Author Interview with William Ritter

POSTED ON August 22, 2017 BY Austine IN Interview

Hello, everyone! I’m so excited to say that author William Ritter has agreed to join us here on NovelKnight today for an interview! He is the author of the Jackaby series, which you can read more about in my reviews!

About William Ritter

William Ritter is an Oregon educator and author of the bestselling Jackaby series. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark.


All About William

You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired Jackaby and the rest of the series?

Lots of things inspire my stories. My wife. My kids. My students. I teach mythology and folklore, which heavily influence the books I write. I read often, which influences my voice. I also want the world to be less awful, which influences the themes and messages I include.

Introduce us to your main character!

Abigail Rook narrates the series. She is a young woman from England who wants more from life than garden parties. She is still young and not always confident, but she knows that she wants adventure and that she wants to make a difference, and the series follows her along that path.

Her employer, R.F. Jackaby, is a seer. He sees through magical glamors and mortal facades to the truth of things, and has turned this ability into a career as a detective specializing in unexplained phenomena. He spends his time protecting people from monsters they don’t even believe exist, and as a result, he has very little concern for what others think of him.

Walk us through a day in the life of William Ritter.

I teach High School English classes (Mythology and Creative Writing). In the afternoon I take care of my kids (two boys, 7 and 12), and spend time with my brilliant wife. When possible, we spend our afternoons imagining exciting worlds together and peopling them with fun characters. More often, however, we do laundry and pull legos out of the couch cushions. I read to my kids and put them to bed, and then stay up as long as I can to do a little writing or editing of my own before collapsing.

Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?

Write garbage, edit gold.

I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

I just finished When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, which is a delightful romantic comedy. I also recently read The Girl who Drank the Moon to my boys, and was reminded how really beautiful Kelly Barnhill’s prose are in that one.

Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

I often get compared to Sherlock, Supernatural, Buffy, and Doctor Who, all of which I fully embrace. I love playing with mythology and folklore and writing about weirdo characters in turn-of-the-century settings. If that sounds fun, you might give it a try.


Now for the Fun…

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Not good with numbers.

What is your most embarrassing memory?

An ill-advised childhood Halloween costume worn with only the best intentions.

What is your Hogwarts house?


Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?

Jenny Cavanaugh. Unless being already pre-deceased disqualifies her, in which case. . . Douglas. He’s a crafty duck.

A famous movie producer wants to make your books into movies and they want you to cast your characters. Which actors/actresses make the cut?

I would cast Emma Watson as Abigail, if only for the opportunity to work with Emma Watson.

You just won America’s Got Talent. What’s your talent?

Playing classic rock covers on the bagpipes. I’ve never played the bagpipes, I just have a feeling I would be really good at them.

Radioactive space rock fell from the sky and turned you into a superhero/villain. Tell us your new name, describe your powers, and what does your costume look like?

I would be TRIVIAL MAN, and my super power would be identifying the plots to terrible Eddie Murphy films from the 1990s. Meteor Man was not good. I would probably wear a hat.

This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?

As much as I love period fiction, the past is generally pretty awful. I’d like to travel to the future to catch a glimpse of where we’re headed, then come back. I figure it would either be reassuring to know we’re making real progress, or it would give me time to try to prevent whatever catastrophe we’re headed toward.

Coffee or tea?

Tea. Or Red Bull.

Best ice cream flavor ever?

Samoa Girl Scout Cookie ice cream

Your theme song/personal anthem?

The theme song from Fraggle Rock is my jam.

Favorite quote?

“Growing up is highly overrated. Just be an author.” –Neil Gaiman

What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?

Be yourself and love the things that you love without shame—and then turn around and help other people do the same. The world would be a much better place if we all actively worked to help each other feel comfortable being our best selves.

Author Interview with William Ritter
Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter
Published on September 16, 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 299
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult

Buy the Book!
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion--and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary--including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police--with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane--deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

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2 responses to “Author Interview with William Ritter

  1. This interview is THE BEST!! ❤ Jackaby was so good and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. I am so glad he agrees about the comparisons with Buffy and Sherlock and Doctor Who!!