Greetings from Athena House, Riordan family headquarters in Boston! I hope your 2017 is off to a safe and healthy start.
As I come up for a brief gulp of air between writing projects, I thought I’d take a moment to update you all! Below are some personal goings-on, book goings-on, and miscellaneous news and thoughts.
We spent the holidays in Poseidon’s territory, visiting several islands in the Caribbean. What a treat!
On Christmas Day we found ourselves in Nevis, so I had to pay my respects to the birthplace of Mr. Hamilton.
Nevis is a beautiful but tiny place, especially quiet on Christmas as you can imagine. It’s easy to see why an ambitious young boy would dream of traveling elsewhere and visiting the more populous colony of New York. His childhood home is now a small museum.
On the island of St. John, I got a chance to reacquaint myself with scuba diving, something I hadn’t done in years. Here’s the boat we used, with mascot puppy Pepper, who was a highlight of the trip.
I got to dive in three places, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Barts — each beautiful. I didn’t spot any naiads, alas. Percy had warned me to look out for Triton, as he winters in the Caribbean, but I didn’t see him either. I did, however, run into some great sea life. (Thanks to my fellow diver Charles for sharing his pictures.)
Back on the surface, we found that a rainbow hovered over the mega-yachts in the harbor, perhaps God’s promise that blessed are the billionaires. I don’t know.
Back on St. John, we visited a local open-air market and took a photo of a rooster. We do tend to take a lot of pictures of animals because . . . well, animals. You can find this shot in my upcoming photo book The Random Chickens of St. John.
It was a great trip. Percy would have approved! And if that wasn’t enough, when we returned home we took a quick trip to NYC to see one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, Othello, at the New York Theatre Workshop, with Daniel Craig as Iago and David Oyelowo as Othello.
What a great performance, and it was a benefit for the Theatre Workshop’s education program, which made it all the better. As you can see from the photos, it was a tiny theater space. At one point, Daniel Craig sat down right next to my son Patrick. I’m not sure what Patrick thought about that . . . Kudos to the entire cast. Fabulous production.
And now I’m home, back to work! I am presently signing tip-in sheets for the autographed editions of Dark Prophecy: 15,000 by the time I’m done. Speedy is helping.
That brings me to the news about upcoming books!
If you missed the cover reveal, here is the US version for The Dark Prophecy, which comes out May 2.
You can read the first chapter here.
Wait, you ask. Rick, are those ostriches in combat helmets?
Yes. Yes, they are. Why? Wait and see . . .
Also arriving on May 2 is this, which will give you little behind-the-scenes glimpses into life at Camp Half-Blood:
And coming next fall is the third Magnus Chase title, THE SHIP OF THE DEAD, which I’m working on right now. Busy times!
As always, I don’t get release dates for the book in other countries. It usually takes a little longer (or a lot longer) depending on the translation. If you live outside the U.S., your best bet is to ask wherever you normally buy the books.
What else? If you have not heard, there is a Percy Jackson musical, The Lightning Thief, which has been touring the U.S. for several years now, but is now hitting off-Broadway in New York with an expanded cast, score and script. I hear it is awesome. Tickets go on sale Jan. 31. I know that’s a bummer if you don’t live in NYC or can’t travel there, but if you can, it’s well worth seeing. Obviously live theater is a completely different medium than a book, and yes, it’s a bit hard for me to envision Percy dancing and singing, but from everything I have heard, the adaptation is very faithful and fans of the books have been delighted with the play. That’s what I care about.
Here’s a sneak peek/listen at Chris McCarrell (Percy) singing “Good Kid.”
News of the musical has made a lot of fans ask: But, but, but…. TV!
Alas, live theater and television are two completely different things. The rights for television/film to anything involving Percy’s world, including sequels like Heroes of Olympus and Trials of Apollo, are owned solely and forever by Fox. As far as I am aware, which is not very far, they have no plans to do anything further with those rights.
I get the desire for a television show of Percy and friends. There is a trend of taking failed movies (Cough. Percy Jackson. Cough.) and rebooting them as television. If they did it right, could it be great? Sure. But what are chances of that? I’d say somewhere around zero percent.
The conversation from there goes something like this:
Fan: But can’t you buy back the rights from Fox?
Me: I tried. They declined to sell back the rights at any price.
Fan: Couldn’t another company buy the rights and make a show?
Me: I’ve asked about that too. No joy.
Fan: But why weren’t the movies more faithful? Why did you let them change the story?
Me: The book author doesn’t “let” Hollywood do anything except buy the rights or not buy the rights. When Hollywood buys the rights, those rights include the power to do whatever they want with the source material. That isn’t just the case with me. That is the standard contract all Hollywood studios insist on with all properties. If I’d sold to a different studio, it would have made no difference. The deal would’ve been the same.
Fan: But J.K. Rowling —
Me: Rowling is always the extreme exception to every rule. However, even she did not have as much power as people think she did over the movies. She has said as much. She did not control casting or scripts for the Harry Potter movies. In fact, when she got veto power over the script for Fantastic Beasts, that made international headlines because it was the first time she or any author had EVER gotten such control over a film project. It’s always wonderful when a movie or TV show is faithful, but that never happens because an author got control. It’s because the studio listened and everyone was on the same page. It is much more common for that NOT to happen. Be assured, I offered a good deal of advice and criticism and voiced my concerns about the first movie as it was being made. How much that helped, you be the judge.
Fan: But couldn’t Netflix —
Me: Netflix is an entirely different company than Fox. Could they strike some kind deal? I mean, I suppose it’s hypothetically possible, but I have absolutely no indication that will happen. Not that I would have any indication. Fox does not consult me about such things.
Fan: But couldn’t you convince them —
Me: Judging from what you’ve seen, do you really think Fox listens to me about anything?
Fan: But somebody on Netflix customer service told me it might happen!
Me: Uh-huh. And you think the random person on the chat room for customer service knows about studio decision-making? They are trying to sell you a subscription. They don’t know any more than you do.
Fan: But what if we signed a petition —
Me: Knock yourself out.
Fan: We could have a bake sale.
Me: Go for it.
Fan: . . . We’re not getting a TV show, are we?
Me: It doesn’t look like it. No.
And so, alas, that’s where we are, folks. Please don’t believe random Internet rumors. If I hear anything different from a reliable source ten or fifteen years for now, I will let you know. I would not hold your breath, though.
On that upbeat note, I will say: Happy reading! The one thing I can and do control is the quality of the books. I assure you I will do everything I can to keep those coming and keep them entertaining!