To quote the beginning of an old Cole Porter song Anything Goes: “Times have changed.”
Nevertheless, heading into next week, there are things to be grateful for, whether or not you are formally celebrating Thanksgiving. Here’s a rundown of some of those things from the Riordan family this week.
The animals are healthy and happy
Autumn means colder temps outside, but warmer temps inside. The pandemic has meant that their humans are home all the time, providing warm laps, company, treats, and reassurance. The cats, Little Boy and Tribble, are best buddies, even though they are temperamental opposites. Speedy is spending a lot of time snoozing on her bed by the fireplace in my office, “helping” me write. It doesn’t matter how many times I arrange her bedding so it is more ergonomic, she always ends up sort of spilling off the side.
The humans are healthy and happy
We are lucky that we work from home. Unlike so many, we are blessed to have resources to weather the pandemic storm. We have also never been happier to be extreme introverts. Social distancing is pretty much the norm for us even when it is not required. We are the types of folks who find socializing an exhausting experience rather than energizing or uplifting. As someone who knows us well recently told us, “You’ve been training your whole life for this pandemic.” And it’s true. I spend the days reading, writing, practicing my language skills. We work out at home. I nap. Becky bakes homemade bread and cookies (pictured above) along with homemade pizza from scratch and every other tasty thing. Somehow we have not doubled in weight yet, but not for lack of trying! We walk the dog. We always wear masks outside. Most every night our sons come over for a family dinner and a game of Scrabble. (You’d think I would always win, being a word guy. You would be very wrong.) Sure, we miss traveling and going out to eat, but not badly enough to risk a serious illness. We can wait. So I am thankful to be where we are in our lives during this strange and chaotic time. And every night we enjoy a lovely sunset over the Charles River!
Projects are moving along
I think we are getting close to a finished script for the pilot episode of the Percy Jackson television show. It has been a long, difficult process, but it is so important to get this right, and I am grateful to have had the time and the support. We have now had our team in place for six months. We have used that time to get to know each other, learn to work together, agree on the most important elements of the show, sketch out several outlines for the first season, create an approved outline for episode one (which was a huge process in itself) and write the script. This has truly been a team effort. The difference this time around is I actually feel like I’m on the team. I am lucky to be working with people who know the TV process well, understand the importance of a good adaptation, and are helping me learn this new format. I am optimistic we will get there. As I said, though, it requires time and patience. I know you are curious about things like casting. Right now, though, that’s like trying to put candles on a birthday cake that is still just a bowl full of batter. We’re not there yet! I will, of course, keep you updated as best I can. Assuming the pilot script is accepted, the next step, as I understand it, would be getting the series officially “green lighted,” which would mean moving into high gear on many different fronts at once. Hopefully that is a bit of good news we will get in early 2021. We’ll see!
On the Kane Chronicles Netflix feature film, our screenwriter is working away on the script, but no other news yet. Similar process to the one described above. Keep fingers crossed!
I’m also grateful that this has been the year when we brought Percy Jackson’s world to a close, at least as far as major series go, with the Tower of Nero. I hope you guys enjoyed/will enjoy the book. I am satisfied with how it ended and have so loved my time with all the characters.
I continue to write. My next project will be a stand-alone that is not mythology-related. I will, at some point, write a book based on Irish mythology. I have many other stand-alone projects in mind, including side adventures for some of the characters in Percy’s world. I will stay busy doing what I love, which is writing stories.
The Rick Riordan Presents imprint family is thriving
Our second year of the imprint has been even more incredible than the first! Tehlor Kay Mejia’s Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, pictured above, was just named an Amazon best children’s book of 2020, and for good reason! We are approaching the two million mark for number of books in print across all our titles. Mind-blowing! And we have an even stronger 2021 to look forward to. Be sure to follow readriordan.com for all the upcoming titles, and if you’re still not quite sure what Rick Riordan Presents is about, you can get the lowdown on my site! I am so grateful to be part of the team getting these incredible books into the hands of young readers.
I’ve had some great media interviews!
In this year of Zoom dialogues and virtual everything, I’ve been lucky to spend time with some great interviewers and media outlets. A big high five to my buddies over at the Half Blood Report. We had some great conversations together before and after the release of Tower of Nero!
I got to do a guest blog post for Barnes & Noble about how to beat writer’s block. If you want my best tips, learned from a lifetime of writing and Advil, check ’em out!
And I got to do an interview with The Hindu newspaper, which has been a long-time supporter of the Percy Jackson series in India. We covered lots of ground from Percy to Apollo to Hollywood!
Finally, this article is not about me, but the recent New York Times feature about Mo Willems brought me so much joy. He’s such an amazing talent and creative force, I feel fortunate that our careers have run in tandem for so many years at Disney Publishing so I’ve had the chance to watch him in action!
There are still so many books to read
I am grateful for books, and the stories they allow us to explore. If you are looking for gifts this holiday season, for yourself or for others, I recommend supporting an independent bookseller! They are the lifeblood of the publishing world in so many ways. This has been a massively challenging year for them, as it has been for so many small businesses. They are dedicated and passionate about matching young readers to books they will love. If you don’t have a local independent bookstore in your area, finding one that ships books is easy! Check IndieBound for a good directory!
We have a new social media guru!
I feel so fortunate that Ashlee Latimer was willing to step in to run my social media accounts just as I was stepping back from social media. She knows the fandom so well. She keeps you guys in the loop with the best posts and the latest news. And this has allowed me to concentrate on other things I love and need to get done, not the least of which is the adaptation process for Percy! So everybody give Ashlee a round of applause. We should all be grateful for her presence at Camp Half-Blood!
My readers are wonderful
Finally, as always, I am grateful for my readers. You all have made this journey for me, and you have made the books your own and taken them farther than I ever could have. Stay positive. Find joy where you can. And to those celebrating, Happy Thanksgiving!