'Percy Jackson' Author Takes On The Pyramids Rick Riordan has just released the first book in his new young-adult fantasy series about a couple of kids and their mysterious connection to the Egyptian gods. Like Riordan's popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Kane Chronicles add magical twists to the obstacles kids face in everyday life.

'Percy Jackson' Author Takes On The Pyramids

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Rick Riordan joins me now from the studios of Louisville Public Media in Kentucky. Welcome to the program.

RICK RIORDAN: Thank you.

ROBERTS: So, I took my kids to see you at Politics and Prose here in Washington, D.C. and I couldn't get over the size of the crowd and the enthusiasm of the crowd. Are you getting used to being a rock star?

RIORDAN: A rock star to middle-schoolers - that's something I never thought I would hear about myself.

ROBERTS: Yes. You and the Jonas Brothers.

RIORDAN: It was a great event and, yeah, we've had turnouts like that across the country for "The Red Pyramid" tour. It's just been fantastic. Whether I'm getting used to it or not, that's another question. But it is a lot of fun to see the kids come out and get excited about a book.

ROBERTS: So, "The Red Pyramid" is the first in what will be a series about the Kane kids, Carter and Sadie. Are you having fun with Egyptian mythology?

RIORDAN: And that's when I started working on "The Red Pyramid." And it's been a wonderful experience. I so enjoy seeing the excitement levels that the kids are having about the Greek, and now Egyptian, mythology.

ROBERTS: And these kids - first of all, they're half-Egyptian god - but also they, you know, they're half African-American, half white. They have sort of real-world problems as well as these fantasy problems. Is it hard to strike that balance between something that's an adventure for kids to read but also characters that they'll identify with?

RIORDAN: And so to throw a fantasy in there where they're having to deal with all of these issues that normal kids deal with, but in a fantasy setting, I think that really resonates strongly with young readers.

ROBERTS: How do you feel about the inevitable "Harry Potter" comparisons?

RIORDAN: I am very optimistic about children. I don't see them turning off to books. In fact, the opposite. I see so much excitement about so many authors out there and I'm lucky enough to be one of them. I think children love reading and they will make time for it, if we put the right books into their hands. And I hope that I'll get the chance to keep being one of the people that writes them.

ROBERTS: Those early teen years, they could be tough. You know, they can be tough on the kids, they can be tough on the parents who might think some malicious Egyptian monsters possess their children. You clearly have a gift for reaching this age group. What advice do you have for parents?

RIORDAN: And find the books that engage your child. Every child is different. And I think it's important that we don't have maybe just one or two books that we're recommending to all children but rather we cater the books to fit each individual child.

ROBERTS: That family reading time sounds suspiciously like a plan for you to get another chapter read in your own book.

RIORDAN: It's true. My own sons are my first editors and they are always the first ones to hear the manuscript. It's a really great part of my editing process. Because if I write a joke that I think is hysterical and they don't laugh, I know that joke has to be cut.

ROBERTS: Rick Riordan, his new book is called "The Red Pyramid." Thank you so much for joining us.

RIORDAN: Thank you.

ROBERTS: You can read an excerpt from "The Red Pyramid" at our website, NPR.org.

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