Frequently Asked Questions
Q. “Will Ryan come visit my school?”
Ryan loves school visits and hanging out with kids. Head on over to the SCHOOL VISITS page for more info. Ryan’s schedule is pretty tight these days with making books, so he can’t often leave his cozy little studio; BUT sometimes there are little breaks in his calendar!
Q. “What about a Skype visit?”
Ryan tries to set aside as much time as he can to visit schools and talk about making books. When Ryan is home, however, he focuses all of his attention on his family and making books. For this reason, Ryan doesn’t do Skype visits. ALSO, Ryan is very easily distracted and has trouble talking to a whole classroom through a little screen. He much prefers being there in person.
Q. “How old is Ryan?”
Ryan turned old a couple years ago.
…he was born in November, 1983.
Q. “How does Ryan come up with ideas for books?”
This is the question Ryan gets asked the most. It’s a great question. A fantastic, wonderful, terrific question! And the answer to that fantastic, wonderful, terrific question is… he doesn’t know. It would be great if Ryan hiked to the top of a mountain to meet an elephant who carried a small briefcase filled with story ideas. But that’s not how it works. Ideas just pop into Ryan’s head from time to time. Almost all of his book ideas are bad. But every once in a while there’s a good one. Ryan has found out, however, that the more books he reads, the more ideas he comes up with. So he tries to read a lot of books. Also, Ryan’s best ideas come when he’s outside doing something active and fun, like hiking (but not with elephants) or climbing trees or walking in the woods. Ryan has NEVER come up with a book idea while watching TV or playing video games. So he almost never does either of those things.
Q. “How long does it take to make a book?”
Every book is different and takes a different amount of time to make. Usually, Ryan spends about six months making a book. That’s a pretty long time for something that takes just a few minutes to read. A lot of that time is used for editing and revising. Most of Ryan’s writing process is rewriting. Most of Ryan’s drawing process is redrawing. There’s lots of rewriting and redrawing going on in Ryan’s studio.
Q. “I wrote a book. Will Ryan illustrate it?”
Right now, Ryan only illustrates his own stories. All work that Ryan does comes through his agent and publisher —— which means he is unable to look at your manuscripts.
Q. “Did I just see Ryan walking a miniature donkey?”
Probably not. If you are in or near Ryan’s hometown in Southern Maine, you might see him walking his dogs…but probably not a miniature donkey. He doesn’t have one. It is his greatest wish to get one someday.
Q. “What is Ryan’s favorite part of being an author & illustrator?”
Ryan has THREE favorite parts. First, when an idea for a book pops in his head. Second, when he holds a printed copy of one of his books for the first time. Third, when he hears a kid burst out in a throaty laugh.
Q. “What is Ryan’s least favorite part of being an author & illustrator?”
Just kidding! Ryan loves kids. They’re his favorite type of people. Right now he doesn’t have a least favorite part. He’ll let you know…
Q. “Has Ryan always been an author & illustrator?”
Ryan was NOT born as an author & illustrator. He was actually born as a BABY, and like all babies, he wasn’t very good at writing and drawing until years later. Ryan was not always the best writer or drawer in his class in elementary school BUT he liked writing and drawing so much he did it almost ALL THE TIME. So he wrote and drew more than many other kids. And when you do something a lot, you get better at it.
Q. “How did Ryan become an author & illustrator?”
Have you ever written a story and drawn a picture? Then YOU are an author & illustrator too! Ryan does it for his job because people buy his books. People buy his books because his publisher publishes the books and puts them in bookstores (this is a lot of paraphrasing, but it would take too long to explain all the details). Ryan’s publisher found him because he has a fantastic literary agent. If you’re a kid, don’t worry about agents yet. Just write lots of stories and draw lots of pictures and share them with all your friends. If you’re an adult, join your local chapter of SCBWI to get connected with agents and publishers. It’s a great place to start.