Speedy is helping.
That brings me to the news about upcoming books!
If you missed the cover reveal, here is the US version for The Dark Prophecy, which comes out May 2.
You can read the first chapter here.
Wait, you ask. Rick, are those ostriches in combat helmets?
Yes. Yes, they are. Why? Wait and see . . .
Also arriving on May 2 is this, which will give you little behind-the-scenes glimpses into life at Camp Half-Blood:
And coming next fall is the third Magnus Chase title, THE SHIP OF THE DEAD, which I’m working on right now. Busy times!
As always, I don’t get release dates for the book in other countries. It usually takes a little longer (or a lot longer) depending on the translation. If you live outside the U.S., your best bet is to ask wherever you normally buy the books.
What else? If you have not heard, there is a Percy Jackson musical, The Lightning Thief, which has been touring the U.S. for several years now, but is now hitting off-Broadway in New York with an expanded cast, score and script. I hear it is awesome. Tickets go on sale Jan. 31. I know that’s a bummer if you don’t live in NYC or can’t travel there, but if you can, it’s well worth seeing. Obviously live theater is a completely different medium than a book, and yes, it’s a bit hard for me to envision Percy dancing and singing, but from everything I have heard, the adaptation is very faithful and fans of the books have been delighted with the play. That’s what I care about.
Here’s a sneak peek/listen at Chris McCarrell (Percy) singing “Good Kid.”
News of the musical has made a lot of fans ask: But, but, but…. TV!
Alas, live theater and television are two completely different things. The rights for television/film to anything involving Percy’s world, including sequels like Heroes of Olympus and Trials of Apollo, are owned solely and forever by Fox. As far as I am aware, which is not very far, they have no plans to do anything further with those rights.
I get the desire for a television show of Percy and friends. There is a trend of taking failed movies (Cough. Percy Jackson. Cough.) and rebooting them as television. If they did it right, could it be great? Sure. But what are chances of that? I’d say somewhere around zero percent.
The conversation from there goes something like this:
Fan: But can’t you buy back the rights from Fox?
Me: I tried. They declined to sell back the rights at any price.
Fan: Couldn’t another company buy the rights and make a show?
Me: I’ve asked about that too. No joy.
Fan: But why weren’t the movies more faithful? Why did you let them change the story?
Me: The book author doesn’t “let” Hollywood do anything except buy the rights or not buy the rights. When Hollywood buys the rights, those rights include the power to do whatever they want with the source material. That isn’t just the case with me. That is the standard contract all Hollywood studios insist on with all properties. If I’d sold to a different studio, it would have made no difference. The deal would’ve been the same.
Fan: But J.K. Rowling —
Me: Rowling is always the extreme exception to every rule. However, even she did not have as much power as people think she did over the movies. She has said as much. She did not control casting or scripts for the Harry Potter movies. In fact, when she got veto power over the script for Fantastic Beasts, that made international headlines because it was the first time she or any author had EVER gotten such control over a film project. It’s always wonderful when a movie or TV show is faithful, but that never happens because an author got control. It’s because the studio listened and everyone was on the same page. It is much more common for that NOT to happen. Be assured, I offered a good deal of advice and criticism and voiced my concerns about the first movie as it was being made. How much that helped, you be the judge.
Fan: But couldn’t Netflix —
Me: Netflix is an entirely different company than Fox. Could they strike some kind deal? I mean, I suppose it’s hypothetically possible, but I have absolutely no indication that will happen. Not that I would have any indication. Fox does not consult me about such things.
Fan: But couldn’t you convince them —
Me: Judging from what you’ve seen, do you really think Fox listens to me about anything?
Fan: But somebody on Netflix customer service told me it might happen!
Me: Uh-huh. And you think the random person on the chat room for customer service knows about studio decision-making? They are trying to sell you a subscription. They don’t know any more than you do.
Fan: But what if we signed a petition —
Me: Knock yourself out.
Fan: We could have a bake sale.
Me: Go for it.
Fan: . . . We’re not getting a TV show, are we?
Me: It doesn’t look like it. No.
And so, alas, that’s where we are, folks. Please don’t believe random Internet rumors. If I hear anything different from a reliable source ten or fifteen years for now, I will let you know. I would not hold your breath, though.
On that upbeat note, I will say: Happy reading! The one thing I can and do control is the quality of the books. I assure you I will do everything I can to keep those coming and keep them entertaining!
January 10, 2017
It’s baaaaack. And it’s bigger and more demigodly than ever. The Lightning Thief Musical arrives Off-Broadway beginning March 23.
I’m very pleased to share the full press release below.
Now you’re thinking: What? Who? How? Huh? Seriously, Percy Jackson dancing and singing on stage?
Yep, it’s true! Previous stagings of this play have gotten rave reviews from even hard-core Percy Jackson book fans, and now the play is getting the full Off-Broadway treatment! Chris McCarrell is a great casting choice for Percy, don’t you think?
Full disclosure: I haven’t seen the play myself, but that is just my own personal quirk. I get weirded-out seeing or hearing adaptations of my written work. I can’t listen to my audiobooks. And the movies . . . well, as you may know, I never saw them, thank the gods. I haven’t seen the play either, but I can heartily endorse it based on feedback from the people I care about most — my readers. They have found it to be a fun, faithful, hilarious adaptation of Percy’s story. So if you can make an off-Broadway production this spring, check it out! Just beware of gorgons and random bolts of lightning, and be on the lookout for incognito gods in the audience. They love seeing plays about themselves.
For Immediate Release:
will star in
THE LIGHTNING THIEF: THE PERCY JACKSON MUSICAL
Based on the best-selling Disney-Hyperion novel
“The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan
Written by JOE TRACZ and ROB ROKICKI
Directed by STEPHEN BRACKETT
Choreographed by PATRICK McCOLLUM
Musical Direction by WILEY DEWEESE
Fight Direction by ROD KINTER
Orchestrations by WILEY DEWEESE & ROB ROKICKI
THE BRAND-NEW PRODUCTION BEGINS PERFORMANCES
MARCH 23, 2017
OPENING NIGHT IS SET FOR TUESDAY APRIL 4, 2017
AT OFF-BROADWAY’S LUCILLE LORTEL THEATRE
EXCLUSIVE AMERICAN EXPRESS PRE-SALE
January 17 – 24, 2017
New York: Chris McCarrell, will star in a brand-new production of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical this March at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street). Written by Joe Tracz (Netflix “Series of Unfortunate Events”) and Rob Rokicki (Strange Tails), and directed by Stephen Brackett (Buyer and Cellar), the strictly limited engagement will begin performances on March 23, opening on Tuesday, April 4 and will run through May 6, 2017. This new production will feature musical direction by Wiley DeWeese (The Wildness), orchestrations by Wiley DeWeese & Rob Rokicki, choreography by Patrick McCollum (The Bands Visit) and fight direction by Rod Kinter (More Than All the World). The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson is being presented by Theatreworks NYC in arrangement with Rick Riordan and the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency. Tickets are $85-$65 and can be purchased by visiting www.LightningThiefMusical.com and 866-811-4111.
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical was introduced to NYC by Theatreworks USA in 2014 as part of its FREE theatre series, a one hour version with a smaller cast that has successfully toured the country. This is a brand-new production with a new score, an updated, expanded script including a second act, a larger cast and will feature a live band.
Percy Jackson has newly discovered powers he can’t control, monsters on his trail, and he is on a quest to find Zeus’s lightning bolt and prevent a war between the Greek gods. Normal is a myth when you’re a demigod. Based on the best- selling Disney-Hyperion novel by Rick Riordan, featuring live music, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical is an action- packed theatrical adventure that will rock your world.
Chris McCarrell (Percy Jackson) was most recently seen as Marius in the Tony Nominated revival of Les Misérables. Television credits include Nibs in “Peter Pan Live” and The OA. Regionally, Chris starred in Summer of ’42 at Bucks County Playhouse as well as originating the role of Jimmy Livingston in Bubble Boy the musical. Other regional credits include Gabe in Next to Normal, Anthony in Sweeney Todd and Lewis in Pippin. He has sold out concerts at 54 Below with his solo debut and Christmas Carols with Chris McCarrell. Workshops include World Will Not Contain Us, Tesla Drops the Beat and Manhattan Kids. A 2013 graduate of Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music.
“I’ve always had an Off-Broadway heart, so this is such a homecoming for me. And to start it off at the Lortel is an actual dream. Can’t wait to pour all I got into Percy Jackson. He’s going to be quick, bold, and sharp. Young messy demigod finding his way? I’m in. Excited to work with the team to make this innovative, magical and heartfelt show our own.” Chris McCarrell
“Our initial production of The Lightning Thief, was a huge critical and audience success, and continues to gather fans around the country. But, honestly condensing the novel into an hour was challenging; the dream was always to make this production bigger and better, to flesh out characters, deepen relationships and include more of the quest –and that’s just what we’ve done. We could not be more thrilled by this updated version, with some great new songs, a second act and a larger cast. And to top it all off, we could not be more excited to have Chris McCarrell as our Percy, he has that perfect combination of charm and talent to make this show exciting and entertaining for all ages.” Theatreworks NYC, Barbara Pasternack
Creative Team Includes: David Lander (Lighting Design), Lee Savage (Set Design), Sydney Maresca (Costume Design), and Ryan Rumery (Sound Design).
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
Written by Joe Tracz and Rob Rokicki, Directed by Stephen Brackett
Choreographed by Patrick McCollum, Musical Direction by Wiley DeWeese, Fight Direction by Rod Kinter
Orchestrations by Wiley Deweese & Rob Rokicki
Begins performances on March 23 – May 6, 2017. Opening night is Tuesday. April 4.
Monday – Tuesday at 7:30pm; Thursday 2pm & 7:30pm; Friday 7:30pm;
Saturday 2pm & 7:30pm and Sunday 3pm
Thursday 3/23 at 2pm, Saturday 3/25 at 2pm & Thursday 3/30 at 2pm; Monday 5/1 at 7:30pm
Lucille Lortel Theatre is located at 121 Christopher Street
Tickets are $85-$65 and can be purchased by visiting
www.LightningThiefMusical.com and 866-811-4111.
Twitter.com/LTMusical / @LTMusical
Press Performances are: Saturday, April 1 at 2 & 7:30pm; Sunday, April 2 at 3pm;
Monday April 3 at 7:30pm; Tuesday, April 4 at 7:30pm (Opening)
Mr. McCarrell, Mr. Tracz, Mr. Rockicki and Mr. Brackett are available for interviews. To arrange interviews or press seats please contact JT Public Relations / firstname.lastname@example.org / (646) 481-6583.
JOE TRACZ (Book) is a playwright with an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Williamstown Theatre Festival: the original musical Poster Boy with composer-lyricist Craig Wright (2016), Song for a Future Generation (2015). Joe’s adaptation of the first book in the Percy Jackson series, The Lightning Thief (with composer Rob Rokicki) received a Lortel nomination for Outstanding Musical and is now touring nationally with Theatreworks USA. His musical adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel Be More Chill with composer Joe Iconis premiered last summer at Two River Theater. Other plays have been developed with Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage, Roundabout, Ars Nova, and The Flea, and published in Best American Short Plays. Film/TV includes the forthcoming Netflix series “A Series of Unfortunate Events” starring Neil Patrick Harris and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, Epic (20th Century Fox) and Lights Out (FX). Joe is a former Playwrights Realm writing fellow, an alumnus of Theater Masters and the Ars Nova Play Group, and, with Two River Theater and Joe Iconis, a recipient of a 2015 Doris Duke Foundation Commissioning Grant. He has a BA from Kalamazoo College.
ROB ROKICKI (Music, Lyrics, Orchestrations) is an award-winning songwriter, performer, music director & educator. He is member of the Dramatists Guild & alum of the Tony Award-winning BMI writing workshop. Rob wrote the music & lyrics to the Lortel nominated, THE LIGHTNING THIEF (book Joe Tracz). He co-authored (with Michael Ruby) LOVE, NY, STRANGE TAILS & RELATIVITY. He’s currently collaborating on a project with Rebekah Allen. His studio album, is available on iTunes & his album/graphic novel, MONSTERSONGS, will be out soon. Thank you to TW, Iconis, Flynnie & all the artists who’ve contributed to the development of the show. www.robertrokicki.com
STEPHEN BRACKETT (Director) Off Broadway credits include: Ultimate Beauty Bible (Page 73), Wringer (NYCCT), Sommerfugl (InViolet), Buyer & Cellar (Rattlestick and Barrow Street Theaters/Westport Playhouse/National Tour/London’s Menier Chocolate Factory), City Of (Playwrights Realm), Carnival Kids (Lesser America), The Lightning Thief (Theatreworks USA), The Correspondent (Rattlestick), After (Partial Comfort), The Material World (Dixon Place), Be A Good Little Widow (Ars Nova), and The Tenant (Woodshed Collective). Regional credits include: I Now Pronounce (Humana Festival), Le Switch (About Face), Be More Chill (Two River), The Great Pretender (TheatreWorks).
PATRICK MCCOLLUM (Choreographer) Credits include Oh, Hello! (Broadway and Cherry Lane Theatre); The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company); Rain (Old Globe), Unknown Soldier (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Wilderness (Abrons Arts Center). As associate choreographer on Broadway: The Last Ship, Peter and the Starcatcher, and Rocky; Wicked (North American dance supervisor); Off-Broadway: Murder Ballad (Manhattan Theatre Club, associate choreographer); Permission (MCC, movement consultant).
WILEY DEWEESE (Music Direction/Orchestrations) is a New York based music director, arranger, and pianist. Recent: Amélie: A New Musical (Center Theatre Group, Berkeley Rep), The Wildness (Ars Nova), First Daughter Suite (Public Theater), Preludes (Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3), The Fortress of Solitude (Public Theater). B.M. from NYU Steinhardt
ROD KINTER (Fight Direction) Most Recent: More Than All the World at Theatre for the New City. Off Broadway: 15+ productions for Pearl Theatre Company (resident Fight Director since 2009); Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy, The Anthem, and Abe Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party. New York City Opera: 50+ productions (resident Fight Director 1995 – 2011). Regional: American Repertory Theatre; Utah Shakespeare Festival; Barter Theatre, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare on the Sound, Princeton Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, and New Jersey State Opera. Faculty at AMDA. www.rodkinter.com
RICK RIORDAN is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over twenty YA novels, including the Percy Jackson series, the Kane Chronicles, the Magnus Chase series and the Trials of Apollo, with the second book in that series, The Dark Prophecy due out in May 2017. Today over fifty million copies of his books are in print in the United States, and rights have been sold into more than 37 countries, and translated into 41 languages.
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