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Kidsday interviews author R.L. Stine

Author R.L. Stine appears with Kidsday reporters, from

Author R.L. Stine appears with Kidsday reporters, from left, Luke Cessman, Liam Kolasinski, Alaysia Consolazio and Brianna Sanchez, all of the Charles E. Walters Elementary School in Yaphank, at the Books of Wonder Store in Manhattan. (Oct. 29, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday / Patrick Mullooly

We met R.L. Stine, the author of the “Goosebumps” series and his latest collaboration, “Fear: Thirteen Stories of Suspense and Horror,” which he wrote with Meg Cabot, Heather Graham, Suzanne Weyn and others. Stine was at the Books of Wonder store in Manhattan on Oct. 28 when we had the chance to ask him a few questions about his career. A portion of the proceeds from the book is being donated to Reading Is Fundamental.

Do you think people will like your new book, “Fear”?
Yes, I think so because it’s 13 different weird stories. It’s got all kinds of different stories; it’s written by 13 different people and it’s got a lot of thriller stories and a vampire story and all kinds of weird things. I think people will like it a lot. A lot of suspense in that book.

Do you still take your kids trick-or-treating?
No. My son is 30. So he doesn’t go trick-or-treating. But what I do in my building, the kids all come to my back door and I have a skeleton in my office in my apartment, and I bring the skeleton out and I have some eyeballs, bring out some eyeballs and we give out candy and books. Everybody gets both.

How many brothers and sisters do you have?
One of each.

Do you like to scare them?
When my brother and I were little we had the same room, and we slept in twin beds and we used to try and scare each other every night. We would tell each other really creepy stories and try to scare each other. That’s the first time I knew I like really scary stuff

How did you get ideas for "Goosebumps" and your other books?
I don’t know where ideas come from, do you? You get ideas right? Where do they come from? Usually I say, well I need to do a new mummy book. So I start thinking about mummies. I’ll get an idea or I’d say, gee I have to do another monster blood book and then I’ll start thinking about monster blood -- and eventually an idea will come to me. That’s the mysterious part about writing, because you really don’t know where ideas come from.

Is being an author a hard job?
Is it a hard job? I think it’s an easy job. I like it. I have fun with it every day. Even with all the books I’ve written I still want to write more. I have so much fun with it. It’s just something that always came easy for me. I started writing when I was 9. That’s when I started writing stories. I just loved it from that time; I guess I was a weird kid? I was in my room writing and writing. My mother would say: "Go outside and play; what’s wrong with you? Go outside." I’d say, "It’s boring out there," and I’d be typing away. I don’t know why.

We know your birthday is Oct. 8. Do you have a Halloween birthday?
That’s a good idea. I’ve never tried that. No I don’t think I’ve ever had a Halloween birthday. Maybe I’ll do it next year. Thanks for the idea. That’s very cool.

Out of all the books you've read, what is the title of your favorite?
Here’s my favorite title. It’s called “Little Shop of Hamsters." That’s my favorite title. My other favorite title, “Say Cheese and Die.”

What is your favorite book that you wrote and why?
I have a lot of favorites. I guess I like all the ones with “Slappy, the Evil Dummy” and “The Night of the Living Dummy.” He’s really nasty. He’s a dummy that comes to life, and he’s very rude and he’s very nasty and it’s fun to write somebody who’s so rude.

Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author is a science-fiction writer named Ray Bradbury. He wrote hundreds of science-fiction stories, and I just love his books.

Can you tell us about some of the awards you received?
Well I received a Nickelodeon Kids Choice award, which was nice, and I received some Disney Kids awards. I don’t get a lot of awards. My awards come from my kids.

What was your childhood like?
My childhood was very quiet and very normal. I lived in a tiny little house in Columbus, Ohio. We were very poor. We didn’t have much money. There were five of us. It was a really tiny house smaller than this room. And there wasn’t anything special about it, very quiet. I don’t know why I like scary stuff so much because I didn’t have a scary childhood.

Where did you come up with the title “Goosebumps?”
Do you know where I got the title? I was reading TV Guide, the TV listings, and I was just looking through the TV schedule and there was a little ad and it said, "it’s goosebumps week on Channel 11." They were showing scary movies, and I just stared at it. There it was in a magazine. It’s Goosebumps week on Channel 11. I knew that would be a great name. That’s where it came from.

Tell us what is your favorite scary movie is and why?
Oh, I don’t know. I like a lot of scary movies. My favorite scary movie is called “Evil Dead 2,” and it’s a real nasty movie. My favorite part is when this eyeball comes flying across the room. An eyeball and somebody swallows it. Uck, right?

What scares you?
What scares me? I don’t know. Not very much. When I go to a scary movie, I laugh. It makes me laugh. If I read a scary book, I don’t get scared. I always laugh. I don’t know why. That’s weird right?

Can you please go to our classroom and talk to our class?
Where is your school?

Long Island, Yapank.
Well, your teacher or your librarian has to write to Scholastic, and they can ask and see. My schedule is very busy. I’d love to come, but sometimes I have too many books to write.

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