It's been an incredible few weeks since Miss Peregrine was published. It's difficult to overstate just how incredible. Suffice to say that I'm very good at keeping my expectations low in order to avoid serious disappointment. Before Miss Peregrine came out, I was just hoping that it would find an audience of any size -- that this strange little book full of odd black-and-white photographs and what seemed like risky plot twists would resonate with some readers, gain a little cult following, and maybe garner a few nice reviews. After all, my intrepid publisher, Quirk Books, didn't have gobs of money to throw at a splashy marketing campaign. They put together an eye-catching package for the book (as they always do), but the marketplace is crowded; the world is fuller than ever of books, movies, games; stories in every form imaginable, all loudly competing for attention. So as the book release approached, despite enthusiasm and encouragement from early reviewers and bloggers who'd read advance copies of Miss Peregrine, I tried to distract myself with other projects, assuming that my publication date would come and go without a whole lot of fuss.
Never in my life have I been happier to be wrong. A week before the book hit shelves, there was a heated auction that resulted in the film rights to Miss Peregrine being sold to 20th Century Fox. Okay, I told myself. That was great, but don't get too excited. Just because they bought the rights to make a movie doesn't mean they're actually going to make one -- and it doesn't mean anyone's going to pay attention to the book. Movie rights sales happen all the time, to books no one's ever heard of.
Which was true enough. But just as I was once again girding myself for disappointment, reviews started coming in. Good reviews. Entertainment Weekly, People, The Associated Press, CNN.com, The Christian Science Monitor, McClatchy's news service, Canada's National Post and The Los Angeles Times all had nice things to say. Not to mention the editors at Amazon.com, who named it the best YA book of June, and then one of the best YA books of 2011 (so far, it being only July). The cumulative effect of all this fuss about Miss Peregrine -- on me, psychologically -- has been a combination of delight, anxiety, and a kind of embarassment. (Are they really talking about my book? That thing I worked on alone in my spare bedroom for a year? God, that's weird.)
So we'd sold the film rights, and people were saying nice things. Still, I prepared myself to be disappointed. Just because some reveiwers like it doesn't mean anyone's actually going to buy it, I counseled myself. Don't get your hopes up. And then it hit the New York Times bestseller list, and the last of my defenses came tumbling down. There was no getting around it: I was -- am -- living the dream of countless struggling writers, who if they're anything like the struggling writer I was just a few months ago, hardly dare admit they dream of such things.
I'll have more exciting developments to share soon. In the meantime, to all the book bloggers who took the time to write about Miss Peregrine, to all the enthusiastic readers who've enjoyed the book and reached out to me, to the photo collectors who welcomed me to their world and continue to help me find amazing images, and to the fantastic team at Quirk Books, I want to say thank you. I am humbled.