Update from the Road, part 2

At the Toronto airport, getting ready to leave for Minneapolis. The past few days have been so much fun.

On Friday I arrived in Atlanta for a signing with Little Shop of Stories. Beforehand, I got to participate in a tour of the Carlos Museum with ten lucky kids who won a drawing from the store. The museum has a small but quality collection of Greek, Roman and Egyptian art. I helped with the tour to some extent, but I learned a lot, too! Among other things: The fly was a symbol of warriors, because of its tenacity, and pictures of Anubis always show him with one hand on the scales, tipping the balance in the favor of the deceased — an example of wishful thinking in art! Thanks to Vicky Shecter, author of Alexander the Great Rocks the World, who did a super job leading us through the galleries. On an interesting personal note, it turns out the Carlos Museum got many of their Egyptian pieces from the Niagara Falls Museum, where my wife used to go as a child growing up in Rochester, so I got to see the collection that first got her interested in Egypt. Cool!
The book signing itself was in a church on the campus of Emory University — a beautiful setting. We had around 1200 people, I understand, but the signing line went fast thanks to the efficient staff and patient families. I got to meet a lot of campers from Camp Half-Blood Decatur, and hear about Little Shop of Stories’ plans for Camp Kane this summer. I can see why the camps have already sold out. They sound fantastic.
Saturday I did a signing at Borders in Marieta, just north of Atlanta, and again we had a huge crowd, but everyone was patient and just happy to be there. I collected a ton of fun stuff from fans — school reports, pictures, letters, even some blue candy! I love hearing from parents that my books got their kids reading. That never gets old. Our media escort Esther (patron goddess of authors visiting Atlanta) took us to a great little barn/garden/restaurant in a beautiful residential area north of the city, where we ate fried green tomatoes, naturally, and other Southern delicacies.
Saturday night I arrived in Toronto, Canada — the first time I’d ever visited the city except for one time just driving through many years ago. It was cold and snowing just lightly, which seemed bizarre in May, even for Toronto. The natives assured me this was not normal weather for this time of year.
Sunday morning I got to visit two great independent children’s bookstores, Mabel’s Fables and The Flying Dragon. I spoke with a small group of kids at each location and signed a ton of books. The kids’ questions were great, as usual. Many of them asked if I’d ever take on Norse mythology. Believe me, I’ve been pondering that for years, and someday I’d love to, but for now, Greece and Egypt are keeping me too busy! Driving through Toronto I could appreciate how many beautiful neighborhoods the city has, though the cold would definitely be a drawback for this Texas boy.
By afternoon, the weather had turned mild and sunny for my Mother’s Day signing at Indigo in Yorkdale. I’m not sure how many people we had — hundreds and hundreds — but the store was packed and the signing line took about two hours. Special thanks to Jarrett and his family, drove who 6 1/2 hours from Thunder Bay as a birthday celebration. I was told Jarrett had a choice between a new bike and a trip to the event in Toronto, and he chose the trip. What an honor! We made sure he got some signed posters along with his signed Red Pyramid. I hope he had a safe trip home. I also got to meet many teachers and librarians who had been sharing the books with their students. It was a warm welcome indeed.
This morning I taped an interview with six local grade 5 students and the anchor of Canada-AM, which I’m told will air on CTV tomorrow. I also did a couple of media interviews and signed enough stock at the H.B. Fenn distributors to build a small fort.
Now it’s off to Minneapolis for an event tonight in Wayzata. Looking forward to the week, as I head through Chicago, Louisville, and eventually back to Texas for events in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. Thanks to everyone who’s come out to the book signings. It has been so fun meeting the young readers and hearing their stories. And so many ask, “When is the next Kane Chronicles book?” So I guess I did okay with Red Pyramid! More news later in the week. Happy reading.

Rick Riordan