Rick Riordan, author of the very popular PERCY JACKSON series, is taking us on yet another exciting fantasy ride with book number one of the MAGNUS CHASE series. We spoke to the best-selling author during his presentation thanks to Miami Book Fair International about his new book and what readers can expect from the main character.
What makes you the most excited about the MAGNUS CHASE series and how did the idea for the novel come up?
It’s an idea that I’ve had for almost 10 years and the first the idea was basically what would happen if a modern kid died with a sword in his hand, like the Vikings used to do and ended up in Valhalla…so I just went with that.
How would you describe Magnus Chase and how can readers relate to him? He’s also very funny!
Magnus is homeless and he’s being kind of pushed to be self-sufficient. I feel like a lot of people and kids wonder about that and about how they would do if their support network suddenly disappeared. I think that’s one thing kids can relate to, even if they’re not in that position, they sort of think about it…what am I like on my own, without anybody helping me out and what I would do. And, humor’s a great way to deal with it.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Since I was about 13, I think it was my 8th grade English teacher that told me that I should be a writer, since I wrote some stuff for her in class. And, I didn’t get published until I was like 27, but you know I kept coming back to it and kept trying and finally got there.
You were also a teacher. How do you feel this has inspired you when it comes to your writing?
Everything I know about writing I learned from teaching. I learned about the age group that I write for, what they like, what they don’t like, how to craft things to keep a kid’s attention. I didn’t know it was going to be on-the-job training to be a children’s writer, but it completely helped a lot.
Do you have any favorite YA books?
I just read a book called THE SHADOWS OF SHERWOOD, which is a take on the Robin Hood myth and it’s really great. Right now I am also reading a very interesting book called UPROOTED by Naomi Novik which is about a sorceresses…it’s really good. I’m always reading.
What advice would you give to someone looking to become a writer?
Be patient. It’s probably not gonna happen right away and that’s ok. Basically read a lot and practice writing all that you can and don’t give up.