Rick Riordan Comes to Anchorage

Rick Riordan, a famous young adult literature author, came to Anchorage this week to promote his new book, “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 2: The Hammer of Thor.”

The event was held in the West High School auditorium, and 1,900 people showed up, wearing the wristbands that they received with the purchase of Riordan’s book from Barnes and Noble.

At 7 p.m. precisely, two people emerged from backstage, decked out in full Viking gear, in order to put on a mock battle. The young children in attendance, who made up a majority of the audience, were delighted at the show.

After a short introduction from the two Vikings, who turned out to be Riordan’s editor and publicist, Riordan came on stage.

He spoke to the audience as if it were a one-on-one conversation. He told a few stories about his dog, Speedy, whom he found abandoned five years ago. He even showed pictures, presented in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.

A favorite of the audience was a photo of Speedy lying in bed next to Riordan, who then admitted that he writes in bed with Speedy next to him.

He then moved on to discuss his upcoming projects. He revealed that “The Trials of Apollo, Book Two: Dark Prophecy” would be released in May of 2017.

The “Trials of Apollo” series follows the character Apollo as he has to deal with his newfound mortality due to a punishment from his father, Zeus.

Also due to release in May is “Camp Half-Blood Confidential,” which will have more stories about the characters from the beloved “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” and “The Heroes of Olympus” series.

“How do I have the time to write all these books?” Riordan asked, voicing a question that was in the mind of many audience members. “I’m just crazy. I like to write.”

To date, Riordan has written 64 books, and each of his more recent books took about six months to write.

The talk soon moved into a session in which Riordan answered questions from audience members.

A question that incited much groaning from the audience was about the Percy Jackson movies, produced by 20th Century Fox.

Riordan groaned right along with them.

“I looked over the script [that they gave me] and said ‘really?’. I gave them 25 pages of suggestions,” he said.

Riordan revealed that authors have very little control over the creative process of transforming books into movies, and then said that he still hadn’t seen the two movies made by Fox.

Soon after, the topic of favorite characters was raised. Riordon admitted that picking a favorite character was like picking a favorite child.

However, he revealed that a fan favorite character, Grover Underwood, would be making an appearance in “The Dark Prophecy.”

Riordan told the audience to “stay tuned.”

The final question asked by an audience member was about Riordan’s inclusion of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, more commonly known as the LGBT+ community.

“When I was a teacher, I had just about every kind of kid you can imagine, and I knew that it’s often really difficult for kids who are not mainstream kids, per say, to see themselves in fiction. I wanted to make sure that when I wrote I had a wide range of different kinds of characters,” Riordan said.

He finished the night with an address to children everywhere.

“I see you, I appreciate you and I value you, and I will not erase you from the books that you’re reading.”