Hollow City Tour with Ransom Riggs

HOORAY! First author event of 2014! Wednesday, January 22, I went to Ransom's Dallas stop of his Hollow City tour. I actually met Ransom waaay back in July, which you can read about HERE, but it was awesome seeing him again. Panels are so much fun because authors can play off each other, but it's really cool to go to an event with one featured author because there's more interplay with the audience and that author really has a chance to shine. Now, I hope Ransom will forgive me, but since there were only 200 people at Beneath the Surface, and that was for six authors, I figured this would be a much smaller event. Also, a lot of Dallas bookish people on Twitter were pretty mum about attending. Imagine my surprise when I came rolling in at 6:10 (a full 50 minutes before the event's official start) and ALL THE SEATS WERE ALREADY TAKEN. I found a seat over to the side, but 30 minutes before showtime, this is what the Barnes & Noble looked like:

So that was pretty crazy. Shout out to my friends at Frisco's Stonebrook B&N. You ladies are spectacular, and I have missed you tons! Keep up the good work! After a traffic delay (pretty typical for rush-ish hour in Dallas), Ransom came rolling in, and it was time to get started!

Ransom: It's been two and a half years since Miss Peregrine came out. I didn't tour so this is a new experience. It's weird to see book printed and in hands of anyone other than my mom. 

Full Q&A AND a giveaway under the cut!

Disclaimer: I try to write up as much as I possibly can, but none of these questions or answers are 100% exact.

Q1. Why is Olive on the cover?
Ransom Riggs (RR): She's the most frightening. She's the most terrifying to me. Why is she wearing a tiara?! And that expression!

Q2. Is there anyone who is inspiration for the book?
RR: A recap. 1979. I am born. 2007/2008. I am graduating from film school. I grew up wanting to be an author, always scribbling stories. Then I saw The Shining in 8th grade. Good god! I thought. I want to do that to people. My focus shifted from being C.S. Lewis and Stephen King's lovechild to being Stanley Kubrick. I graduated from US and blogged daily, got that from a guy named John Green, *raucus cheering from audience* we were in a comedy group together. I started writing for Mental Floss magazine, who occasionally worked with Quirk books. Quirk loved working with Seth Graham Smith, who you guys may know wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Well, the editor wanted a Sherlock Holmes book, Mental Floss suggested me! Like, hey, this guy isn't too dumb. They asked me if I knew Sherlock, to which I said "YES" but I really meant that I'd tell them anything and I'd research it. Then I thought, okay, now I'll go back to writing screenplays. That's when I started getting into old photos. When I was a kid, my grandmother started taking us to flea markets. I found old photos at one. Saw one of a girl who looked like a girl I knew from camp, and I ought it for 10 cents. It stayed on my dresser for a while in this little cardboard frame. Fast forward 15 years. I started going to swap meets in California. A lot of dealers used put all their photos in bins, like two thousand of them. You never knew what to do with them. But one dealer picked out his favorites, maybe 200, and laid them all out. Each was like a piece of found art, and they fell into two categories: 1. Creepy victorian weirdness, like children with anachronisitc haircuts and creepy objects and 2. photos that have writing on them beyond "this is grandma" and dates. Does anyone have Talking Pictures?

Ransom picked out some of his favorites from Talking Pictures & shared them with us

I had the creepy Miss Peregrine photos, but didnt know that's what they were. They just creeped me out. I went to Quirk's editor and said, "maybe this is a Halloween calendar or something." He said " maybe it's a novel, and you should write it." I thought, this is not how people write books. This was backward. My hopes were very low. Barnes & Noble decided it was ya so that's where it went, but I didn't think teenagers would like black and white photos. I couldn't talk about the fantasy stuff, like the monsters and time travel, because it was a huge spoiler. It came out and stuck around like a bad cold. It just wouldn't go away. Three months after its release, I realized I would be allowed to do another book.  I wrote it with an open ending. So open, in fact, that the second book could go anywhere. Other loops with other children and adults and animals. They could go anywhere...AND there's time travel. I wrote three versions of the book. I wrote them going all over the world, then I realized that with time travel, they didn't have to go a lot of places, just somewhere with rich history. So I picked London, with the blitz. 

Q3. Were pictures already prepared for book 2?
RR: Initially all I did was go to swap meets and trade. Then I realized there was this subculture of photo collectors. Stores, specialty shops, like in Seattle and Paris. Etsy stores... I would introduce myself, tell them about the book. A lot of people were skeptical, like...you are on crack. *everyone laughs* But a lot of people were excited to share their treasures. There are about 47 or 48 pictures in Miss Peregrine.  I must've looked at 100,000 photos and collected 1,000 myself, but I went out and looked for more. It's a good way to procrastinate. I started book 2 with a big trove. I would look for photos that would fit, but sometimes, there were things in the photos that wouldn't fit the writing so there was a lot of push and pull.

Q4. Are you helping with Miss Peregrine movie?
RR: Tim Burton is directing. *HUGE cheers* It goes into production this year, and releases next year.

Q5. Who is your favorite peculiar child?
RR: Probably Millard. He's a pretentious nerd...and I'm a pretentious nerd. And the dog.

Q6. If you could have a peculiarity, what would it be?
My power would be...I've always been a nut for photography. I got really into taking pictures when I was a kid. But there was always that moment when I'd see the picture with my eyes, take it, and what came out wouldn't match what I'd seen with my eyes. So I would want to replicate what I see with my eye. Like, just take pictures with my eyes.

Q7. Will there be a graphic novel for Hollow City?
Yes. I think there's a peek at Hollow City at the end of the Miss Peregrine graphic novel.

Q8. Will the same artist draw it?
Yes, it'll be Cassandra Jean. I'm not really involved in those. They just tell me, "There's going to be a graphic novel," and I'm like, "okay."

Q9. What are you reading right now? *audience member yells out Shatter Me*
RR: Of course I've read Shatter Me! It's by my wife, Tahereh Mafi. In fact, will you guys say hi to her?

 *talks about Tahereh & everyone sighs dreamily* I have read Ignite Me. *gasps and mock outrage from the audience* Yes, I have read it. It's my favorite. I just read a book by Ken Jennings, the Jeopary guy. It's all about maps. I love maps, and they are going to be in book three, but I can't talk about that. There will be maps in book 3. Also, Jandy Nelson? Wrote The Sky is Everywhere? I just read her new book. It's called I'll Give You the Sun, and it's gorgeous.

Q10. What was your favorite childhood book?
The Secret Garden, *excited squeals* followed by every Choose Your Own Adventure.

Q11. How many books are you going to write?
There will be three books in Miss Peregrine's series. This arc will end after that, but I won't pull a Mockingjay and explode the world.

Q12. Question about the Miss Peregrine trailer.
  I did lots of research about urban exploration and abandonment. There's this one urban explorer with photos of a chateau with a huge gothic tower. It's got vines and is just this huge cool thing. When it was time to do the trailer, I thought, maybe I could trick Quirk into sending me there....and they did! Its a real place so I went there and filmed it, filmed the second half in Belgium. There's a code of silence with urban explorers because these places are just abandoned in the middle of places. If people knew no one lived there, they'd be looted and grafittied. All these houses have code names. I toured in Europe so I tried to go film with a talk show in front of the house. I told them I didn't know about it. They said nobody would notice. I was like, "Uh...you have cameras and stuff." So we went but we got kicked out immediately. We were strolling up the road to the house when this woman came and yelled at us. The tv host tried to convince her to let us film. She said the owner lived in Brussels. The tv host called him, but then her face got all white, and she said she had a bad feeling about it. Something about the war. So we didn't do it.

Q13. What's the story behind your name?
You know, I once got a one star review on Amazon that just said "worst pseudonym ever" and I forwarded it to my mom. It's my real name. It's an old family name. There was a Ransom in the 1800s and his daughter was Sophronia so weird names.
Asker: Have you ever met another Ransom?
RR: I don't think I have.
Asker: Well, now you have. I kept telling my students if we touched or something, the world will end.
RR: Really? Cool, we'll we'll have to get a picture together.

Q14. What music do you listen to when you write?
Orchestral music only. Lyrics distract me.  I have very carefully curated playlists. Lots of movie soundtracks like Phillip Glass.

Q15. Where did you get the idea of loops?
Back to the Future. I didn't want any butterfly effect I-killed-my-grandfather-nonsense and all that so I had to invent my own rules for it.

Q16. Do you have plans for more books?
Not yet. Still figuring where I want to go after Miss Peregrine.

Q17. Do we have to wait two and a half years again?
No. Book 3 will be out sometime in 2015. Obviously, I want it to be right, want it to be good so I'll take my time, but I have a strong sense of what's going to happen in 3.

So then we all queued up for the signing portion of the evening. I spent the entire time talking to my friend Karen of Teen Librarian Toolbox about all sorts of bookish happenings, and then we got to see Ransom for just a few minutes. All in all, a very good night!

Since I already have books signed by Ransom, the books I had him sign are for you guys! I have freshly signed copies of Miss Peregrine, Hollow City, and the Miss Peregrine graphic novel! I'll pick two winners. First place gets to pick whether they want MP & HC (those two are a package deal) or the graphic novel, and second place will get the remaining book(s). Open to US & Canada. Runs until 12 AM February 4th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'm so excited about the movie!! Anyway, my peculiarity? Uh, yeah, no clue... Probably photography Like Ransom, but I'm not really sure... Anyway, I want signed books because I've never met Ransom, but I have his books and the silver Sharpie signatures are my fav. Also, I love Ransom and Tahereh. They are the cutest.
    So jealous of you!!
    Xo, Kristi

  2. I have read most of Miss Peregrine, but then I got too busy reviewing for people and didn't finish it! I was really liking it too, so I will definitely be making time to finish it. I am really psyched for the movie!

  3. The tweet is for different books. Just an fyi :)

  4. I am very excited about the movie, but I worry it will not do the book justice. So many movies are not nearly as good as the book and this book was phenomenal.

  5. I have yet to start the series but all the reviews are great and would love to win this

  6. I didn't read Miss Peregrine yet, but I've been meaning too since TONS of people read it and loved it.
    Thanks for the giveaway! (:

  7. I would want to be able to create my own world with my mind.

  8. You never know how movies for YA lit can go. I'm nervous about this one because of the details of the book.

  9. Read MP and loved it...can't wait to read the sequel.

  10. Ive read Miss Peregrine's and it was FANTASTIC! I cannot wait to get my hands on Hollow City, it sounds so gooodd! :')

  11. This book sounds really excitingly different and fun! I have not read it but am anxious for the movie to come out!
    I would love to win/read/review these books!

  12. I've read Miss Peregrine's and I really enjoyed it! It's not my favorite book in the world, but it was fun learning about Jacob. I kinda want Emma's power to control fire

  13. I think i would want Emma's power :) Possibly because Emma is awesome...

  14. I haven't read MP yet. I don't know why. I've heard so many great things about it and I just keep not reading it haha. I really want to read them both though! I am totally Team Ransom & Tahereh. They're adorable. (:

  15. I don't know what my pecularity would be. I read the first book and LOVED it! I still haven't gotten to the second yet due to being broke and having a huuuge TBR pile. Also, THERE'S GOING TO BE A MOVIE!?!? Yes I'm excited! :D

  16. I hadn't heard there was a movie in the works! How exciting! I've read the first book and I enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to Hollow City and I'm excited to hear about the graphic novel and movie!

  17. I would want the first book!!! Cant wait to read it<3

  18. I have read the first book but I haven't read Hollow City yet. I had no idea that it's going to become a movie though! That is super exciting! Tim Burton too! I love him.

  19. Loved Miss Peregrine. Really can't wait for the sequel. I had no idea there was going to be a movie. Now I am super excited for it. :) Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

  20. Read both books, and really liked them, but it's good know how many total (three) books there will be. A movie sounds pretty neat as well. :)