Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go to the Ransereh event organized by their Dutch publishers (Clavis and Blossom Books) in celebration of their wedding and publication of their newest books in The Netherlands.
Unfortunately Ransom and Tahereh couldn’t be there in person, but we did get to Skype with them, which was great as well! I’ve met them before, so I wasn’t too devastated about not meeting them this time.
The event was so much fun! When we walked into the building we were met by someone from the publishing company and we were all, Yeah, we’re on the list. *hairflip*
Then we got fruity drinks and went to the building’s cinema, where apparently we had FRONT ROW SEATS. I didn’t know I was that important… although that was probably because I was one of the four book bloggers on the panel after the interview. We got 3 questions from the publishers to discuss in front of everyone and although it felt like it lasted about 5 minutes, it was pretty cool.
They asked everyone to get their Polaroid picture taken and write something for a photo album they sent to the happy couple.
You may remember the weird Would You Rather questions I like to ask from past interviews I’ve done. Because I asked most of my favourites last time I met them, I didn’t have many good ones left, so only one made it into the actual interview, and you can watch that part and the other funny moments in this video:
When you first started writing your series, did you already have an idea of how it was going to end?
TM: I did know, generally, how things would end, after I finished writing the first book.
RR: I have big plans, and then they don’t happen. I always think of something better while I’m writing.
TM: Ransom is currently writing the third Miss Peregrine book, so good things are happening!
Me: I am fangirling on the inside.
Tahereh, are you writing something new, and if so, what?
TM: I am writing something new! And I can’t talk about it.
RR: It’s very very very very very very very good. And really exciting. I’m really excited about it.
TM: That’s kinda all I can say about it at the moment. We’re at that strange stage in working on something new, where I can’t quite talk about it just yet, but hopefully soon. I’m very excited to be talking about it and tell you what I’m working on next.
It’s not dystopian, it’s not, you know, any of that.
What is it like to write a sequel with such high expectations?
RR: I feel like my expectations of myself are always higher than anyone else’s. And I try to lower everyone’s expectations as much as possible prior to coming out with something. So then if anyone likes it even a little, they’re surprised, in a good way.
TM: The sequel not so much, because there’s still time for people who have strong opinions about how the series should end to have hope that things will turn out the way they want them to.
But with the third book, you suddenly have built up a lot of expectations. So that was a little tricky.
What is it like to be a writer?
RR: It’s great! I don’t want to do anything else, so I’m lucky that someone wants to pay me to do this. You don’t have to get up early in the morning, you don’t have to put on a suit and tie, or really anything other than our pyjamas. And if you write something that other people want to read, you can leave your house once in a while and go talk to them about it.
TM: It’s wonderful to do what you love for a living. Even though it’s difficult, it’s extremely rewarding. There’s this expression in English, and maybe it’s the same in Dutch, but they say that if you spend your life working a job that you love, then you’ve never really worked a day in your life. I think I’ve butchered that, but it’s something like that. And I really think that’s true. I think if your job is something that you love, then it doesn’t really feel like a job. It just feels like fun. So I’m constantly grateful that I get to do this for a living.
RR: Some days it’s pretty hard, though. Some days I’m like, “I really have to go write, and I don’t want to”, and I don’t know how to make myself want to. I’m not allowed to go on the internet, I just have to write. Sometimes it feels like work, but mostly we’re just grateful.
TM: I’m always grateful! But it’s also always hard.
Reader Question: Because there’s all this commotion about Team Adam and Team Warner, I was wondering on which team you are?
TM: I’m Team Ransom! No, I can’t answer that question. First of all, because I’m not on any particular team, I’m really not. If I really had to answer the question, I’d say that I’m on Team Juliette. I’m on her team. I want whatever happens to be the best choice for her. And for who she is and who she’s going to become.
I’ve seen people put me on a specific team before. Like, “Oh, she must be team Warner, or she must be team Adam.” And I’m like, I’m not team anything. I think that the character should end up with the person who is best for them. Or if I’m a sort of cynical author, and I’m trying to do something more interesting, then I’ll put the character with the person who is not very good for them, just to make it interesting, but that’s not really what I’m trying to do here.
Reader Question: Tahereh, in the first book you have a very unique writing style, with the crossing out words and even entire sentences, and repeating words. When I finished the last book, I noticed that the style had changed during the course of the series. And I was wondering if you did that on purpose for the development of Juliette’s character, or did it just happen?
TM: The writing style was absolutely intentional. The writing style in all three books was always meant to mirror the psychological development of Juliette’s character. In the first book, she is on the brink of insanity—she’s nearly lost her mind. She’s been locked up for almost a year, and hasn’t had any human contact in almost just as long. She is struggling to understand herself, as anything more than just a monster. She’s left with nothing but the thoughts and voices in her own head. She has an obsession with words and numbers, and she counts things to keep track of time. All she has is this little notebook in which she writes things down and crosses them out, and repeat. She’s going crazy. The writing is sort of over the top and a little nonsensical and some things don’t quite connect and there’s tons of repititon and it’s almost absurd in some places, because that’s how she’s feeling. It’s like this crazy world of disconnected, really crazed thoughts. The crazier and more anxious she feels, the crazier the writing gets. And the more she calms herself and finds herself, and places where she feels a little stronger, the writing becomes a little clearer and more coherent. My hope for this series and for Juliette is that she would eventually find herself in a position of great strength and power and finally find that strength to speak clearly and without apologising for who she is. To finally stand up and fight back, and fight for herself, and become a young, independent woman.
Me asking a question, probably something ridiculous. (Photo: Martijn Schruijer)
Other things to check out: