Rick’s Report from BEA

I just got back from Washington, D.C. and a great, exhausting weekend at Book Expo America. Highlights from the trip:

I got to meet with Riley Ellis from Fox for a bit of news on the Lightning Thief movie project. The option on the book has been renewed for another 18 months, which is good, and Fox is taking a “Do it right or don’t do it at all” approach, which I applaud. Right now, they are completely redoing the script with a different writer, which will of course take more time, but I think it’s a wise move. Once they are happy with the script, they will then attach a director, let me put in my two cents on the script (hooray!), and only then move on to casting. We are still talking about years of work, so don’t hold your breath! But the signs right now are promising. In the meantime, the studio is watching the progress of the series, so the best way to ensure the movie gets made is to tell all your friends to buy the books! For all those who have sent me “Can I Be in the Movie” emails (and I’ve gotten several hundred of them), I don’t have anything to do with the casting, nor am I sure when or how that will work exactly, but if I find out any more information on the progress of the movie, I will post it here.

I met a huge number of booksellers at Thursday’s ABC dinner (and they actually knew who I was this year, which I still can’t get over!) I didn’t bid on anything at the silent auction, but I did learn that Mo Willems occasionally takes pity on his low bidders by giving out pigeon and knufflebunny tattooes. This started many scurrilous rumors about the location of said tattooes upon several prominent members of the publishing community, which I will not go into.

I survived Friday, in spite of three “banquet food” meals in a row, which is normally fatal. This year, I even managed to score half a dried poppyseed bagel at the children’s booksellers’ breakfast, although I did have to wrestle several buyers from Borders to get it. Hopefully this will not affect Percy Jackson’s placement on their summer reading table.

I had a great signing for Sea of Monsters later in the afternoon, but certainly the high point of the day was the Hyperion dinner. When I heard who the other speakers would be (Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Eoin Colfer, Lane Smith and Avi, just to name a few) I was ready to send up the white flag before the event even started. As long as I didn’t fall on my face in the halibut porcupine (don’t ask) I was going to be satisfied. It went quite well, however. Among the valuable facts I learned: Never ask Mike Ploog to tell the muskrat story, and if Dave Barry asks you to donate a vital organ for a worthy cause, say no.

Rick Riordan