Saturday 14 July 2012

Q and A with author Ransom Riggs

I'd like to welcome author Ransom Riggs to the blog, whose awesome debut novel Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (published last year) is now out in paperback for the first time.

I loved the book, and you can read my review of it here.

Q. Can you describe Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children in 5 words or less?
A. I can't even describe it in 50! I'm really terrible at plot summaries. I get all twist-tongued. I took a class in film school where we had to pitch movie ideas in two minutes. It was a semester-long nightmare!

Q. When/ how did you have the idea to create a story out of the pictures in your collection?
A. Right after I started collecting, I showed a batch of my weirdest photos to my editor at Quirk Books, and he suggested I try and weave a story around them. I guess this was about three years ago -- not long after my first book, the nonfiction Sherlock Holmes Handbook came out. I'd never written a novel, so it was a really exciting opportunity for me -- that someone would trust me to write one, having never attempted it before.

Q. Do you have a favourite photograph from the book?
A. I really like the one of the boy and woman in silhouette, walking away from the camera out of a tunnel into a gauzy light. It kind of sums up the whole book for me. 

Q. How long did it take to write?
A. I did one pass in about four months. Then decided it was terrible, threw it away, and wrote a very different second version in about 6 months. So 10 altogether.

Q. If you could have any of the powers of the peculiar children, what would it be and why?
A. I always thought it would be cool if I could take pictures of whatever I was looking at just by blinking. All I do when I'm holding a camera is try and reproduce / interpret the way I saw something with my eye, so this would cut out the middle-man! My friend's dad makes tiny cell-phone cameras, and according to him, this is actually something that might exist one day. Which is exciting. 

 Q. Most of the book is set in a remote island off the coast of Wales. Did you visit Wales as part of the research for the story?
 A. Nope!  The whole story is so made-up, I didn't need to. That's the beauty of speculative fiction -- you don't have to get too hung up on research! 

Q. It's very exciting news about the film rights to the book being bought by 20th Century Fox. Do you have any actors in your mind to play the characters? What would be your dream cast?
A. See, the trouble is the characters are so young, and I don't know a lot of actors in their teens. It's something that talented casting directors do -- they know all these great up-and-coming actors most of us have never heard of. But me, all I know are the obvious ones. Chloe Moretz as Emma? I think she's great. And Kodi Smit-McPhee is a really talented young American actor. He was pretty young in The Road, but that was a few years back. By the time they get around to shooting the movie, maybe he'll be Jacob's age!

Q. You're currently working on the sequel to Miss Peregrine's. How many books are planned for the series?
A. Well, it's funny. There was only one book planned, and I wrote it. But I had to go and put that cliffhanger ending in there, and it had to go and become a bestseller, so now I'm writing a second one (and super excited to do it). Is there a third book planned? All I can say at this point is: MAYBE.

Q. What can we expect in book 2? 
LOTS of action and adventure. Some very creepy bad guys. And lots more peculiar photos!


Thank you so much for answering my questions! I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel next year. 

Find Ransom Riggs online:


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