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Author Rick Riordan talks 'Percy Jackson' with Kidsday

Author Rick Riordan with Kidsday reporters (l) Jaclyn

Author Rick Riordan with Kidsday reporters (l) Jaclyn Gephardt, Anthony Gangi, Dane Meister and Mia Pelio, all from Jericho Elementary School in Centereach at the BookCon at the Javits Center in Manhattan. Credit: Jennifer Triandafils

We met our favorite author, Rick Riordan, when he was in Manhattan recently. His "Percy Jackson" book series is just the best!

What jobs did you have growing up and did that affect any of the books you have written?

Yeah, absolutely. I was a summer camp counselor when I was in college so that's where I got the idea for Camp Halfblood in my books. I was a middle-school teacher for a long time, and that's where I got the idea to write about stuff for middle-schoolers.

If you played a character in one a Percy Jackson movie, who would it be?

I don't know. I actually don't watch the movies so I don't really even know. I'm a little bit like a lot of the characters because I write about them, but I'm not sure.

Why do you write books about demons and gods, and do some of the books bring back memories?

I write about them because I love mythology. Ever since I was your age I always loved the Greek myths and Norse myths. They definitely bring back memories because those were some of the first stories I really loved. So it's awesome that I get to write about them.

What encouraged you to be interested in Greek mythology enough to write a series?

I think I was probably in 8th grade and I had this really great English teacher who got me interested in mythology. The only thing I really liked to read back then was "The Lord of the Rings." And she said if you like "The Lord of the Rings" you need to check out Norse mythology because that's where it comes from and it just stuck with me all these years. So I'm still writing about it.

In writing any of your books did you make any mistakes that changed the whole series?

I make mistakes all the time. There's one where Blackjack, the Pegasus, I describe Blackjack in the first book as a mare and then in the next book he's suddenly a stallion and I had to kind of explain that, oh, Percy wasn't paying much attention, but not really anything huge like that, no. I hope not anyway.

If you could use magic who would you bring back from history and why?

I would love to bring back Julius Caesar. I think that would be really fun to talk about what was it like being an ancient Roman.

What is your favorite thing to do with your children?

We like to play board games, although they beat me every single time. We play a lot of Monopoly and Risk and games like that. Card games. We like to travel together. We like to just kind of sit around, joke around together. We spend a lot of time as a family. They're great. I love my sons.

Who do you look up to most of all?

Probably most of all my wife. We've been married almost 30 years. She's awesome and she never lets me get a big head. If I write something that's really bad she says, "Rick you need to write that again. That's no good." So she keeps me honest.

Do you or have you ever played a sport and do you think sports are important?

I do think they're important. I'm terrible at sports. We joke about it like when the Riordans play catch. That's basically like we're throwing things around and breaking everything. Nobody can catch anything. I have no coordination at all. But we're in Boston, so we go to the Red Sox, and when we lived in San Antonio we followed the Spurs. I do think it's really important. I'm just no good at it personally.

If you could take a potion, what power would you gain from it?

I've always wanted to fly. I think that would be awesome.

If you were to write a new book how would you make me want to read it?

Well I'd probably try to do what I did with the other books and just put in a whole lot of action and a whole lot of humor and try to get you interested in the characters like right away, so you didn't ever feel bored.

If you could be the son of a Greek God, who would that be and why?

I think I would have to go with Poseidon. Like Percy, I just love the idea of being able to control the water and making toilets explode and stuff. Awesome.

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