Ransom Riggs, currently one of the hottest names in Young Adult literature, is the author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, a novel built around a collection of creepy vintage photographs. The book has spent countless weeks atop the NewYork Times bestseller list, and is much-anticipated follow-up, Hollow City, releases in January 2014.
City Paper: I imagine you’ll get to meet a lot of fans during the festival. What’s one thing you’d love to hear from a fan? One thing that might make you cringe?
Ransom Riggs: I've had a few parents tell me that my book helped get their kids into reading, and I always love hearing that. As for making me cringe, I don't know ��" my interactions with fans have been so positive, it's hard to imagine. Meeting people who've read and enjoyed my book is always a thrill.
CP: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is on my own, personal list of favorite books from the past few years. I don’t read much YA, but the picture on the cover spoke to me, and the story within kept me reading late into the night. I’m very much looking forward to the sequel. How did the process differ from writing the first to writing the second, and what can we expect for Miss Peregrine and her peculiars in this next story?
RR: First of all, thank you very much. The process was very different for me, because when I was writing the first book I could let the pictures guide and inspire most of the story. When I was launching into the second book, though, the story already had its own direction and momentum, so the photos I found had to match the story, rather than the story fitting around the contours of the photos. Luckily, I had a ton of great photos to choose from, and I think they're even stronger (and creepier) in the second book. As for what the kids get up to in Hollow City, I'm going to keep most of that tucked tightly under my hat, but I can tell you that they go on a great adventure beyond the island where they meet lots of new peculiars, explore new and strange time loops, and Jacob really comes into his own. There's a ton of action and suspense, and some twists and turns in Jacob and Emma's young relationship, as well.
CP: Who is one other writer attending YALLFest with whom you’d like to sit down and have a chat?
RR: Definitely Tahereh Mafi [author of Shatter Me]. I love her books, and she's so stylish. (Also, she's my wife.)
CP: What’s the coolest piece of fan mail/email/interaction you’ve received to date?
RR: There are almost too many to choose from, but I recently got a touching, handwritten letter from a guy in prison, who said he'd found my book in the prison library. That's not somewhere I ever imagined words I wrote being housed.
CP: When you were a kid, what was your all-time favorite book? What book takes that position now?
RR: It was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, hands down. Nowadays it's much harder to choose, but staying within the same genre, it might be Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. It's a gorgeous book, and an amazing, richly-imagined world.