Frequently Asked Questions

Click any of the questions below to reveal Rick’s responses.

Books & Series

How many books are in the Percy Jackson series, and would you please write more than that?
Percy Jackson & the Olympians is a five book series. The main story that started in The Lightning Thief is wrapped up in The Last Olympian. I believe it’s important for a series to have a strong ending, and I always knew that Percy’s story would be five books. I’m so glad everyone enjoyed the series, but if I tried to keep it going longer it just would not be as exciting. All good things must end, guys!

Having said that, I had a ton of ideas from Greek mythology that I could not fit into the Percy Jackson series, and there were many other stories about the characters at Camp Half-Blood that I wanted to explore. Because of this, I launched the Heroes of Olympus series, starting with The Lost Hero in October 2010. Many of your favorite characters from PJO appear again in those books, but there is also a cast of new main characters. I know you’re thinking it's not the same, but that’s exactly the point; I didn’t want it to be the same. A story has to keep developing to be fresh, and if the author gets bored, the reader will get bored too. If you haven't read Heroes of Olympus yet, try it! I promise it’s not the end for Percy and the gang; it’s a new twist.

And following Heroes of Olympus, you visit Percy's world again in The Trials of Apollo series. Again, different approach, the whole thing being told from Apollo's point of view as a mortal teenager, but all the characters from PJO and HoO show up in Trials. This is where you find out what's going on with them next.
Where did you get your inspiration for the Percy Jackson series?
My son Haley asked me to tell him some bedtime stories about the gods and heroes. I had taught Greek myths for many years, so I was glad to comply. When I ran out of myths, he was disappointed and asked me if I could make up something new with the same characters.

I thought about it for a few minutes. Then I remembered a creative writing project I used to do with my sixth graders — I would let them create their own demigod hero, the son or daughter of any god they wanted, and have them describe a Greek-style quest for that hero. Off the top of my head, I made up Percy Jackson and told Haley all about his quest to recover Zeus’ lightning bolt in modern day America. It took about three nights to tell the whole story, and when I was done, Haley told me I should write it out as a book.

I had a lot to do already, but I somehow found the time to write the first Percy Jackson book over the next year. I just really enjoyed writing it. The story was such fun, and so different from my adult fiction, that I found myself spending a lot of time on it. Now, I’m sure glad I did!
Would you ever do crossover stories with characters from different series?
Because of your interest, I decided to write a series of short stories in which the Kane children meet the demigods. In the first, "The Son of Sobek," Carter Kane meets Percy Jackson.In the second, "The Staff of Serapis," Sadie Kane meets Annabeth Chase. The third crossover story, "The Crown of Ptolemy," brings all four characters together.

Annabeth and Percy also make cameos in the Magnus Chase series, since Magnus is Annabeth's cousin.

I know there is interest in a big Avengers-type mash-up with characters from all the different series together. Maybe some day I'll write a book like that, but that would be pretty complicated!
Why are there different authors for the 39 Clues book?
There are ten books in the 39 Clues series. I designed the general story arc for the whole series and authored the first book, Maze of Bones, but the other books were published in such rapid succession — roughly one book every three months — that it would've been impossible for me or any other author to write them all. The editorial team worked with each author to make sure the story and the characters stayed consistent, but they also allowed each author to bring their own personal flair to the story. I think it turned out great!
How can I get a signed book?
The only bad part about the books being so popular is that it no longer possible for me to accommodate requests for signed books. Whenever a new book is released, I always pre-sign several thousand copies that are sent to various bookstores. You may be able to snag one that way if you order from your favorite bookseller. I also post my public events on social media. Most of these events happen around the time a new book is released. If you don’t live close to an event, you can contact a store that is hosting me and pre-order signed books. Most stores that host an event for me will take your order, get your books signed on the day I do my event, then ship the books to you.

At the actual book events, there are always signed books available for sale, but I am NOT able to sign and personalize all the books that every fan brings from home because of the size of the crowd and the number of books. It makes me sad that I can't do that anymore, but it just isn't possible to get through a signing line that big in a single event.

Finally, please don’t attempt to mail your books to me for signature. I get too many requests to accommodate shipments of books, and by the time they get to me (if they get to me) they tend to be in pretty bad shape.


If two demigods had a child, would that child be a quarter-blood, a demigod or what?
Most half-bloods at Camp Half-Blood don’t live long enough to have children. Their lives are simply too dangerous. If they did have children, the kids would probably pass for normal mortals, since the godly powers get diluted with each generation. If the parents were extremely strong, the child might be more like a demigod. At Camp Jupiter, things are a bit different, as you know if you've read The Heroes of Olympus. In classical mythology, the children of demigods were simply called 'demigods.'
Would you name a character after me?
I understand that it's cool to imagine yourself in a story you like. However, I don't name characters after real people, except very rarely when it's someone I know personally, perhaps a former student of mine who has an interesting name. I get many, many requests like this. If I named characters to honor requests, I'd have to have about ten thousand characters in each book. Still, if you happen to come across a character with your name in my books, you're welcome to adopt them!
Where DO you get your character names?
Most of them are simply names I like — names I think will sound good in a book.

Percy is short for Perseus, the old Greek hero. I know the original Perseus was the son of Zeus, but as explained in The Sea of Monsters, Percy's mom named him this because Perseus is one of the few heroes who has a happy ending (in most versions).

Jackson is a name I've always been fond of. My grandfather's nickname was Jack. Also, Jackson was the name of my protagonist in the adult mystery series I began writing in 1997, which featured private eye Jackson "Tres" Navarre. I just thought it sounded good with Percy.

Annabeth is a name I made up. I've never known anyone named Annabeth, though I've met a few fans with that name since. Also, Annabeth is modeled after Atalanta, the most famous Greek heroine, who is also described as a blond warrior with fierce eyes.

Grover? I don't know. I guess I watched too much Sesame Street as a child.

Some names were picked as shout-outs to people I knew. Mrs. Dodds is based (loosely) on a real Mrs. Dodds who taught math at the school where I worked. Mr. Brunner was the Latin teacher there. Connor Stoll, Travis Stoll, and Charles Beckendorf are all former students of mine. I also had students named Miranda and Nico.

But like I said, most names I pick because they just work well. I also have to be careful not to have too many names with the same first letter. It would get confusing, for instance, if everyone's name started with 'S' — Sam, Sean, Shaw, Sally, and Susan.
How did you decide on Nico's character development in House of Hades? (SPOILER)
Here's my statement concerning Nico in The House of Hades:

One of the most important reasons I became a teacher was to advocate for marginalized children — those who are bullied or misunderstood, those who feel lost and alone. As a middle school student myself, I certainly felt that anguish. As a middle school teacher, it was critical to me that all my students saw my classroom as a safe, supportive environment where they could be honored for who they were and express themselves without fear.

I’ve taken the same approach with my writing. It’s essential to me that young readers find a variety of relatable, positive role models in my books. Every child can be a hero. No child should be shamed or shunned for being different.

Nico’s sexual orientation became clear to me the longer I wrote about his character. It was not something I planned. I had no agenda. But when I realized this was a major part of his life experience and the reason for so many of his difficulties with the other characters, it would have been a disservice to his character, the plot of the books, and all my readers simply to sweep the issue under the rug and pretend it didn’t exist. Turning a blind eye to children’s needs is never an acceptable answer.

I’ve been lucky enough to teach all sorts of students — fifth grade to twelfth grade, rich and poor, from numerous ethnic backgrounds, with diverse religious traditions and a variety of learning differences. I’ve also taught gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. Some self-identified as early as elementary school. Some came to terms with their sexual orientation later in high school. Most had a hard time during the middle grades, which are tough years for any child. All my middle school students enriched my classroom. They made me a better teacher and a better writer for children, and they all deserve my support.

I am committed to writing appropriate books for the middle grades. This means no bad language, no gratuitous or explicit violence, and no sexual content beyond what you might find in a PG-rated movie — expressions of who likes whom, holding hands, and perhaps the occasional kiss. The idea that we should treat sexual orientation itself as an adults-only topic, however, is absurd. Non-heterosexual children exist. To pretend they do not, to fail to recognize that they have needs for support and validation like any child, would be bad teaching, bad writing, and bad citizenship.

Having said that, a good book, like a good classroom, should raise questions, not insist on a particular set of answers. It certainly should not ignore difficult questions. Whatever a family’s moral and religious beliefs on the topic of sexual orientation, I hope The House of Hades will provide an opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about what they believe, and why they believe it. Most importantly, I hope the story continues to entertain and keeps kids reading!

Upcoming Releases

When does the next book come out?
I usually only get release date information for the US, Canada and the UK. Those dates will be posted on the website and on my social media accounts as soon as they are available. If you live in another country, your best bet is to contact a local bookseller or the publisher of the series in your country. (The publisher is listed at the front of each book and on the book's spine.)
Can you please release the next book faster? I can't wait that long!
I really appreciate your enthusiasm. Unfortunately, I can't release the next book until it is written. Trust me, I'm writing as fast as I possibly can without sacrificing quality. Normally it takes me one full year to write each book. I'm trying my best to speed that up, but it's a slow process to make a book and get it right. Readers will always be able to read faster than I can write. Believe me, I want the books to be done as much as you do. I'm not keeping any complete manuscripts locked up on my computer just to be mean. If the book isn't out yet, that's because it isn't done yet!
I don't live in the U.S. When does the next book come out in my country, and where can I buy it?
I usually only get information about the U.S. and U.K. editions, which come out at the same time. (This applies to Canada, New Zealand and Australia, too.) I don't know the publication schedules for all the other countries where my books are published. For information about the books in your country, your best bet is to ask a local bookseller. Usually booksellers can look up that information and tell you when the next book is coming out. Sometimes they can also special order books if the books are not in their inventory. I hope you're able to find what you're looking for!

Movies and TV

I have a questions or comment about the Percy Jackson movies.
I really wasn't part of that process. I can only tell you that the movie Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, released Feb. 12, 2010 and directed by Chris Columbus, was loosely based on my book The Lightning Thief. I did not write the script or help make the movie. I didn't even see it, because I didn't want the movie version to change the way I saw my characters or settings in the series.

The same applies to the Sea of Monsters movie in August of 2013. I read the script but never saw the film. I know nothing else about it.

Recently, I released some of the original emails I sent to the producers of the movies to give you an inside look at what was going on. You can read them here.
Did you have any control over the movie?
No. When an author sells the rights to a book, typically full creative control goes to the movie studio and director — in this case, Fox 2000 and Chris Columbus. The movie rights to Lightning Thief were sold before the book was even published. I made the decision to sell the rights so early because it brought lots of public attention to the books and helped the series catch on. However, once the movie rights are sold, the author has no control over what happens in the movie. They let me read a version of the script and make some suggestions, but that was the extent of my involvement.
Gasp! You mean the author of the book doesn't control the movie? Why not?
It's VERY rare for an author to be involved in a movie version or have any input whatsoever. Sure, there are exceptions, but they are just that: exceptions. There are many reasons for this. Movies and books are different forms of storytelling. Film makers figure they know more about making movies than the author does, so most of the time, they insist on total control.

I explain it this way: Selling someone the movie rights to your book is a lot like selling someone your house. Once you sell it, it isn't yours anymore. You have to move out and let the new owners move in. If you insisted on a bunch of conditions before you sold it, like: "You have to let me control what color you paint the house, how you decorate it, how you remodel it, and oh yes, you have to let me continue to live there," well, most people wouldn't agree to buy a house with all those restrictions, would they? When you buy a house, you want to have control to do what you want with it. You could repaint it, remodel it, even tear it down and build something entirely new. The old owners wouldn't have any say in the matter.

Movie rights work the same way. If someone says, "Why did you let them do blah, blah, blah in your movie?" All I can do is shrug. It's not a matter of "letting them" do anything. It's not "my movie." It's not my house anymore. The new owners can do whatever they want. After all, they didn't purchase the rights for *me* to make a movie. They purchased the rights for *them* to make a movie. I wish them the best, but movie-making is not my thing. I have no interest in it. Besides, I may be biased as a novelist, but I believe if you have a book, you already have the best version of the story. There is no way a movie can ever create images as good as the ones you actively create in your imagination as you read.
I want to be an actor/ Do you have any information on casting?
I don't have any shortcuts to share, because there aren't any. I am not an expert on acting, but I have come to appreciate just how hard actors work and how hard it is for them to break through and get jobs. It is a lifetime commitment, and for young actors, it's also a commitment their entire family has to make. Much like writing a book, acting is something that a lot of people dream about doing because it sounds cool, but the actual doing is super hard, which is why so few people succeed. And like writing a book, people will take you more seriously if you have worked very hard, gotten acting jobs on your own through grit and determination, and managed to secure an agent who represents you. This shows that you have the fortitude for the work.

In terms of the Percy Jackson TV show in particular, most of the roles have to go to Canadian actors because we are filming in Canada. That's a provincial law and a requirement of the B.C. film board. So if you're not a Canadian citizen, it's already very, very difficult to be considered. Even the smallest of walk-on roles go to Canadian actors, and most of them do this for a living. Our quota of non-Canadian actors gets filled almost instantly. Secondly, as I said above, acting is hard work. If you are not already committed to acting for a living, have a history of roles, and have gotten yourself an agent, it's almost impossible to get considered. We don't really do open auditions, because there are already hundreds and thousands of working actors clamoring for parts, and they have already put in the work and know how to navigate the casting system, so the directors know they can do a good job. (Even the youngest actors have been doing this for years.) We did open auditions for some of the major roles at the very beginning of the process, but honestly, it wasn't even close. No one who wasn't already a committed actor even came near to competing against those actors who have made this their lives' work.

So again, if you want to get cast in any show, there are no shortcuts. Put in the work. Years of hard work. Become an actor. Get a reputable agent. Then the agent will start walking you through the very difficult process of doing auditions. Work your way up from small parts to bigger parts. That is the only way.
There was a Percy live musical! What did you think about that?
I didn't see the musical, because I just have a really hard time seeing adaptations of my work. However, the fans of the books LOVE the musical. Because of that, I love it too! I know the musical tried to be very faithful to the story and according to those who have seen it, they nailed it!
What about the TV show?
Becky and I recently re-engaged with 20th Television (now part of Disney) to reboot Percy Jackson as a TV for streaming on Disney+.  You can follow the latest developments when they are posted to my social accounts!

Events & Contact

I'm interested in booking an event with Rick Riordan. How do I do this?
Unfortunately because of my writing schedule, I’m no longer booking events. I only do public events as part of the formal book tour each time a new book comes out. These are all arranged by the publisher many months in advance, not by me. While I visited hundreds of schools in the past and loved meeting young readers, the travel was hard on my family and my writing deadlines suffered. Because of this, I no longer arrange any events outside the book tours — this includes school visits, online events (Skype, Zoom, etc.), book fairs, private functions and any other type of event. Right now the most important way I can connect with young readers is to write the best books I can as quickly as I can, but thanks for your interest!
Will you ever do an event in my city/state/country?
I love meeting my readers! The only bad thing is that there is only one of me and there are so many places to visit. Each time a book comes out, the publisher schedules a tour, but we usually only have time to go to eight cities at the maximum, and that's just for the U.S. The publisher decides where to send me. I don't make the tour. They try to send me to different places each time, but still, they can't possibly send me everywhere. That means it's unlikely I'll be in your area on any given tour.

I'm never able to travel internationally for tours just because I have to spend most of my time writing, and travel is very time-consuming. I'd love to visit all the countries where my books are published, but if I did that, it would take me five to ten years to write each book, and I don't think you want to wait that long! So, no, if you live outside North America, you will not see me on tour.

Remember you can order signed books from any store that hosts an event, however, as described above. Most stores ships internationally.
I know it says I can't email you, but can I email you anyway?
I’m sorry, but I can’t respond to emails and I don't share my email address. Like Percy, I’m pretty ADHD, and it's simply too easy for me to get distracted from my writing. The best way that I can communicate with you is by writing the best story I can for you to read, and writing it as quickly as I can. That’s what I’m working on. Thanks for understanding!
Do you ever read fan fiction?
No, never. I am aware of fanfic, but I go out of my way to avoid it. For one thing, it's legally tricky ground. I can't actively endorse anyone else using my copyrighted material. I also don't want anyone claiming later on, "Hey, you got that idea from my fan fiction!"Aside from that, I have to admit I find fan fiction a little unsettling. It's like somebody getting into my closet and trying on my clothes. It's just weird seeing someone else try to write about my characters. Then again, I can't listen to the audio versions of my books. It drives me crazy hearing another voice beside my own narrating my stories. And, as I've explained many times, I also couldn't watch the Percy Jackson movie for much the same reason.

Other FAQ

Is there really a Camp Half-Blood, and can you make one in my town?
I know of a few summer programs inspired by Camp Half-Blood, but I don’t run the camps myself so I can’t give you any information. You’d need to contact the people in charge. I do not officially endorse or license any of these camps, and am not involved with them in any way. Running a camp takes a huge amount of time and energy, which is why only a few places in the US have them. It’d be cool if I had strike teams ready to deploy and set up camps across the country, but alas, I don’t.
Can I get Camp Half-Blood t-shirt?
Many years ago, I used to give out Camp Half-Blood t-shirts for freebies at events, but I can't do that anymore. It caused problems, because I could only give out a few, and some people who didn't get t-shirts felt really bad or parents got upset. Those t-shirts are long gone! Occasionally the publisher will print T-shirts for promotional giveaways at events, but I don't have any extras to share.

I don't sell t-shirts. It's just not something I have the time or inclination to do, since most of my time needs to be spent writing the books, right?

However, many fans make their own Camp Half-Blood t-shirts, and they are much more creative than anything I could come up with. If you want to do that, go for it! You will also see unlicensed shirts for sale online, but be aware I have nothing to do with such products and they are not sanctioned by me or Disney.
I'm doing a report for school. Can you give me some information?
The website has a ton of information for school reports. for biographical information on me. I can’t do individual interviews for school reports because I get way too many requests, but do some searching around the website and you should find everything you need. And please be careful of using Wikipedia. It's very often wrong. Good luck with your project!
I need something else to read! Can you recommend any books?
You bet! The best place to go is my Goodreads page, where I have reviews for hundreds of books I've enjoyed, both children's and adult titles.
You got something wrong from Greek mythology! Why?
Ha! I love my readers because you guys are very astute and you know your mythology.

But wait, what do you mean by "wrong"? Remember Greek mythology has been around for thousands of years, and it was retold over and over again, the details changing as different storytellers brought the myths to different cities. There are so many different versions of each myth. You may have read one version from a mythology book, but that doesn't mean it is the "right" version or the only version. I tend to pick the version I like best, and the one that fits best into Percy Jackson's world.

For instance: Some myths say Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera. Others claim he was the son of only Hera, with no father. Hephaestus was either born ugly, or he became ugly when he was thrown down the mountain — depends on which version you read. Either Hera threw him down, or Zeus did. In some versions, he fell down Mount Olympus twice! Again, depends on the version you read.

Which version is "right"? Pick the one you like best! But that doesn't mean the other versions are wrong. They are just different. I stick pretty closely to the myths, but I do favor some versions over others. Where I do bend the stories — like giving Athena demigod children or making Percy the son of Poseidon — I try to explain myself in the books.
What about writing books based on other mythologies, like Indian or Chinese?
So many great mythologies! I'm not an expert on all of them, though, and I think it's better to let a writer who know those subjects write about them. That's one of the reasons I started the imprint Rick Riordan Presents. You can read about it here.
Do you have any advice for writers?
You bet! Most importantly: read a lot. You'll learn how to craft a good story by reading a wide variety of different styles and genres. The best writers are voracious readers.

Second, write a lot. Writing is like a sport. To get better, you must practice. Build your writing muscles by writing a little bit every day. Also, don't think what you write has to be perfect on the first draft. No writer ever born could write a perfect first draft. The main thing is to finish what you start. Then go back and revise, and revise, and revise. How do you tackle writer's block? Plan what you're going to write before you write it! Sketch out the main points. That way you won't get to the middle and lose steam (well, maybe not as much, anyway). Power through! It's always more fun and easier to start a story than to finish it, because finishing is hard work. I have two binders full of half-finished stories from when I was young. It was a long time before I ever forced myself to finish something.

Finally, Don't give up! I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was twelve. It took me seventeen years before I was published. My first book was rejected thirteen times before it was accepted by a publisher. Even after that, I had to be a professional writer for ten more years before I came up with the idea for Percy Jackson and was able to become a full-time writer! Very rarely, you'll hear about writers getting published when they are thirteen or sixteen or eighteen, but that is EXTREMELY uncommon. Most writers have to work much longer to perfect their craft. Don't get discouraged if you don't get published right away. Stick with it and don't give up.

You shouldn't even think about publishing or submitting a story until you have one finished. No one will want to talk to you until you have a finished product, because that's the first test you have to pass. Can you actually finish something? Anyone can have a good idea. Many people can write a few good pages. Very few can actually finish a manuscript. Once you have a completed manuscript, then and only then you should get a copy of the Writers' Market, available in many libraries and bookstores. This is an excellent how-to guide that will walk you through the process of getting published and provide a list of possible agents and publishers.

The website has a more complete section with advice for writers here.

You can also read this speech I wrote for a writers' convention some years ago. It has more advice.

Please note that I’m not able to read and provide individual comments on people’s stories because I get WAY too many requests. I have to spend most of my time on my own writing, but hopefully the advice on the website will help you!
I love the series so much I'd like to continue writing the books myself. Can I have permission to use your characters and ideas?
I’m honored you like the series so much, and I get this question frequently, but my publisher would be pretty upset if I gave anyone else permission to write about Percy's world. If you’re writing stories just for your own amusement and not planning to publish or share them, that’s no big deal. But if you are hoping to write a book that would be published some day, you need to come up with your own characters, settings, and stories. Of course, Greek mythology itself is thousands of years old. Anyone can write about the gods and monsters. Perhaps you can come up with your own original spin on that material.
My question isn't answered here!
But wait, there's more! Be sure to check the interview with Rick for more.