An Interview with Ransom Riggs and Miss Peregrine
Prepare yourselves, peculiars. Miss Peregrine found time in her VERY busy schedule to do an interview with none other than author of the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, Ransom Riggs! Scroll down to read and remember you order your copy of Miss Peregrine’s Museum of Wonders here.
A conversation with Ransom Riggs and Alma LeFay Peregrine on the occasion of the publication of MISS PEREGRINE’S MUSEUM OF WONDERS: An Indispensable Guide to the Dangers and Delights of the Peculiar World for the Instruction of New Arrivals
Ransom Riggs: I understand that you’ve been compiling the materials for MISS PEREGRINE’S MUSEUM OF WONDERS for quite some time. Did you ever think it would see the light of day? And what made you decide to share it with readers now?
Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine: I should state, firstly, that I’m not accustomed to this sort of questioning, and I find it entirely disconcerting, so please forgive me if I squirm a bit. You see, we peculiars have lived much of our lives in the shadows, and have grown comfortable there. But after the recent events in London, the hollowgast is out of the bag, so to speak, and more normal people than ever are aware of our existence. That is why, despite the risks inherent in such a publication, I felt now was the time for this book: with more awareness comes more danger, and so it is of even greater importance for peculiars everywhere to understand how to navigate both our world and the normal one, as well as how to protect themselves.
RR: As someone who has given sanctuary to many peculiars over the years, what practical advice do you have for interacting with ‘normal’ humans?
ALP: Don’t. If it absolutely can’t be helped, make a study of them first lest you risk exposing yourself as an anachronistic interloper. Observe and mimic their mannerisms and patterns of speech. Practice by role-playing such encounters with peculiar friends in advance. You might research normal fashion trends by perusing back issues of Miss Scrimshaw’s annual digest, Passing Fancy, or familiarize yourself with contemporary jargon by reading our pamphlet on the subject, Say What? 500 Far Out Phrases to Help You Sound Normal Right Now (new edition for 1973). If it’s going poorly, feign an uncontrollable coughing fit to precipitate the end of any conversation. And whatever you do, never, ever fall in love with them.
RR: There are a number of loops detailed in the book – is there one which is a favorite place to visit or holds particular significance to you?
ALP: In the main, my visits to various loops are all business — verifying that the prisoners in certain punishment loops are sufficiently miserable, and so on — but on the rare occasions when I have a day or two at leisure, I like to dip into the past and visit Miss Avocet’s ymbryne academy, where I spent my formative years. Ah, we got up to such mischief, the other fledglings and I … oh, now, you’re making me all misty-eyed with nostalgia, and crying gives me the pimple-pamplins, which disarranges my vertiferous humors most appallingly. [Miss Peregrine honks loudly into a handkerchief, then feigns an uncontrollable coughing fit.]
RR: Some readers may be surprised to learn that some famous historical figures were secretly peculiar. Was there one that stood out to you as you were doing research for this book?
ALP: Indeed. Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a celebrated English engineer who also happened to be peculiar: he had unbreakable bones. Ironically, after surviving falls from great heights, a tunnel cave-in, and being sucked through a mile-long pneumatic tube, he was nearly killed by a small coin, which he aspirated quite by accident while trying to impress his children with a magic trick. To dislodge it required six weeks of being strapped to a board, inverted, and shaken like a rag doll, which expelled the coin but left his brains a bit jellied. There’s a lesson here for us all, I think: let the children be bored now and then, for heaven’s sake. It won’t jelly their brains.
RR: Do you have a message for any ‘normal’ who may be hearing of peculiars for the first time through MISS PEREGRINE’S MUSEUM OF WONDERS?
ALP: I imagine you think this is all made-up fantasy nonsense. That’s just as well. But if one day you should happen to meet one of the remarkable people detailed in this book — someone whose feet don’t quite touch the ground, say, or who is trailed everywhere by a hive of obedient bees — please have a care and keep it to yourself. Chalk it up to a waking dream or a hyperactive imagination. Leave your camera-telephone in your pocket and keep your voice down. We mean you no harm — and I should hate to have to memory-wipe you and your entire family.