Author Interview  

Rick Riordan

About Rick Riordan

An Interview with Rick Riordan

More About Rick Riordan

Before starting to write, Rick Riordan worked as a teacher, and got the idea for his Percy Jackson series of books from talking to his pupils and children about Greek mythology. The Percy Jackson books have since become some of the most popular titles for children in the last few years, and are now being adapted as a series of films.

Rick's other series include The Kane Chronicles, starring Sadie and Carter Kane, the children of a brilliant Egyptologist and the bestselling Heroes of Olympus series, which brings together the world of Greek and Roman gods.

Rick now concentrates on writing full-time and lives with his family in the USA.

To find our more about Rick and all his books, visit

Rick Riordan's ID Card

Birthday: June 5, 1964
Place of Birth: San Antonio, Texas
Favourite book: Lord of the Rings trilogy
Favourite song: Tangled Up in Blue, by Bob Dylan
Favourite film: Young Frankenstein
Most treasured possession: My first rejection note, received when I was 13

When did you start writing?
I wrote a lot of short stories when I was young, and even sent a few in (to get rejected). I was never serious about writing at university. I focused most of my creative energy on music, and was lead singer in a folk rock band, if you can believe it.

After college, I became a teacher, and was quite happy with the idea of doing that the rest of my life. However, I read a lot of mystery books in my spare time, and eventually decided, on a lark, that I would try writing a hard-boiled private eye novel. My first was published in 1997. I wrote grown-up mystery novels for about seven years before I started the Percy Jackson series for young readers.

Where do your ideas come from?
My son Haley was studying the Greek myths in second grade when he asked me to tell him some bedtime stories about the gods and heroes. I had taught Greek myths for many years at the middle school level, so I was glad to comply. When I ran out of myths, he was disappointed and asked me if I could make up something new with the same characters. I thought about it for a few minutes. Then I remembered a creative writing project I used to do with my sixth graders -- I would let them create their own demigod hero, the son or daughter of any god they wanted, and have them describe a Greek-style quest for that hero. Off the top of my head, I made up Percy Jackson and told Haley all about his quest to recover Zeus' lightning bolt in modern day America. It took about three nights to tell the whole story, and when I was done, Haley told me I should write it out as a book.

I had a lot to do already, but I somehow found the time to write the first Percy Jackson book over the next year. I just really enjoyed writing it. The story was such fun, and so different from my adult fiction, that I found myself spending a lot of time on it. Now, I'm sure glad I did!

Can you give three tips for becoming a successful writer?
. Read a lot! This is where you’ll get your inspiration, your “fuel” for your writer’s engine.
2. Write a little bit every day. Writing is like a sport. The more you practice, the better you get.
3. Don’t get discouraged! Rejection is part of writing, but if you stick with it, you will succeed.

Favourite place in the world:
The San Francisco Bay Area, because it’s so beautiful and such a fun place to live!

Guitar, reading, online games, travel.

If you hadn’t been an author, what would you have been?
A teacher! I taught school for many years, and loved it. If writing didn’t keep me so busy, I would definitely be back in the classroom.

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