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In February, EW brought you an exclusive excerpt from the third book of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series: Library of Souls. Now, we can finally reveal the haunting cover for Library of Souls—another eerie, old-fashioned photograph of a peculiar child, like the ones that inspired the series’ first novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Riggs talked to EW about where Jacob and Emma’s adventures will take them in Library of Souls and about watching his beloved series turn into a Tim Burton film (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiars will be released in 2016).
Library of Souls will be released September 22, 2015. Check out the Q&A and cover below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Can you tell us a bit of what Library of Souls will be about?
RANSOM RIGGS: The end of Hollow City left the peculiar children in a very precarious spot, and that’s just where Library of Souls begins. Jacob has just discovered he has a powerful new ability, and he and Emma, a hot-tempered peculiar with fire at her fingertips, must rescue their friends from a heavily-guarded fortress. But to get there they’ll have to survive Devil’s Acre, a wretched, Victorian-era slum populated by murderers, thieves, and the peculiar criminals who live there in exile. It’s the thickest of the three books, and is filled with more characters, more world-building, and more action than the other novels combined.
You’ve said that the first book in the series took only 10 months to write, but the second, Hollow City, took two and a half years. How long did it take to complete Library of Souls?
I think Hollow City only took a year and a half to write … but it felt like two and a half! Part of the reason it took so long was that I re-wrote the book a couple of times; just threw the whole thing out and started over. It was painful, but I really wanted to get Hollow City right, and I’m glad I put in the time because I’m really proud of it. Library of Souls is longer than Hollow City by a considerable margin, but this time I was on the right track from the beginning, so I never had to start over. It took about 15 months, all told.
Who are some of the new characters we’ll meet in Library of Souls?
Readers of Hollow City will remember Addison MacHenry, the proud and pretentious peculiar dog; he has a big mouth and plays a big role in Library of Souls, and was a ton of fun to write. Another of my favorites is a terrifying, seven-foot-tall Grim Reaper / River Styx boatman-type character named Sharon, who runs a peculiar tour company and acts as our heroes’ guide to the underworld of Devil’s Acre. I also love writing villains and characters who may or may not be trustworthy, and there are plenty of each – including both Miss Peregrine’s brothers. (I can say no more!)
You recently visited the film set for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Can you tell us what the mansion looks like?
Miss Peregrine’s home is really the symbolic heart of the story (as well as its title), and Tim Burton and his team of set designers and decorators have done an extraordinary job bringing it to life. I was able to see a number of the interior sets, which were built on sound stages in a studio, and they are grand and eccentric and Victorian – and so immersive and detailed that I had a genuine out-of-body moment when I came onto the sound stage. I thought I’d walked into the pages of my book. And then to watch Tim bounding around them like an enthusiastic kid in a life-sized play-land … double out-of-body. Especially for someone who grew up loving his movies.
What part of the novel are you most excited to see onscreen?
The relationship between Jacob and Emma. It’s really the soul of the story, and of Jacob’s journey from ordinary to extraordinary. They’re played by Asa Butterfield and Ella Purnell, who are not only fantastic people but great actors, as well. I’ve watched some of their scenes from behind the camera, and they’re funny and charming and have tons of chemistry. I can’t wait to watch their friendship and love for one another unfold on the big screen.