Since the publication of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief, Rick Riordan has shown his Canadian readers how much he appreciates and loves them. Now, in celebration of his recent release, the third book in The Heroes of Olympus series, The Mark of Athena, Riordan has given us this pretty awesome guest post that explains why he has such a close connection to his Canadian fans.
Riordan will also celebrating in Toronto on Wednesday, October 3 at a special SOLD OUT event at Cineplex Varsity & VIP Cinemas.
Hello, Indigo readers!
To celebrate the release of The Mark of Athena, my friends at Indigo asked me to write a blog entry for them, and I’m always happy to say hey to my Canadian fans.
Canada has always loomed large in my imagination. I grew up in Texas, so Canada seemed impossibly far away. When my wife and I got married, at age 21, we decided to drive up there for our honeymoon and see the country for ourselves. We crossed near Niagara Falls and drove through Ontario. I was so nervous, you would’ve thought I was in the middle of Mongolia or something! It was the first time I had left the US for another country, and, yes, I know it was only Canada, but still. I knew I was freaked out when my wife and I stopped for snacks. I came out of the convenience store, and my wife said, “Do you realize everything you got is orange?” It was true. I’d picked an orange soda, Cheetos, a cheese & crackers tray, and an orange. Whenever I’m nervous, I eat orange food. Years later, I would use this idea as the basis for Percy Jackson’s love of blue food.
We enjoyed Ontario, especially since it was June and colder than Texas got in the middle of winter. Nice change of pace! We stayed the night in Kingston, had some great Chinese food, and kept driving up to Montreal. Awesome city, though I don’t think they liked my driving. I got honked at a lot and heard some words in French that I’m not sure were complimentary. We kept going to Quebec City, thinking we would only stay one night, but we liked it so much we extended our stay for three days. The view of the river, the old city, and the Château Frontenac looming on the hill really made an impression. Years later, I decided to use Quebec City in one of my books, The Lost Hero, and the Château Frontenac figures prominently on the cover.
Since publishing the Percy Jackson series, I’ve been lucky enough to visit Canada several times. As I write this, I’m preparing for my third visit to Indigo in Toronto. I can’t wait to be back! I’ve also gotten to visit beautiful Vancouver three times.
The more I experience Canada, the more I appreciate it. As I was writing The Son of Neptune, I decided it was really time to introduce a Canadian demigod into my series. Enter Frank Zhang, son of Mars, whose family lives in Vancouver. Frank is one of my favorite characters. Of the seven demigods aboard the Argo II, he has a personality probably the most like mine—and Frank has the coolest powers ever! Not to give any spoilers if you haven’t read The Son of Neptune, but my favorite line in the book is when Frank drags a giant across the border and says, “Welcome to Canada, idiot!”
In The Mark of Athena, Frank is going to have more crazy adventures. He’ll get stuck in a giant fishbowl with Percy Jackson. He’ll be sent to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Using his shape-changing powers, he’ll have to morph into everything from a dragon to a weasel. Even worse, he’ll have to figure out how he feels about Leo Valdez, a guy who mysteriously looks just like Hazel’s old boyfriend (which makes Frank jealous) and who can summon fire (which makes Frank terrified).
I hope you all enjoy The Mark of Athena, and I hope to meet some of you in person the next time I’m visiting Indigo!
Special thanks to Hachette Book Group and Rick Riordan for this exclusive guest post for the Indigo Kids Blog.