I was invited to the Library of Congress in Washington DC this week to visit with author Rick Riordan before he kicked off his national tour for his newest book, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead (Book 3). No compensation was received, but I did get to take home a copy of the book and a t-shirt…plus, he autographed my copy of The Hammer of Thor (book 2)! Amazon affiliate links are used within this post.
I was running a little late on my day trip down to the City. I blame the Metro (which always seems to take longer for my than it should) so by the time I got to the Library of Congress, it was just about time for my interview slot. Thank goodness Rick Riordan is a friendly, approachable person, because I admit I was a little flustered! He put me at ease as soon as we sat down together.
I started off our interview telling Mr. Riordan about my oldest son’s experience with the Percy Jackson series. My son – now 16 – was very anti-reading in elementary school until he got hooked on the Percy Jackson books. He read the 5 Percy Jackson novels cover to cover and then started over again from the beginning…multiple times. Since then, he has been an avid reader and always has a book with him.
Rick Riordan’s series – from Percy Jackson and the Olympians to Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard to The Kane Chronicles and more – delve into the myths of many different cultures – from Greek to Roman to Egyptian to Norse mythology. I have enjoyed reading each series myself, and learning more about the mythologies and cultures of different people. In The Hammer of Thor, Magnus Chase jokes that “if somebody told me – surprise! – the Aztec gods were alive and well in Houston, and my second cousin was the granddaughter of Quetzalcoatl, I would totally believe them.”
I wondered when I read that if Rick Riordan had plans to write more series based on the myths of any other cultures. He told me that he could only write about mythologies that he personally knew, and since he was not an expert in other world mythologies, that he would rather find other authors who could write those stories with authority. That’s where the idea for the imprint, Rick Riordan Presents, was born. Rick was excited to introduce several new books with stories based on Hindi, Mayan, Korean mythology and more.
“It’s amazing stuff and it deserves to be better remembered,” he said.
Another thing that we chatted about was the idea that it’s impossible to write about a character that is not partly yourself. He said that there’s a part of himself in every character – even the villains. He says that Magnus Chase and Percy Jackson are most like him. He relates the most to Magnus because his cynical personality is just just like his own.
I asked Mr. Riordan what kind of research went in to writing his stories, since they were not “simply” works of fiction, but needed to work within the historical stories and traditions. While each series does require research – delving deeper into the myths – I was struck with the fact that he really has been preparing his whole life to write these stories.
Rick Riordan has always loved telling stories. He told stories to his students while he was a middle school English and History teacher, and he told stories to his children at home. His first book for children, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, was begun from stories that he would tell his son before bed. Poseidon has always been his favorite Greek god because he loves the ocean, so it was natural to make Poseidon Percy’s father.
Mr. Riordan said that he enjoys writing about Greek mythology the most simply because there is so much to write about. So many of the stories of other world mythologies have been lost because they weren’t written down. He has known Norse mythology the longest – he became fascinated with the myths of the Vikings while he was in middle school, and his fascination has only grown with age.
I’m excited to finally read The Ship of the Dead, and I can’t wait everything that is coming soon from Rick Riordan!
About the Book
By Rick Riordan
Young Adult Fantasy
Published by Disney-Hyperion
In Stores October 3rd, 2017
Magnus Chase, a once-homeless teen, is a resident of the Hotel Valhalla and one of Odin’s chosen warriors. As the son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility, and health, Magnus isn’t naturally inclined to fighting. But he has strong and steadfast friends, including Hearthstone the elf, Blitzen the dwarf, and Samirah the Valkyrie, and together they have achieved brave deeds, such as defeating Fenris Wolf and battling giants for Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Now Magnus faces his most dangerous trial yet. His cousin, Annabeth, recruits her boyfriend, Percy Jackson, to give Magnus some pointers, but will his training be enough?
Loki is free from his chains. He’s readying Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, complete with a host of giants and zombies, to sail against the Asgardian gods and begin the final battle of Ragnarok. It’s up to Magnus and his friends to stop him, but to do so they will have to sail across the oceans of Midgard, Jotunheim, and Niflheim in a desperate race to reach Naglfar before it’s ready to sail. Along the way, they will face angry sea gods, hostile giants, and an evil fire-breathing dragon. Magnus’s biggest challenge will be facing his own inner demons. Does he have what it takes to outwit the wily trickster god?
About the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Series
A new demigod is born—this time from Norse mythology. Join Magnus Chase, a homeless boy from Boston, on wild adventures throughout the Nine Worlds that have him meeting gods, giants, elves, dwarfs and more as he discovers his true identity.
Connect with Rick Riordan and Magnus Chase
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