Monday, October 10, 2011
Rick Riordan and the Olympian Week Book Tour!
Living in Pittsburgh has its benefits (he said before winter hits and he starts suffering through 5 degree mornings). We recently had The Dark Knight Rises film here, our sports teams are pretty good and it's often voted one of America's most livable cities. All that aside, Pittsburgh recently played host to Athena, Goddess of Wisdom. Though, Southside is more amenable to Dionysus, the God of Partying...
Somehow, we were one of 7 cities on Rick Riordan's Olympian Book Tour. The author of the wildly popular Percy Jackson series was touring for the release of "The Son of Neptune" in his "Heroes of Olympus" series. The author (who is very funny, humble and accommodating I might add) took some time out of his schedule to tell us a bit about his career and field questions from the hundreds of kids in the audience. Oh, yeah, I was roughly twice as tall as the average attendant...I sure didn't look out of place at all.
What I found most interesting about Riordan's talk was his path to publication. He started early on by writing a series of adult mystery novels and did fairly well. Then, Riordan was making up a bedtime story about Greek gods for his son when he simply ran out of mythology. His son not only encouraged him to make a story up on the spot, but to put that story to paper. Thus, Percy Jackson was born.
Out of something so simple as a shared interest in mythology between a father and a son, multiple series of best selling middle-grade/young-adult books were born. Riordan has masterfully cornered the market not only on Greek mythology, but now Roman mythology (which was done in a very clever way from both a literary and marketing standpoint), as well as Egyptian mythology in his Kane Chronicles and, eventually, Norse mythology when he can get to it. This isn't to say that there are no Gods left for the rest of us to write about (I'm partial to the Central/South American native Gods myself). Then there's always Jeff, the God of Biscuits.
Watch Roman Gods in Comedy | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
But why settle for interpreting a pre-existing mythology when you can just make up one of your own? That's (more or less) what I'm doing at the moment as I'm wrapping up my current project. Without giving away too much, the story has to do with a race of people who view the trees as their Gods (which will make a heckuva lot more sense once you know what the rest of the story is all about).
I'm hurrying to finish that story in time for NaNoWriMo. This year, I think I'll tackle some Middle Grade once and for all. (Every other time I try, it ends up far too serious and morphs into YA or Adult.) The tentative title right now is: Spiderbeard and the Pirates of Black Sky. And here's the logline:
When habitual homework-hater Sam Muggins gets yanked up into the clouds by a giant fishhook, he finds himself standing on deck of a floating pirate ship crewed entirely by women. Together, they must prevent the dreaded Captain Spiderbeard from destroying the nine World Anchors, or face a world turned upside-down by the absence of gravity.
Nothing too awfully serious about that, is there? I'll keep you posted on my progress as usual! Until next time, go and check out some Middle Grade fiction. There are some fantastic stories out there that will make you feel like a kid again. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!
PS: As a side note, while I was at the Riordan tour, a friend of mine passed on the news that Steve Jobs had died. While this statement has been uttered many times within the past week, I thought it was a remarkable feat that the world learned of his passing through devices he helped to create. I echo countless others in saying that he passed on too soon and will be grievously missed.