HI, I’M RANSOM, and I like to tell stories. Sometimes I tell them with words, sometimes with pictures, often with both. I grew up on a farm on the Eastern shore of Maryland and also in a little house by the beach in Englewood, Florida where I got very tan and swam every day until I became half fish. I started writing stories when I was young, on an old typewriter that jammed and longhand on legal pads. When I was a little older I got a camera for Christmas and became obsessed with photography, and when I was a little older still my friends and I came into possession of a half-broken video camera and began to make our own movies, starring ourselves, using our bedrooms and backyards for sets. I have loved writing stories and taking photographs and making movies ever since, and have endeavored to do all three.
AFTER HIGH SCHOOL I WENT TO KENYON COLLEGE, a very pretty and quite old by American standards college in rural Ohio, where I studied literature and got a degree in English. Then I fulfilled a long-held dream and went to film school at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. I’d been making films since the backyard-masterpiece days of my childhood, but at USC I learned how to make them bigger and better and shiny-looking. I graduated with what I thought was a pretty slick thesis film under my arm and went out into the world to conquer the film festival circuit and then Hollywood — or at least that was the plan, though it didn’t quite work out that way. I spent a few years writing scripts and taking meetings and getting not very far, trying any way I could to get noticed. All the while I was writing: for five years I had a gig as a daily blogger for mentalfloss.com, and I also wrote for their magazine, contributed to a few books they published through Harpercollins, and wrote for a couple of other publications here and there, as well.
ALL OF WHICH TURNED INTO AN OPPORTUNITY to do some work for a small publisher who knew my editors at mentalfloss. That was Quirk Books, who asked me if I was interested in writing a book about Sherlock Holmes for them. I jumped at the opportunity. That was The Sherlock Holmes Handbook. Next came Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, born out of my love for vintage photography and bizarro stories, and I never looked back. I still love movies and I still make short films (here are some recent ones) and one day I will make a feature — when the time and the material are right. These days, though, I’m loving being a novelist, a photo collector, and an occasional short filmmaker. I live in Los Angeles with my wife, the lovely and talented Tahereh Mafi — who is also a writer, and if you haven’t read her lovely and exciting Shatter Me books you’re missing out — and we type and travel and drink tea together and it’s really quite wonderful.