• Raised—in Florida, USA
• Education—Kenyon College; University of
• Currently—lives in Los Angeles, California
Ransom Riggs grew up in Florida but now makes his home in the land of peculiar children—Los Angeles. Along the way he earned degrees from Kenyon College and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television, got married, and made some award-winning short films. He moonlights as a blogger and travel writer, and his series of travel essays, Strange Geographies, can be found at mentalfloss.com or via ransomriggs.com. This is his first novel. (From the publisher.)
In his words
I was born on a 200-year-old farm in rural maryland, where at the tender age of five I decided that I definitely wanted to be a farmer when I grew up, because being a farmer meant driving tractors. Then, partially as a result of my new ambition, my mom moved us far away to Florida, where there were relatively few farms but lots and lots of old people and not very much for kids to do.
In retrospect, it was precisely because there wasn’t a lot to do, and because the internet didn’t exist and cable TV was only like twelve channels back then, that I was forced to make my own fun and my own stories—and that’s what I’m still doing, only now I get paid for it. So thanks, sleepy Florida fishing village!
I grew up writing stories and making videos in the backyard with my friends. I knew I wanted to do one or both of those things in some professional capacity when I got older, but I didn’t know how. For three summers during high school I attended the University of Virginia’s Young Writer’s Workshop, and I still consider it one of the shaping experiences of my life. I met so many great, brilliant people, and it convinced me that it was possible to make a life for myself as a writer.
I also knew I wanted to make movies. So I compromised, and went to Kenyon College first to study English, then moved out to Los Angeles to go to film school at the University of Southern California. Looking back, that was a lot of time and money spent on school, but I don’t regret it at all Being part of those creative communities gave me lots of time to practice writing things and making movies before I had to go out and try to do either of those things professionally.
So now I do a lot of different things, which can make for a rambling and confused-sounding answer when I am asked, as I often am in work-obsessed Los Angeles, “So...what do you do? But I will attempt to answer this question, in list form:
• I write books First, a non-fiction book about Sherlock Holmes. Then a novel about peculiar children (2011). Then a book of found photographs with writing on them, coming out in 2012. I'm fairly certain there are more novels on the way. I can feel them clanking around half-formed in my brain.
• I make movies. I went to film school and made a lot of shorts there, then after I graduated I got jobs making short and some book trailers, too, like this and this. I also write screenplays and make the occasional video blog.
• I word-blog for mentalfloss.com. My favorite column is a series of photo-travel-essays called Strange Geographies. (From the author's website.)
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