We at Read Riordan were lucky enough to catch one of Rick and Mark’s live tour events, and our ears are still ringing from all the fans screaming around us. For those of you who weren’t able to attend one, here’s a quick recap:
The evening started with an audience warm-up video (though no warm-up was actually required—everyone was pretty pumped already) of Rick and Mark playing Password with words from The Sun and the Star. We can’t say either one was an expert at giving or receiving clues, but it was fun to see them collaborating. Then the bookseller host introduced Mark, who walked out to a loud ovation. Rick came out next, and the place went wild.
Rick’s editor, who was supposed to moderate the coauthors’ conversation, was replaced at the last minute by a surprise guest: Gorgyra, a nymph visiting from the Underworld. She was there because, as she put it, “She had questions, lots of questions.” She was so determined to get answers that she threatened to hold the authors captive until she was satisfied.
Gorgyra probed Rick about why he chose to write The Sun and the Star with another author, and why he chose Mark Oshiro specifically. Mark talked about how they have been a writer since childhood—at 9 they wrote Goosebumps fan fiction and entitled it Stay Out of the Closet—and as a teen they went through a goth phase that would have made Nico proud. More important, they were well-versed in the Percy Jackson universe, having read the entire saga several times and studied it (They showed a photo of their books color-coded it with sticky notes). And, as a queer person, Mark always had a special fondness for Nico. “He’s my son,” Oshiro said.
Gorgyra also ferreted out that Rick wrote the original outline of the story and shared it with Mark, who added to it with Rick and Becky Riordan’s input and approval. Mark wrote the first draft; Rick wrote the second, and they went back and forth on the final version until they lost track of who wrote what. Mark was amazed by how much freedom they had to explore the canon, and Rick appreciated the emotional depth that Mark brought to the characters. Mark said that the hardest part was writing Will, because they didn’t know the demigod son of Apollo as well as Nico.
Both Rick and Mark wanted to explore the idea that relationships work best when the two parties respect the other person enough to accept them for who they are, and that it is crucial to hang in there even in the most challenging times.
Some behind-the-scenes work was shared. For instance, the audience was treated to a peek at an early version of the journey map on the endpapers that Mark drew as reference for the artist. Let’s just say that Mark won’t be attempting illustration again anytime soon.
Finally, Gorgyra asked each author her most burning question of all: Which was their favorite part of the book? Rick is partial to the troglodytes and the society they created in the Underworld. As for Mark, what they enjoyed most was writing passages to try to impress Rick and to express their love for the Percy Jackson world and gratitude for the opportunity to play in it.
Aww. Nothing could top that. We are happy to report that Gorgyra’s heart was warmed enough to allow both authors to leave the stage—to thunderous applause, of course. Which is a good thing, because they had several more days of events to go!