Rick Riordan is best known for his bestselling YA series Percy Jackson and the Olympians and for a series of award-winning adult mysteries featuring San Antonio P.I. Tres Navarre.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a terrific YA series by former middle school teacher and mystery writer Rick Riordan that revamps Greek mythology in a fun, fresh way kids find enthralling. A trouble-prone teen with attention deficit disorder and dyslexia, Percy is the half-blood son of Poseidon, one of 12 Olympian gods making mischief right here in 21st-century America. Praised by critics, librarians, and teachers, the Percy Jackson books have been honored with numerous awards and appear consistently on The New York Times bestseller list.
The series grew out of a sequence of bedtime stories Riordan invented for his son Haley -- who, at eight, had just been diagnosed with learning disabilities. Although Haley was having trouble in school, he loved the Greek myths and asked his dad to tell him some stories about the gods and heroes. Riordan ran through the standards from mythology, then began to invent new tales featuring some of the same characters and introducing a brave boy hero enough like Haley to make things interesting!
Haley begged his father to write the stories down, and in 2005, The Lightning Thief was published to excellent reviews. It was an instant hit with preteens, who loved the concept of a kid much like themselves -- i.e., embroiled in the everyday problems of school, family, and relationships -- embarking on heroic quests, soothing vengeful gods, and battling monsters.
In addition to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Riordan also writes books for adults, most notably a series of high-octane Tex-Mex thrillers featuring private investigator Jackson "Tres" Navarre, a complicated loner with an offbeat pedigree. (Tres -- pronounced "Trace" -- is a tai chi master with a Ph.D. in medieval literature who turns to detective work when he is unable to find a teaching job!) The first novel in the series, 1997's Big Red Tequila, scooped the Anthony and Shamus Awards, two of the three most prestigious prizes for Mystery & Crime fiction. Riordan completed the trifecta when his sequel, The Widower's Two-Step, won the coveted Edgar Award in 1999.
Between the two series, Riordan remains incredibly busy. For several years, he balanced writing with teaching English to middle school students. Reluctantly, he has left teaching (a career he thoroughly enjoyed) in order to write full-time, but he still harbors hopes that someday he'll return to the classroom. Meanwhile, he makes frequent visits to schools and enjoys meeting young readers on his book tours.