Rick Riordan Biography

Rick Riordan is an award-winning American author, best known for his ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ book series. With a background in teaching, Riordan began his writing career while living in San Francisco, where he penned his first successful book, ‘Big Red Tequila’. This accomplishment led him to write a seven-book series titled ‘Tres Navarre’. Eventually, Riordan returned to his hometown of San Antonio, where he continued to write and teach. However, it was the sale of his first book in the ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ series, ‘The Lightning Thief’, that allowed him to pursue writing full-time. Today, Riordan is a renowned author, with his books selling millions of copies worldwide.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Richard Russell Riordan Jr.
  • Age: 59 Years, 59 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Becky Riordan
    • Father: Rick Riordan Sr.
    • Mother: Lyn Belisle
    • Children: Haley Riordan, Patrick Riordan
  • Born Country: United States
  • Non-Fiction Writers
  • American Men
  • Height: 5’7″ (170 cm), 5’7″ Males
  • U.S. State: Texas
  • Education: Alamo Heights High School, The University of Texas at San Antonio, The University of Texas at Austin

Childhood & Early Years

Rick Riordan was born as Richard Russell Riordan Jr. on June 5, 1964, in San Antonio, Texas. His father, Rick Riordan Sr., a former teacher, now works as a realtor. His mother, Lyn Belisle, an English major, teaches computer applications and graphic design at Trinity University.

Rick, his parents’ only issue, was always an imaginative child, and his parents encouraged him by reading out stories to him. Once on a camping trip to Port Aransas, they designed a flag to fly over their tent, pretending that they were founding a medieval castle.

After his parents’ divorce in the 1970s, Rick was mostly raised by his mother. However, he also had a deep respect for his father, looking up to him as a role model, admitting that “the foundation for who I would become was laid in those early years, watching and learning from my father”.

As a child, he loved Greek mythology although his favorite book was ‘Lord of the Rings’. He also wrote a number of short stories, unsuccessfully sending some for publications, receiving his first rejection note from ‘Isaac Asimov Science Fiction’ magazine in 1978.

In 1982, he graduated from Alamo Heights High School and entered North Texas State University in Denton, where he briefly attended a music program, leading a folk-rock band during this period. Shortly after, he took a transfer to the University of Texas, Austin, where he studied English and history. In 1986, he graduated.

Later, he entered the University of Texas, San Antonio, from where he received his teaching certification.


Rick Riordan began his career as an English and social science teacher in a public school in San Antonio. Later, he moved to San Francisco Bay Area, where he began teaching in different schools, including the Presidio Hill School.

Raised in San Antonio, he soon began to miss Texas and therefore, decided to write a “hard-boiled private eye novel” set in his home town, eventually producing his first book, ‘Big Red Tequila’. Published in 1997, it earned him the Shamus Award and the Anthony Award in the following year.

In 1998, he published ‘The Widower’s Two-Step’, which was based on the same theme as ‘Big Red Tequila’. They were followed by ‘The Last King of Texas’ (2000), ‘The Devil Went Down to Austin’ (2001), ‘Southtown’ (2004), ‘Mission Road’ (2005) and ‘Rebel Island’ (2007), all constituting the ‘Tres Navarre’ series.

It was while he was busy with the ‘Tres Navarre’ series that he also began writing a series of fantasy adventure novels. It all began when his elder son, who had been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, began studying Greek mythology in his second grade and asked him to tell stories on the topic.

As requested by his son, he first started telling the Greek mythological tales that he knew. But once his stock of existing stories was exhausted, he began making them up, leading to the creation of the fictional character called Percy Jackson, who travelled across the United States to recover Zeus’s lightning bolt.

In 2005, on his son’s suggestion, he had the story of Percy Jackson published as ‘The Lightning Thief’. It was followed by four more books on the same theme: ‘The Sea of Monsters’ (2006), ‘The Titan’s Curse’ (2007), ‘The Battle of the Labyrinth’ (2008) and ‘The Last Olympian’ (2009).

After completing the Percy Jackson series, he turned his attention to Egypt, publishing ‘The Red Pyramid’ in 2010, ‘The Throne of Fire’ in 2011 and ‘The Serpent’s Shadow’ in 2012. Concurrently, he continued writing other books, including ‘The Heroes of Olympus’ series, ‘The Kane Chronicles’ series, ‘The 39 Clues’ series, etc.

In 2015, he turned his attention to Norse mythology, writing a trilogy titled ‘Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard’. Concurrently, he also began writing a five-book series titled ‘The Trials of Apollo’, whose fourth book, ‘The Tyrant’s Tomb’, is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2019.

Major Works

Rick Riordan is best known for writing ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’, a five-book series which blends Greek mythology with contemporary locations and characters. These books have not only been translated in several languages, but have also sold millions of copies, remaining on ‘The New York Times’ Best Seller list for children’s book series for 245 weeks.

Family & Personal Life

On June 5, 1985, Rick Riordan married Becky, whom he had been dating since his high school days. Together, they have two sons: Haley Michael Riordan, born in 1994, and Patrick John Riordan, born in 1998. Since June 2013, they have been living in Boston.

Leave a Comment