From Massachusetts to New York

The last two days in Massachusetts have been great. We arrived in Northampton for an event with Odyssey Bookshop. Cute town! All kinds of funky shops on Main Street, and we arrived in time for the Pride Parade on Saturday morning, so the crowd in town was buoyant and colorful to say the least. We had a sunny day, and the event was held at the beautiful campus of Mount Holyoke. Not sure how many people we had – hundreds and hundreds – but we definitely filled the auditorium. We had some great costumes in the crowd: Sadies, Zias, Annabeths, and a sprinkling of monsters and gods. Lots of fun! Special thanks to Mo Willems and family, who had me over for dinner afterwards, despite the fact that Mo himself was just back from tour. What a treat to have a home-cooked meal with friends in the middle of a week of travel.

Yesterday we drove into Cape Cod, where I hadn’t been in twenty-five years, since Becky and I were on our honeymoon road trip. Still as beautiful as I remember (Becky and Cape Cod, take your pick!). The Titcomb Bookstore has a tradition of taking a picture of visiting authors in front of a colonial guy’s statue in front of the store. Unfortunately the original colonial dude was recently run over by a car, so I had to take my picture with his wooden stunt double. Oh well, better the statue get run over than the author. Our event at the local high school had over a thousand people, which is pretty incredible for off-season Cape Cod and Mother’s Day! The local kids did some fabulous hieroglyphic artwork to decorate the stage and presented me with a lightning bolt award – the first ever ‘Sandwich Children’s Choice Award.’ (Sandwich being the town, not the meal.) We had more terrific costumes in the crowd, including Cleopatra and a satyr with horns and beard. Everyone was so nice and welcoming.

Some of my favorite questions:

Q: How many times did you . . . um . . . print this book?

A: Well, I think the first printing for Throne of Fire was about 1.5 million.

Q: No, I mean . . . um . . . how many times did you revise it?

A: Oh! Yes, the answer is about the same.

Q: Would you make the next book thicker, please?

A: I don’t want to make them much longer than they already are. I didn’t really plan it, but Lost Hero and Red Pyramid were over 500 pages, and that’s about the outer limit of what I want to write, since I don’t want the story to drag. Also, if I made them any longer, you’d have to wait longer for me to finish them, and I don’t think you want that!

Q: Would you ever do something on Norse mythology?

A: This is definitely the question du jour because of the Thor film. Believe me, I’ve had ideas for a Norse series for many years, long before the film came out. The problem is finding the time to write it. Maybe once I’ve finished the two series I’ve got going, I can turn to that, but right now my hands are full. Haven’t seen the Thor movie yet, as I’ve been on tour, but I plan to. I grew up on the Thor comics. Like the film, the comics take some pretty huge liberties with the Norse myths, but they’re still fun.

Today we’re off to Rhinebeck, New York, for a sold-out event with Oblong Books. I think there is still standing room available, however, so if you want to join the signing line and you live in the area, please come by!

And it bears repeating I don’t make the tour! I just go where the publisher sends me. It’s been wonderful visiting so many great places I’ve never been, but sadly the tour has to be short so I can get back to writing. I appreciate all the invitations and pleas to visit your town, state or country. But with a book coming out every six months, I can’t do much traveling. The most important thing right now is to get the books finished so you guys don’t have to wait! Thanks for all the great feedback on Throne of Fire, too. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it!

Rick Riordan