Monday, May 18, 2009

Rick Riordan--DA MAN!!!!

Hey, everybody, this is Carl with exciting news about where I went and who I saw this weekend. It was RICK RIORDAN, Mr. Percy Jackson! Mr. 39 Clues! I saw him in person in Raleigh, NC at Quail Ridge Books and Music. He was there for his Last Olympian book tour, so me, my wife, and our daughter took a little odyssey to see him. (Yes, I have a daughter. I've never mentioned her because it's just never come up. I've already said that I was married) We had a good time and Mr. Riordan is a genuinely nice man who is tremendously dedicated to his fans.

The event was at 7pm and the bookstore said not to come until 6 because there had been another author at 3. So we got there at 6 and it was already crowded. By 6:30 it looked like this:That's a lot of people! And this wasn't a huge store, either. I mean, it was good-sized but your average Barnes and Noble or Borders is two or three times as large. We all squeezed in closely and waited patiently.

Of course, there were kids in costume. Medusa was close by:

AND I got to hook up with two of our brother reader guys form the SMS Guys Read blog:

That's Doink the Clown on the left and Ricky "The Steamboat" Dragon on the right.

The heads of Guy Reading in North Carolina get togetherWe had a good time hanging out together and talking and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. But at 7pm, our patience was rewarded:

Sorry that the picture's dark. Mr. Riordan spoke and took questions for about 20 minutes. He told us about how he came up with the series, visiting the set of the Lightning Thief movie, and things like that. Then he dropped a couple of good-news bombs on us. First, there will be more Camp Half-Blood books! Mr. Riordan said that kids ask about certain characters and want to know what happens to them outside the camp season. Well, those types of questions get authors thinking and that gets them to writing. So we'll have new Camp Half-Blood adventures in the future. No, he didn't say when. And, no, Percy won't be the main character. He'll pop in as a senior adviser to the characters but that's all. Percy's earned a rest! THEN he told us about the NEW SERIES!! Mr. Riordan said that, outside of Greek mythology, the most popular school subject is ancient Egypt. Sooooooo-sometime next year, probably late winter or early spring, "The gods of ancient Egypt will invade the modern world." Wooo-hooo!! That ought to be good!! Have you ever studied ancient Egyptian mythology? There's a LOT of potential there!

He could have spoken a lot longer, of course, but, as I said, he's really dedicated to his fans. There were at least 600-700 people in there and Mr. Riordan said that he wouldn't leave until he signed EVERYTHING that people brought, so he kept it to 20 minutes so he could sign things and meet his fans. He's a truly remarkable guy.

The people who bought copies of The Last Olympian had priority and there were at least 624 of them, so we went and got dinner. By the time we got back, it was about 9:15 and he was still signing:

After two hours of signing books, he was still smiling and still glad to see his fans. And it was sincere.

We got in line. The line moved quickly because of all the people, so you couldn't stand and have an extended discussion, naturally, but he said "hi" and spoke with everyone. That's our daughter with me. She asked him to sign her notebook.

I introduced myself and he remembered me. He remembered ME! Of all the thousands of people he meets, he remembered me. "Wait," you say, "how can Rick Riordan remember you?" That just goes to show what a great guy he is. He wrote me a couple of years ago and sent me some "Demigod In Training" t-shirts as thanks for supporting his books on this blog. (HE READS THIS BLOG!!) So that's how he recognized me.
He signed my daughter's notebook, my copy of The Maze of Bones, and my old copy of Bulfinch's Mythology.
Here he is, signing that ratty old book I've had since high school:Now there's a good story behind this. I wrote him a couple of years ago and asked a lot of questions. One of them was why he never recommended Bulfinch's Mythology as a resource. (It's a very famous book) His answer was that it's big, thick, and intimidating. (Not to mention that it's old--from, like, 1798! But it's very thorough and well worth it--if you think you can handle it!) Anyway, when I handed him that book, he said, "Ah, you want me to sign your Bulfinch!" What an amazing memory!

We were close to the end of the line and everything closed soon after he signed my things. I was very glad to have met and spoken with one of my heroes. I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of authors, but very few have been as friendly as Rick Riordan. Thanks for coming to Raleigh. Y'all come back now, you hear?

PS. Mr. Riordan mentioned ME on his blog!! Take a look under the section on his Raleigh visit. Thanks, Mr. Riordan! I'm honored.


Inquirer said...

We saw him here in Houston. He is absolutely amazing - such a nice genuine guy. The kind of guy you want your kids to be like. The kind of writer you want them to emulate.

Here are some links to my posts about the books and my letter to him.

By the way, he wasn't just in the WSJ, he was on ABC Nightly News.

Carl said...

It's good to hear someone else confirm my impressions of him.

Ms. Yingling said...

Mr. Riordan is the Rock God of YA lit, and he deserves all the success he has gotten. We'll be very excited to see a series about Egyptian gods!