The final battle in The Last Olympian takes most of the book, but it doesn’t lose the emotion or feel boring at any time. Is this kind of scenes challenging to write? If not, what kind of scene do you think is the most difficult to get right?
That was a very different book to write, more like The Iliad, which is all about the siege of Troy. It was challenging to keep up the pace and yet still provide space for the characters to interact and grow. I’m glad if you think the balance worked out.
One of the strongest points in the Percy Jackson books is the combination of action and humor. Is it easy to combine these two ingredients? How do you find the balance between laughing-out-loud moments and gasping-for-air scenes?
I don’t consciously think about it, but I try to write the sort of story I’d like to read. Humor and action are two things I’m drawn to. My sense of timing, and the need for humor, is something I learned in my own classroom. I was always a storyteller with my students. I quickly had to learn how to keep the attention of a class full of twelve-year-olds.
How about a wink to the Spanish fans? Can you give us a famous Spanish demigod’s name?
Oh, I’m pretty sure Hernán Cortés was a son of Ares, and Salvador Dalí was a son of Dionysus, because he must have had some crazy visions to inspire his art. Miguel de Cervantes was no doubt inspired by the Nine Muses. Possibly he was a child of Apollo.
When did you have the idea for Heroes of Olympus? Had you already finished writing Percy Jackson and the Olympians?
By the fourth Percy Jackson book, it was clear to me that I had much more material than I could possibly fit into the Percy Jackson story arc. I thought it would be fun to return to Percy’s world, but from a different angle, with new characters as well as returning characters.
In Percy Jackson and the Olympians and in The Kane Chronicles as well you use a first-person narrator. Why did you decide to switch to a third-person narrator for Heroes of Olympus? What pros and cons had the change?
Heroes of Olympus has a large cast of main characters because of the seven demigods mentioned in the new prophecy. Third-person narration allows the reader to get to know all the characters more intimately.
Having read The Lost Hero, the second book’s title has a new signification. A few days ago you announced in your twitter that Son of Neptune was finished. Who is going to be the main character?
The Son of Neptunei s structured like The Lost Hero. It has three narrators. Yes, one is Percy Jackson. Beyond that, you’ll have to wait and see!
Is Heroes of Olympus targeted for readers a couple of years older than Percy Jackson and the Olympians? Will we find more love in this new series?
No, I didn’t intentionally target it for older readers, but Percy is older in this series simply because I’ve been writing about him for five books already. The ages are a mix, but I tend to keep my characters between 12-16, because those are the ages I taught, and the ages I know best. My own sons are 13 and 16, as well.
The Red Pyramid will be published in Spain this fall. We know that it tells the adventure of two siblings, and that it's somehow related to Egyptian Gods. Which are the main differences that readers will find between this saga and Percy Jackson?
Egyptian mythology is not as well known as Greek, but it’s every bit as fascinating. The book has two narrators, Carter and Sadie, who are brother and sister, and they have very different personalities. Readers will discover a lot about Ancient Egyptian magic, which is pretty amazing stuff – and all based on actual artifacts and stories.
The protagonists of your novels usually have cool parents, and some are involved in the adventures. You are a parent... Are you trying to send a message?
Not that I’m aware of, but I’m rather fond of my own parents, and as a father, it’s vital that my own sons enjoy the stories. They were originally written for my sons, after all. They are my best editors!
You are obviously very fond of mythology. Have you considered writing novels based on North European or South American cultures? Could Odin or Ketzalcoalt appear in your future projects?
I’d love to tackle other mythologies. It’s just a question of time. At the moment, my hands are quite full.
What made you participate in 39 clues, a collective project? Which are the advantages and disadvantages of working with so many people instead of working on your own?
I was intrigued by the idea of making history fun for young readers. My own part was simply to come up with the ideas and write the first book, so I didn’t collaborate directly with the other authors. The editors did that. I found it a nice change of pace to do project like that.
After publishing a series as successful as Percy Jackson, many authors disappear and never publish again. They seem to be afraid not to meet readers' expectations. Is that why you (or your publisher) decided to publish The Red Pyramid before finishing Percy Jackson? Do you think that, in that way, it is important to have other books besides Percy Jackson's world?
Of course that’s always a concern. I simply resigned myself to the idea that I would probably be known as the Percy Jackson author forever, and that’s fine. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reception of the Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus. The fans have been quite happy to follow me into new series.
Rick's reading recommendations (in your website) evidence the fact that you read a lot of kids and young adult books. What's your opinion about the trends we are seeing in YA (magic, paranormal romance, dystopias...)? Which do you think will be the next trend?
I have no idea about upcoming trends. If certainly would not have been able to predict the trends we’ve seen recently. I just try to do my best to write the books I enjoy, and hope the readers will enjoy them too.
Your last adult novel was published in 2007. Are you longing to go back to adult literature? In your opinion, what's the best part of writing for teenagers?
Not really. I think writing for kids was a natural evolution for me, combining my writing experience and my classroom experience. It’s just surprising it took me so long to realize that! The best thing about writing for kids is that I have a chance to do more than just entertain. I can turn kids into readers for life if I do my job well!
We'd ask if you're going to visit Spain, but we know you don't have enough time (you write really fast and we appreciate it) and all your visits are announced on your website. But, if by any chance you want to take a vacation, go to the beach, the mountain, enjoy the sun... Spain is one of the best tourist destinations!
I would very much like the visit Spain some day. Sadly, this won’t be soon, since my writing Schedule is so hectic, but I hope to get there eventually.