Ransom Riggs: The real boy next door

Recently, I attended a book signing for Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. It is the second book in his Miss Peregrine series. The concept is very interesting and unlike any book I have read before. In the interest of not ruining it for you, I will just say it is an intriguing blend of history, whimsy, family mystery and a variety of weirdness. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was not a book I would have picked for myself but it was a great first pick for our fledgling book club. The story kept you guessing and did a great job hiding its true story. It pulls you along and kept you reading even though it may not be your usual fodder. I have not read Hollow City but I am very excited to do so.

My evening with Ransom Riggs was initially happily anticipated but as the time approached I got progressively more excited. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the book club had a great discussion about it, it did not make my top 10 faves. I was honestly not sure I wanted to read a sequel due to the way it ended ( it ended perfectly with 70% closure and 30% intrigue). But then I met Ransom.

He was lovely and charming. He had already been touring for some time and had developed plenty of banter for his eager fans. He gave us the run down of how he found himself the creator and author of such a book. Mr. Riggs grew up in Florida and went to a modern day school for peculiar children. His small town Floridian roots shows in the book through his mastery in small town imagery. From Florida, he then progressed to a College in Ohio which had a deeply rooted history and lore. There he determined he wanted to work in moving pictures and migrated to Los Angles to go to the school of film at USC.

In the city of angels he has remained. His career on the silver screen did not flourish but by a chance introduction and blind ambition to keep producing work in general he found himself writing more and more. The strange denizens of his growing photograph collection of strangers really spoke to him and he grabbed an opportunity to put pen to page and give them new life.

Voila! Miss Peregrine’s World was born.

Riggs was very articulate, smart and witty. He had us all laughing and chuckling to ourselves with his many anecdotes and experiences. Before we knew it the evening was over. As he signed our books we were able to have a personal encounters with the man himself and I found him personable, a listener and very human. He is a true boy next door, not the fabled one of that is cookie cut for movies. He has a natural, comfortable presence with just enough awkward to make it real. He owns his life experiences and is realistic with his expectations. He also admits that while creating is fun, writing is work.

All in all if you are ever looking for something new and different to read this is the book!


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