Heading South

I think the Saint Louis crowd caught everyone by surprise.

The county library was prepared for 900 and could hold 1000, which seemed like plenty to me. When we arrived at the library, however, it had already filled to capacity and a line of five hundred more people snaked around the building. More than fifteen hundred people showed up in all – wow. Thanks to those who heard the presentation, and especially to the hundreds who couldn’t get it and could only do the signing line. On top of everything, the area was under a storm and tornado warning! Fortunately everyone got inside before the rain started.

Favorite moment from the night: A crowd of girls dressed in costume (Bianca, Thalia, Percy, Annabeth, etc.) asked me this question: “If Percy can talk to horses and control water, does that mean Annabeth can talk to owls and control olives?” LOL. Fear me. I control the mighty black olive! Another thought-provoking question I’d never had before: Would I rather be a god, demigod or mortal? Interesting. I’m still thinking about that one. I met more school groups than I could count. Librarians and teachers came from all over the state. Families had traveled from Jefferson City, Springfield, Indiana and even Chicago to attend the signing. Thanks to the Saint Louis County Library staff for managing the huge crowd so well, and thanks for everyone who waited through the three-hour signing line with such patience.

Here’s a blog from the Post-Dispatch about the event, which they are speculating might be the largest Saint Louis book signing ever for a single author.

Last night in Raleigh, we had another successful visit at Quail Ridge. Elizabeth Edwards had just left when I got there, so we didn’t have any overlapping crowds. Adultery and Greek mythology . . . Awkward. The bookstore was completely full, and it was hot and steamy in there! People came from Florida, Washington, D.C., and Richmond for the event. Wow, I’m causing an enormous carbon footprint these days. The satyrs are not going to be happy with me. I should plant some trees when I get home or something. Thanks to Carl from ‘Boys Rule, Boys Read’ for coming to the signing, and for all the teachers and librarians who brought books for their kids. Now that’s dedication: standing in line for two hours on a Saturday night for your students. We had more great costumes: Athena in full aluminum-foil armor, Hades in black robes, Artemis with her bow, and of course a ton of campers: Percy, Annabeth, Nico, Thalia, just about everyone. Most interesting question of the night: “Will Grover ever marry Clarisse?” My stunned answer: “Um . . . probably not.” Response: “Darn!” Where that idea came from, I have no idea, but wow – enough to give Grover nightmares.

Today, I don my Tommy Bahama shirt and we head to Miami for two events. It’s my first time doing public events in South Florida for the Percy series, and I look forward to meeting the kids. I’ve been watching the third season of Dexter on my iPod as I travel – I will try not to let that color my impressions of Miami!

Rick Riordan