We’re almost one month away from the release of the second Rick Riordan Presents book, The Storm Runner by J. C. Cervantes. To kick things off, we asked J. C. a few questions and learned so much about volcanoes, chocolate, and her weakness for Leo Valdez. Enjoy!
RR.COM: Why did you choose to write about Maya mythology?
J. C. CERVANTES: My grandmother used to tell me stories about the Maya and Aztecs and more often than not blended them with Mexican folklore. The stories ignited my imagination, connected me to my culture in a deeper way, and made me a believer in all things magic! Plus, the Maya have a goddess of chocolate!
RR. COM: Are there really volcanoes in New Mexico and have you ever been inside one?
J. C. CERVANTES: YES! I have a view of several from my home and one in particular inspired Zane’s story. When the sun sets on the mesa, the volcanoes look other-worldly and magical. I have hiked them but not been inside . . . YET.
RR. COM: What made you decide to make Zane physically challenged?
J. C. CERVANTES: Truth be told, I didn’t decide. He did. All the characters that spring to life in my stories do so with their own agenda and I find when I give in to them (versus trying to control them) the story flows so much better.
RR.COM: What was the hardest thing about writing The Storm Runner?
J. C. CERVANTES: I had to do a lot of research, but ten books and several documentaries later, I felt even more connected to my grandmother. Much of the research turned up discrepancies and because so many records were destroyed it was difficult to confirm with absolute authority which meant I had to let perfection fall to the wayside. What did you love the most? Connecting to a part of my family’s culture in a way that feels nearly lost. In terms of the story, I loved writing the action scenes. Demons are wicked fun to write, too!
RR. COM: Were you inspired by any of Rick Riordan’s books? If so, how?
J. C. CERVANTES: OF COURSE! I am a big fan of the Percy Jackson universe, (big soft spot for Leo Valdez) and the Kane sibs, but I adore Magnus Chase! Rick’s ability to engage the reader right off the bat, to tug them into the story in such a way that all reality melts away is awe-inspiring. And his humor? Off the charts! I have read so many of his books with my own kids and could never have imagined getting the amazing opportunity to work with him on my own books. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself.
The Storm Runner is on sale September 18. Pre-order your copy here.