Reports of William Ritter’s birthplace are unreliable and varied, placing his hometown either in a series of mysterious Catacombs in Malta or in a nondescript town in Oregon. His parents, it can be confirmed, raised him to value intelligence, creativity, and individuality. When reading aloud, they always did the voices.

At the University of Oregon, William made questionable choices, including willfully selecting classes for the interesting stories they promised, rather than for any practical application. When he wasn’t frivolously playing with words, he earned credits in such meaningful courses as Trampoline, Juggling, and 17th Century Italian Longsword. These dubious decisions notwithstanding, he regrets nothing and now holds degrees in English and Education with certificates in Creative Writing and Folklore.

He currently teaches high school Language Arts, including reading and writing, mythology and heroes. He is a proud husband and father. When reading aloud, he always does the voices.

Jackaby was his first novel. It was born in the middle of the night and written on two different hemispheres. It has survived typhoons and hurricanes, and was fostered into publication through the patient care of many hands.



William Ritter
5729 Main St, BOX # 227
Springfield, Or 97478


Algonquin Young Readers
P.O. Box 2225
Chapel Hill, NC 27515

68 responses to “ABOUT

  1. Elena

    Dear Mr. Ritter,
    I am a big big fan of your new book Jackaby ( since I love Sherlock and Dr. Who, and your book is a perfect blend of the two) and I have one pressing question……Do you pronounce it Jack-a-BEE or Jack-a-BYE ? Please respond, as I would very much like to know the correct way of saying it!
    Thanks! 🙂

    • Thank you for reading! I pronounce his name with a long E, as in “I saw Mister Jackaby whack a bee.” or “I accidentally sat down upon Jackaby’s snack of cheese.”

      • Dear Mr. William Ritter,
        I love Jackaby more than pizza, at the moment. I loved the way the characters progress, and the clues Abigail and Jackaby unfold. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask one question that’s been bothering me for quite a while. Who was the woman Jackaby’s voice got soft for in the beginning, when asked about by Abigail?

        That’s all, and thank you for writing this wonderful book.


      • Hello Wren,
        Thanks so much for reading! Glad you caught that little detail. Jackaby plays his cards pretty close to the chest, but book three has the answer to that one. Until then… spoilers!

  2. Seeing the cover of your book has caught my attention, and I would love to review it on my blog! I have no other way to contact you about this request over then here, but if you are interested you can see the link to my blog attached to the comment and contact me by email:

    lonelysearchforever @ gmail.com

  3. Kaitlyn

    Dear Mr. William Ritter,
    I bought and read your book as soon as I heard about it. I loved it! I am a huge fan of Doctor Who and Sherlock, and when I read the description, that was the seller for me. I will definitely be continuing on with the series, and I am excitedly anticipating the release of the sequel! I was wondering, are you planning on writing any other fantasy series in the future? If so, I will be picking them up!

  4. sandwichteenbookbites

    Me, too! Me, too! I am a youth services librarian on Cape Cod and just delved into Jackaby last night. First class read. Thank you. What I like about it at 1st cup of coffee: 1. Dialogue, 2. 3D characters, 3. Suspenseful storyline that works (for me), 4. Mixing of elementals and Elemental. Good reading. Carry on, William. K

  5. I just finished reading Jackaby, and I LOVED it!!
    I am a moderator and events coordinator on a Goodreads group for David Estes YA Books & Fan Group, and I am in charge of our author Q&A program. We are right now booking authors for 2015. The events are on Goodreads, last about 4 days, and take minimal work from the author (I mod and organize everything, all you have to do is answer questions!) We’ve had all kind of YA writers, some of the big named ones and debut as well. The group members just love these events! We also feature the author’s latest book as one of our “books of the month” as well.

    Here’s a link to the group so you can check it out: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/70863

    And the past Q&A threads: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_folder/193449?group_id=70863

    I would LOVE to book you for a time when you are available! If you have any questions or are interested, you can contact me at juliababyjen (at) gmail (dot) com

    Thank you!!

  6. Lani Hahn

    Hi Will! I am currently reading Jackaby, and am very much enjoying it. I could not find an e-mail for you, so I think leaving this comment will have to suffice! My name is Lani and I’m the Teen Librarian at the Colleyville Public Library in Texas. I am doing a Teen Reading Challenge and am seeking signed books for prizes. I am hoping with awesome prizes, such as signed young adult books, we can have a super successful challenge. It’s hard to get teens excited without awesome prizes. And, as I’m sure you know, library funding is tight, especially in young adult services. If you would be willing to donate a signed copy of one of your books to this program, my teens and I would be incredibly grateful.

  7. Greetings and salutations!
    We have never met, but I know a bit about you. I am a student in the class of Eleanor Campbell, whom I believe you have some relation to. She showed us, her AP English class, your post on feminism, and the comments of a certain Oscar Rivera. Your responses, good sir, were absolutely magnificent. I applauded you. I agree with your opinions, and I have my own controversial topic which I shall argue someday.

    • Thank you very much. Eleanor Campbell is very dear to me, indeed, and one of the sharpest thinkers I know. You’re in good hands, so pay attention. She taught me everything I know.

      Good luck with your topic! Just remember Aristotle’s Appeals: LOGIC (logos), EMOTION (pathos), and CREDIBILITY (ethos). Blend all three and top it off with a little showmanship.

  8. Who would you cast in a Jackaby movie/TV show? Check out this dream-cast page for Jackaby! Please share the link with fans!


  9. Hello Will,
    I loved listening to the audiobook version of Jackaby and am very excited for the next installment. I am Elvira, a teen librarian in Woodburn Oregon and one of the publication managers for the Oregon Young Adult Network. We would love to feature an interview with you in our next newsletter considering Jackaby has also been in the running for our OYAN Book Raves list we put out yearly. Would you be interested?

  10. Jonathan

    Mr. Ritter,
    How do we get in touch with you concerning author visits? The Dallas Public Library Children’s Center in Dallas, TX has a big Halloween festival in October and we would love to invite you! I just finished Jackaby and thought it was a marvelous read.

  11. Kayla Thommen, Samantha Urrutia

    Dear Mr. William Ritter,
    Hello, you probably don’t remember us but we attended the book fair you gave a speech to at LaCreole Middle School in Dallas Oregon. We, Kayla Thommen and Samantha Urrutia, sadly had to leave earlier than we wanted to, and might have unintentionally offended you. Our mother had us come home early, but we really appreciated all that you had to say and your speech was inspirational and encouraged us to pour our hearts in our writing. We wanted to send you this message to clear up any misconceptions, we truly are sorry and appreciate you coming to our school to talk to us.
    Sincerely, Your fans, Kayla Thommen and Samantha Urrutia 🙂

  12. dawnabron

    Do you Skype libraries?

  13. May Sligh

    Hi! I just got ” jackaby” for a young man who is the son of a dear friend. I wondered if you could tell me whether the topic of children losing parents appears in the story. My friend died suddenly about a year ago so I wanted to be sure not to give her son a book that dealt with that topic in any way, if possible. Please let me know…I’d appreciate it!! -May

    • Very thoughtful of you. My narrator’s parents are alive and well, although living on the other side of the globe. No loss-of-parents narrative in JACKABY. That said, it IS a murder mystery, so death is a part of the story. Comparing her isolated employer to a bereaved woman, for example, my narrator remarks “I wondered which was sadder, leaving someone to cry after you when you were gone, or not having anyone who would miss you in the first place.” I hope that helps you with your decision.

      • May Sligh

        I think it will be just fine! thanks for getting back to me. My plan is to send him the whole series eventually.

  14. Beth Dolnicek

    Mr. Ritter,
    I am the author/illustrator contact person for our state’s children’s choice award, the Golden Sower Award. I am looking for an email address to send you your congratulatory letter because you are one of ten finalists for our 2017 award. Is it possible for you to help me out in this regard?
    Beth Dolnicek
    School Librarian
    Bruning-Davenport USD

  15. Jackie Ketcham

    I don’t know if this is a good place to write fan mail, but I loved Jackaby! Thank you so much for creating something so amazing.

  16. Lauren

    I am doing a project on your book for school is there a place in which I can find your email in order to contact you ASAP. If not that’s ok but it would be fine but it would be wonderful to get a response I’m a huge fan of your book and am currently reading your second one.
    Lauren. 🙂

  17. Luisa Machowski

    Mr. Ritter, greetings from Brazil!

    I have read your book, Jackaby, back in December and I absolutely loved it, the way the story is developed, each detail unfolding in front of my eyes amazed me to no end. Plus your characters are incredibly funny and relatable.
    And the covers are breathtaking.
    However the sequels (Beastly Bones and Ghostly Echoes) were not published in my country, which is sad because I really looked forward to reading them,
    Anyways, just stopped by to show appreciation for one of the best books I’ve ever read.

    • Hi Luisa! I’m so happy Jackaby has found readers in Brazil! I don’t know Editora Gente’s plans for the rest of the series, but I hope they find their way to you soon! Thanks so much for your kind words—keep reading!

  18. Mr. Ritter, Congrats on Jackaby’s nomination to the 2017 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award. I’ve sent you an email with more info. Thanks!

  19. Nancy Sage

    Just finished the first two books in the series. Absolutely brilliant. I am a 7th grade teacher in a middle school and will definitely be recommending these books to my students. The Sherlock and Dr. Who fans will both love them. Couldn’t help but visualize Benedict Cumberbatch when you described Jackaby. Any connections on your end?

    • Thank you Nancy! I’m a daddy and an educator myself, so it warms my heart to know I’m on classroom bookshelves. I hope you’re enjoying the rest of your summer! I began writing Jackaby before I had ever seen his version of Holmes, so he’s not the face I see in my own head—but Cumberbatch is fantastic!

  20. Anna Perktold

    Hey Mr. William Ritter!
    “Jackaby” was just translated into German and I picked it up while browsing in a local book shop. So glad I did! I really love it. So I ordered the other ones in English too, since I love detective stories… and everything paranormal and mystic. Also, there’s a great sense of humour and the characters are all just awesome. I love you for writing that book, a big Thank you!! You made my life better with this.
    Not sure if you hate the comparison to Sherlock all the time, but yes, it reminded me of it, which is great, because I love this stuff.
    Let me tell you that I love your book and Thank you!
    Greetings from Austria, Anna

  21. elfa

    BEST BOOK OF ALL TIMES… in other words I LOVE IT!!!!!!!

  22. Gabbie

    Dear William Ritter,
    My name is Gabbie, and I am writing to you for my Reading for Fun class. We are doing a project on books with the Oklahoma Sequoyah Award. Out of all the books I had to choose from this year, I decided to read “Jackaby” because of all the reviews; it seemed very appealing. People compared it to be a cross between Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes were very much right!
    Although it might not be the most exciting bit of the book. my favorite part was when Jackaby was making eggs for breakfast and couldn’t differentiate the gun powder and paprika so he added a smidge of both for good measure. “I have ceased concerning myself with how things look to other people, Abigail Rook. I suggest you do the same. In my experience, others are generally wrong”, is an amazing quote. I believe it just means to be yourself. Did you get your inspiration from other TV and movies? Also, where did the inspiration for the names?
    Thank you for taking the time to read this. Good day.

    • Hi Gabby! Thanks so much for writing, and thanks for reading! Sorry for my delay. I get inspiration all over. A lot comes from authors I love, but also from people in my life and experiences I’ve gone through. Many of the names are nods to detective fiction. Marlowe, Spade, Charlie, and other minor characters are named for famous detectives. Jackaby is named after my son, Jack. That was his nickname when he was newborn. Keep reading!


  23. Pingback: Jackaby – Elysse Rose Reviews

  24. Elaine Montuori

    Thank you for an entertaining romp full of mystery, foreboding and magical creatures, good and evil. I am planning on recommending this book for the high school library where I work. Keep Writing! I read very quickly!
    Elaine Montuori

  25. Sarah

    Dear Mr. William Ritter,
    I have recently read “Jackaby”, and I loved it! I’ve also read good reviews about your novella “The Map”, and I can’t wait to read it, but there seems to be a slight problem. “The Map” is only available in the US version of the iBooks store, and I use the Canadian one. If possible, could you add your short novella to the Canadian iBooks store as well? I am DYING to read it!
    Please and thank you!
    (P.S: Were Jackaby’s character traits inspired by someone you know?)
    (P.P.S: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?)
    Thank you for inspiring me!

    • Hello Sarah,
      Thanks so much! I will pass on the Canadian iBooks issue to my publishers.

      Jackaby’s traits are inspired by many people. His enthusiasm for folklore and mythology are my own nerdy nature coming through. His spontaneity and spirit are very much my wife’s. His experimental cooking comes from my father. His arrogance and lack of social tact echo a few people I know as well, but I’ll let them remain anonymous. 😉

      My greatest tip is just to keep writing, even when it doesn’t feel good enough. Every author feels like their writing is generally garbage, but only by writing the garbage do you give yourself enough material to make great art out of it. So, KEEP WRITING! (I recently posted some materials I use in my writing workshops, if you’d like a few more specific tips & exercises: https://rwillritter.wordpress.com/writing-workshop/ )

      ~Will Ritter

  26. Jamie E Griffith

    How could you end the series like that?!?! I am, all at once, completely in love and utterly frustrated! The Dire King was beautifully written, but I will never forgive you for leaving me on the ledge like that!
    Regardless, I look forward to whatever sprouts from your imagination next.

  27. Pingback: Jackaby | Caniglia INFO 265 Project

  28. Kaylee

    Dear Mr. Ritter,
    I just finished the Dire king book. I have a question. At the end of the story Abigail says that [—spoiler—]. Does that mean [—spoiler—] comes to life?

  29. Kaylee

    Thanks for answering. Like you finished your jackaby series I think you should write about Abigail as the seer. I really liked the books you wrote

  30. Tulasi

    Dear Mr. Ritter,
    I just finished all four of your books over a span of a few days, and I just want to thank you. I wish I had taken more time to soak them in but I couldn’t put them down. It had been so long since I read a book that captured my interest like this. I love Abigail and she is most definitely my favorite protagonist of all time. I love how she was so intelligent and adventurous all without giving up her feminity. It’s hard to find strong female leads who are able to find balance in their lives without having to take on additional sacrifices just to take on a supporting role. I especially loved Lydia Lee. While I am not trans, I am part of the LGBTQ+ community and I rarely come across a queer poc in mainstream literature. I appreciate the efforts you take to be inclusive. I loved Jackaby (he gave me bbc Sherlock vibes which was great) and his perfectly platonic relationship with Abigail and his not-so-platonic relationship with Jenny. This series is one of my favorites and has a special place in my heart (and my shelves). Sorry this isn’t very coherent, I should be studying for ap tests right now, but I had to get this out. Thank you again!

    • What a marvelously sweet message. Thanks so much for writing, just made my day—and for reading. I’m so happy my books found their way to you. 🙂

      Oh—and good luck on your tests!

  31. kclogger

    Dear Mr. Ritter
    Thank you thank you thank you thank you for writing the beautiful series that is Jackaby. I am now reading it for the second time and enjoying as much or maybe even more than I did the first time. The only downside is how late I’ve been staying up to read😂
    I love Jackaby’s character. Like one of my favorite book characters. His quirky ness and obliviousness to social cues make me laugh out loud, and the times when he shows kindness just make me so happy. And sir, it was genius to make Jackaby’s past and abilities unknown at the beginning and slowly reveal more as the series went on.
    I cried during the fourth book. Like I was so emotionally invested in that book at that point. The whole series was just fantastic and my new favorite series. I’m just waiting for you to finish your next book! Thank you!!

  32. kclogger

    Also, I don’t understand how you come up with such deep and beautiful quotes. I was literally taking pictures of the page.

    • Thanks so much for your very generous words. I’m thrilled that Jackaby found such a warm reception. I have loved writing these characters so much, and it is hard to step away from them, but it’s also heartening to hear that they have a place on your shelf.

      I am indeed already working on my next series with a new cast of characters I am coming to love just as much (and maybe even just a couple of familiar names and faces in the bunch). I do hope they will be as well received.

  33. William Bryant

    I am sad to see jackaby end, it is a story that has touched my heart and it has a solid place on my shelf, I have read the first book alone 3 times already and still enjoy it. Thank you so much for writing this story, it is one I have dreamed of writing myself and it is so good to see one finally be written. You did a beautiful job.

    I do have a question though, I saw in one of your comments you are working on a new series? Is this true? And if so how is it going? As a writer myself I can’t get anything to come out, I feel like giving up.

  34. Pingback: Jackaby by William Ritter | Leaf's Reviews

  35. Pingback: REVIEW: The Oddmire by William Ritter – Storythreads

  36. Shelley T

    I’m not sure how you did it, but I’m reading “The Dire King” right this minute and it’s giving me chills how true to what’s going on it is following. You are a prophet or a time traveler, sir. Either way, thank you if it opens some eyes a bit further today.

    • Thanks for reading, Shelley! The same basic good vs evil plot has played out countless times throughout history—but somebody always insists on playing the villain, don’t they?

  37. Pingback: Official Blog Tour: (The Oddmire Book 2:) The Unready Queen by William Ritter – Books Less Travelled Reviews

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