With the Sun and the Star book tour right around the corner, we spoke with Mark Oshiro about collaborating with Rick Riordan and if anyone’s guessed what’ll happen in Nico di Angelo’s first solo novel.
I recently had a chance to interview Mark Oshiro about their latest novel, Into the light, a young adult thriller that centers on a transracial adoptee and the difficulty he faces when he’s forced to strike out on his own. Read my full Into the Light book review.
Of course, as a major Percy Jackson fan, I couldn’t walk away from my chat with Mark without talking about their collaboration with Rick Riordan on The Sun and the Star: A Nico di Angelo Adventure. Nico has been a fan-favorite character for years, and readers were ecstatic to learn that he’d be getting his own book.
You can listen to the Sun and the Star potion of the Mark Oshiro interview on Prophecy Radio: A Percy Jackson Podcast episode #77. This is a continuation of the Into the Light interview, and the subsequent transcription below has been edited for clarity.
The Sun and the Star hits store shelves on May 2, 2023, and both Rick and Mark will be in attendance for the book tour, from May 2-6, across the United States. I made sure to ask Mark what we can expect, what their overall experience has been like, and what they’re most excited to do once the book has been published.
Interview with Mark Oshiro for ‘The Sun and the Star’
And speaking about other dreams coming true, I have to ask about The Sun and the Star.
Well, hold on. Because here’s the wild part about this. Because someone asked me this. This kid at a school visit not too long ago was like, ‘Oh, was writing Percy Jackson a dream come true?’ And I was like, ‘No, because none of us ever thought it was ever gonna be a thing!’ So no, that’s not a dream I ever entertained at all. I mean, it has become very dream-like. I certainly do not think it’s real. Every day, I’m like, no, this is an extremely long prank that will be revealed on May 2.
That would be so devastating.
But I would also respect that. Are you kidding? I would be like, good job. Because I did write the book. So it’s not like I fake-wrote the book. Oh my God. I would be like, you know what? You earned it. Good job.
When it was announced, I remember watching the live stream of Rick’s Daughter of the Deep book tour, and him announcing you as his co-author, and I was like… Wait, wait, wait. It took so long to actually process it, but I really hope that it’s not a long con trick because that would make me so sad.
Oh, it’s very not. As many pieces as are a part of this thing? Oh God. I was so nervous during that livestream because I was just there watching it, but I knew that’s when the announcement [would happen], and I mean, you know the Percy Jackson fandom. There are few fandoms as unhinged and funny as they are, and my phone overheated twice that night. I remember it was in the evening, like it was a Barnes and Noble event, maybe, or something like that, and I had to turn my phone off twice because of Percy Jackson fans sending me memes. And being so funny. I think my header on Twitter is one of those reactions.
Yep, I just saw it again the other day, and I was laughing at it. I remember all of those things happening, and it was just so fun to watch.
Yeah, and it has been so fun getting to interact with Percy Jackson fans who have just opened their arms. I think because, at the core of it, what I hope is happening here is they’re like, ‘Oh, they’re one of us.’ Like, this person is clearly, you know, sh*t-posting their way through life, but also deeply cares about these characters and the series or whatnot. And so, I always like to be right in the middle road of like, ‘I do deeply care about this, but I will also make a joke about literally anything in the world,’ and I feel like, if you’re a Percy Jackson stan, that’s who you are. You care about the series so much, but it’s okay to make fun of things. It’s okay to make fun of ourselves. Like, we have a sense of humor about it, and I really like that about the fandom. So, it has been deeply surreal.
And, of course, you’re gonna be meeting a lot of those fans in person on the tour. I’m so excited to see what you and Rick talk about. Rick’s slideshows are legendary. They’re always so funny.
You have no idea. The basic thing has been written. Oh God. I can literally look at—I don’t want to look. I almost want to be—no. [Struggles internally] We are going to practice it, because this is the first time we’re both doing things to it. There are so many fun photos in it, and I think it might be—because I’ve seen a few of the slideshows over the years—I think it might be my favorite slideshow. I’m biased, I know. But the sheer chaos of it is so good. And I really love this! I love that Rick and his team have also opened their arms to me, and they’re like, you’re gonna be part of this wild, wacky process, and we want to make sure you feel like you are an even part of it as well. I mean, even from the beginning… I haven’t really talked about this, and I’d love to talk about it with you, which is that, even from the beginning, Rick was like, ‘Your name has to be on the book the same size as mine. It has to be on the spine. You are getting paid the same as me. Everything is split down the middle. You are going to be part of [it].’ Every decision made about the book, I am involved in all of them. It’s like, sometimes I get an email that’s like, ‘Oh, you know, we want your approval on this thing.’ And I’m like, ‘Do you really want my approval? Like, are you sure?’ And they do care. And it’s so genuine, and it has made my love for this series and these people grow a million times more than it already was. You know, I always tell people, in this past two years since working with the team, they walk the walk, they talk the talk. It is not a facade. They are genuinely, deeply caring, very thoughtful people, and I’m just really, really excited just for y’all to see what we did.
I mean, as a fan, that’s so important too, just knowing that it’s such a collaborative process and all of that.
And it’s been that way from the beginning, like no question at all. I’m pretty sure that was said in the first meeting. From the beginning.
You had an Instagram live a while ago where you talked about how you hadn’t seen any fans correctly guess what’s going to happen in this book, and I think everyone’s taken that as a challenge.
And they’re still wrong. No one’s right. Not one even remotely close. One person has guessed *a* thing, but it’s like, 25 percent. And you have to understand, when I did the audition, and I have talked about this… Well, I hope I talked about it publicly. If not, you’re the first person to know. Because I still had to audition for the project. I got the outline for the whole book. And I would say the outline is more like, I don’t know, 80 to 90 of what actually made it in. It didn’t change all that much. It’s all the stuff in between that sort of changed, and we both got to make up things. But I remember reading it and just being like, I would have never guessed that in a million years. Like, never in a billion, million, million, quadrillion years. That’s the fun thing about it—it is getting to see Rick’s brain work and watching a Percy Jackson book literally be built from the ground up. Just as a writer, from a craft perspective, I was like, ‘This is incredible.’ So currently, no, y’all. Y’all are still wrong. Completely wrong about this book. I think it’s going to be really exciting to see reactions. Like, I’m really excited.
If I don’t see you in Boston, I am going to try to set up an interview on the podcast specifically for The Sun and the Star, so then you have to come back and we can just gush about Percy Jackson.
Yes, and I can finally talk spoilers. This is still recording, so I’ll say this [on record]. You know, I think that part is the thing I’m really excited to do, is to actually be able to [talk spoilers]. Like, I can talk about Into the Light to some extent in an interview. I am actually a little worried about how to talk about The Sun and the Star without spoiling things, and I just want to talk about all the nerdy things that I got to put in there. The nerdy things that Rick got to put in there. I think it’s going to be really fun to see people try to guess who came up with what because I think you’re all going to be wrong about that too. And I’m really, really, really excited to talk about that stuff.