Husband and wife writing duo Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi discussed their unique writing rituals and how they first met during a panel hosted by our Anthony Breznican at EW’s first-ever PopFest in Los Angeles on Saturday.
“We met because we were both writers in the Young Adult writing community,” said Riggs, who’s best known for penning Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. “I think we met at WonderCon, that’s the first time we ever encountered one another.”
Mafi, who wrote the beloved YA series Shatter Me, clarified their initial encounter. “The first time we really met, I had just purchased his book and asked him to sign it for me,” she said. “I still have that book.”
Both authors have achieved great success with their individual series, but on top of sharing a household and profession, both of their latest projects — Riggs’ spinoff collection Tales of the Peculiar and Mafi’s inventive middle grade fantasy Furthermore — were released in the same week.
“We embraced it, but it was not our idea exactly,” said Riggs of the timing. “My book was kind of tied to the release of the film [version of Miss Peregrine’s].” Tim Burton’s recent adaption of Riggs’ first novel in the trilogy marked the first of their books to hit the big screen, thus creating a new schedule for the couple. “At first it was a little jarring because we thought we wouldn’t see each other for a month,” said Mafi. “We would be like ships passing in the night. But we actually have the same publisher and editor who worked it out.”
As far as their day-to-day writing processes, both authors shared that they have different approaches to the medium. Mafi says she’ll write day and night for two weeks, but is inspired by her husband’s ability to work at a steady pace. “Ransom wakes up in the morning and jumps in the shower,” she said. “He doesn’t even check his email in bed.” An excellent day of writing for Mafi shows “10,000 words, while a pretty good day is half as much.”
Riggs sees the importance in his wife’s writing style though, pointing out how her characters turn out. “She will dig into the character’s mind and soul and start the story there,” said Riggs. “I try to do that too, but that’s a great way to honor your character.”
Their comments at PopFest echo what the authors told EW earlier this year when they sat down for an in-depth look at how the write and work side by side. “She’s like an Italian race car. She writes faster, better and more effectively than anybody I know and she can put out an amazing amount of high quality material and just keep going,” Riggs said of Mafi. Of her husband, Mafi said, “Ransom’s great for reminding me to emerge.”
But the pair won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Riggs recently announced a new trilogy for Miss Peregrine and Mafi’s’s already at work on a sequel to Furthermore.
EW PopFest runs through Sunday. For ticketing info and more, head here.