A Map of Days is quickly winning over fans of Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series and even more readers are joining the fun. The first book of a companion trilogy, this latest installment takes the action away from the European settings readers have grown used to, and brings it to the States. For those of us who've looked forward to each new book, the chance to learn about Jacob's grandfather, and see the peculiars face weirdness and danger in our own country is total catnip.
A Map of Days is a pretty extraordinary volume, both in the story Riggs tells and the images he's found to go alongside. I asked Riggs about the book via email and he shared a couple photos you'll see in the book, including the one at right (click images to view larger):
Seira Wilson: Some of the photos for A Map of Days are full-color, have you been collecting them over time? You’ve said that for you America has the full-color Kodachrome look—what iconic places or times did you most enjoy sending the characters to in the new book?
Ransom Riggs: Yes, I’ve been collecting color photos for awhile—sometimes I’ll just find something so strange or cool that I can’t resist adding to the collection—so it was nice to have a reservoir of color images to draw from when I started writing A Map of Days. As for where I sent them, it’s funny. If I had access to a Panloopticon and could go any-when I liked, I would never visit the places I send my characters, which are always unpleasant and dangerous. They have an awful time in the Jim Crow South of 1965 and are nearly killed in Depression-era New York City. I’m sure they’re beginning to resent me. They are most emphatically not on vacation, and whatever free time I do grant them is inevitably interrupted by some urgent and distressing matter. I really hope fictional characters don’t form a union, because mine would immediately go on strike over their long hours and terrible working conditions.
Has the movie of MISS PEREGRINE changed how you look at the characters or how you approached writing A Map of Days?
I tried not to let the film creep into my head too much, since the worlds and characters of the book and film have a lot of overlap, but also have differences. One thing that really shined through about the film was how much fun Tim Burton had making it. I tried to have as much fun as I could with this book—even if that meant tormenting my characters!
What did you enjoy most about the film? Is there anything you really want to see happen with future film adaptations of the MISS PEREGRINE novels that wasn’t possible with the first one?
My favorite thing about the movie was the way Tim Burton visualized the world. It’s just overflowing with detail, from the costumes, the sets, the props, and on and on—layers upon layers that you’d never even notice unless you went through the film frame by frame and picked it apart. It was astounding (and humbling) to see the world I created translated so thoroughly, down to the atom, onto film. It’s Tim’s version of my world, of course—but I thought it was genuinely beautiful. And if future books get the film treatment, the only thing I can hope is that someone as talented, driven, and passionate as Tim is sitting in the director’s chair.
A Map of Days is the start of a new companion trilogy set in America, do you already know where things will go in the third book or do you like to work it out as you go along?
I know generally how things will go, but the specifics always sort themselves out as I’m writing. It’s better that way; I have my best ideas in the middle of drafting a book, so trying to plan everything advance usually ends up being a waste of time, anyway.
What do you think is the oddest American custom or behavior?
There are so many to choose from! I’ve always thought the Fourth of July was pretty strange—staging a very short, pretty, fake war in order to commemorate winning a nasty, bloody, real war.
A couple of photos from A Map of Days: