News Roundup

If I’ve been quieter than usual on the blog, it’s because I’ve been feverishly finishing a manuscript. This is the Egyptian mythology book, which should be out in May if all goes according to plan. It is not connected with the Percy Jackson series or Greek mythology, but like Percy Jackson, it is a modern-day adventure and it was SO fun to write. I just sent the manuscript to my editor.

People often ask, “Well, if it’s finished, why isn’t it in the bookstores?” Alas, it takes several months and several more revisions to get everything just right, and then the process of proofreading, typesetting, and publishing takes several more months, plus printing, taking orders from booksellers, etc. That’s why it won’t be out until spring 2010. I can’t give you any more details about this book yet – not even the title – but hopefully I will be able to soon. Meanwhile, I’m launching straight into my next project – the first book in the new Camp Half-Blood series. It’s pretty much planned out already, but I can’t give you any hints. It will be a while before I release more information. I’m excited though. It’s going to be a lot of fun. That book (fingers crossed) will be out winter 2010.

In other news, I just got back from a signing in Nashville, wrapping up the Barnes & Noble summer reading program. Before the event, I got a tour of the reconstructed Parthenon, which is quite amazing. The statue of Athena must be seen to be believed. I understand the film crew for the Lightning Thief movie was there the week before I was. Why? Well, you’ll have to wait and see, but as I said, you should expect the movie to be different than the book.

The Barnes & Noble event went very well. We had well over a thousand people, but everyone was very polite and patient in the signing line. Thanks to all the kids who gave me letters, stories and pictures. We even had one family that drove all the way from Toronto. Holy Hera! Thanks to the store’s staff for making the event go smoothly.

I’ve intentionally kept this school year free of travel so I can finish the Camp Half-Blood book without making you guys wait any longer than you have to, but I do have two more appearances this fall. I will be at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC on Sept. 26, and I’ll be attending the Texas Book Festival in Austin the weekend of Oct. 31.

The kids have been back in school for two weeks and seem to be enjoying the school year – not as much as summer break of course, but it’s going well. Some of our family’s favorite reads this summer: Patrick, Becky and Haley all got caught up on Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy, including the new third title, The Faceless Ones. They thought it was the best one yet. Patrick also read through book five of 39 Clues. Haley read one of my favorite classic fantasies, The Wizard of Earthsea. Becky read through Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series, which she loved, and highly recommends Anne Ursu’s conclusion to her Greek mythology series, The Immortal Fire.

As for me, I just finished The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Despite their similar titles, the books have nothing in common except for being well written. The Name of the Wind is a fantasy about Kvothe, legendary adventurer and jack-of-all-trades, who is looking back on his life now that he has settled down (supposedly) as an innkeeper. If Charles Dickens wrote a fantasy novel, it might sound something like this. Imagine Great Expectations with magic. I loved the main character’s voice and will look forward to the sequel, though I don’t envy Mr. Rothfuss his task of following up such a brilliant debut. Zafon’s Name of the Wind is about a Spanish boy who stumbles across the works of a mysterious author, Julian Carax, only to find that someone is out to burn all remaining copies of Carax’s novels, and the protagonist’s life begins to take some disturbing turns that parallel Carax’s own life. The book is well translated and features an incredibly vibrant cast of characters.

That’s it for now. I hope everyone who went back to school – staff and students alike – is having a good year so far!

Rick Riordan