Rick Riordan was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1964. His mom, dad, and grandparents were all teachers. Rick didn’t like to read much until he discovered the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Greek and Norse mythology in middle school. In the eighth grade Rick submitted a fantasy story to a magazine but only received a rejection letter in return. At Alamo Heights High School he wrote and edited for the school newspaper.
During college Rick Riordan had long hair and played music in a folk rock band. But when his interest shifted from music to English and literature, he decided to become an English teacher. After graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history, Riordan began teaching middle school. Riordan and his wife later moved to San Francisco, where he continued to teach and began writing mystery novels for adults on the side. Riordan’s first book, Big Red Tequila, was published in 1997. It became the first book in a popular series and won the top three awards in the adult mystery genre.
Naturally, Riordan’s middle school students asked him why he wasn’t writing books for kids their age. That opportunity presented itself one evening when Riordan’s son asked him to make up a bedtime story. On a whim, Riordan told his son a story about the adventures of Percy Jackson, a boy who was half-human and half-god, living in modern-day America. When he finished, Riordan’s son urged him to write the story down. That story became The Lightning Thief, the first of Riordan’s best-selling Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. Riordan has gone on to publish many more stories and even started his own imprint ‘Rick Riordan Presents’ with the goal of publishing great middle grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage.
Today Rick Riordan and his family live in San Antonio, Texas. Even though he loved teaching, Riordan eventually left the classroom to focus on his books full-time.