In 2005, with seven adult mysteries under his belt, the San Antonio writer and teacher launched a series for kids: Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Now Harry Potter producer Chris Columbus has signed on to bring book one, The Lightning Thief, to the screen. Percy’s print adventures continue with book three, The Titan’s Curse.
What inspired you to branch out?
It was a fluke. My nine-year-old son was dyslexic and ADHD, so reading was a horrible chore. He liked Greek mythology, so I started telling him myths. When I ran out, I created a modern boy, Percy Jackson, who is ADHD and dyslexic and finds out that he is the son of Poseidon. The Lightning Thief was the result.
Do you take a different approach with younger readers?
Kids are tougher critics. They have no patience for self-indulgent authors. They want a tight story, sympathetic characters, humor, action, mystery—the whole package.
Have you set any horizon on the Percy Jackson stories (as J.K. Rowling famously did with the Harry Potter books) or are you taking things one book at a time?
It will be a five-book series. That will allow me to cover pretty much all of Greek mythology and wrap things up while the series still feels fresh and vibrant. The story arc for all five books has been more or less in my head since the beginning, but the details develop as I go along. I try to strike a balance between organizing in advance and letting things happen organically. Part of the fun of writing a series is discovering all the little twists and turns I didn’t envision.
Any new adult fiction on the way?
The next Tres Navarre novel, Rebel Island (due August 28), is set on a fictional island near Port Aransas in a hurricane.
Other than your earlier Tres Navarre books, San