We interviewed “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” author Jeff Kinney when he was in Manhattan recently.
Did you always want to be a writer when you were younger?
I didn’t. I wanted to become a cartoonist. I wanted to be a cartoonist even when I was an adult and I couldn’t break into the business so I decided to kind of try this a different way and get my cartoons published in books instead.
Were you anything like your character Greg? Did you have anything in common with him?
I think I was a little bit like Greg. I think Greg is kind of a like a flawed character. But when I was a kid I think I was also kind of imperfect. I could be a little bit mean and a little bit self-centered. But I was also a good kid. So I think he’s an exaggeration of my worse parts.
How long have you been writing books?
I think I’ve been writing about 11 years. I started writing about 11 years ago, but my first book didn’t get published until 2007. So only three years in print.
Is it OK for you that they made your book into a movie?
Is it OK with me? Yeah! That’s actually a very deep question. I do feel good about it. I feel ready for it. I could have kept writing books forever and I feel really good that they made it into a movie. I think they made it into a good movie.
Were you involved of the making of the movie?
Yes, I was. I was very involved. I was -- usually authors aren’t involved at all and I got to be part of the big team that brought this movie to life.
We looked you up on the internet and you had an interview with one of the news channels and you said something about Wimpy World and we were still wondering if you going on with that.
I would like to make a tropical island. Have you played Pop Tropica. It’s a cool website. It’s like a virtual world and you can go around to these different islands. So we’re really hoping to make a Wimpy Island.
Do you like it when you’re around people that really like to read?
Yeah I do. I think those are the most interesting people. Do you like to read? Yeah. What’s your favorite book?
Was your dad against video games?
Not actually really. He seemed to be fine with it. But as a parent myself we’re always trying to make sure our kids don’t like too much video games.
What do you do when you’re not writing at all?
I’m never not working. So I don’t have much free time. The only thing I can do is play with my kids every once in awhile. But I sometimes have three full time jobs. So it’s a lot.
Do you consider yourself as a comedian?
A comedian? I don’t. I don’t have the personality for it. But I like to write humor. I think I would be good writing for a comedian.
How long does it take you to write one book?
It takes me about 9 months of hard work to write one book.
Were you like one of the kids in the book?
I think if I was like any of the kids I was most like Greg and least like Rowley.
Where you popular as a kid?
I was probably somewhere in the middle actually myself. But I always wanted to go up the popularity charts. Did you guys see the movie?
Did you have a journal like Greg in the book?
I didn’t keep a journal until I was a grownup. I started keeping a journal when I was about 28 years old, I think. And keep one for about 2 years. It was a lot of work. I really liked doing it, but I wrote too much. And then I ended up stopping because it was too much work.
How old are your kids?
They are 4 and 7 and they are both boys.
What inspired you to write your books?
I just wanted to write a book about childhood. You know when you’re in school, when a teacher says, when I was a kid those stories were most interesting. I wanted to write those kinds of stories about childhood.
Do you like to make kids laugh?
I do. I like to make everyone laugh. I think it’s music to my ears.
If you had watch a sport, what would your favorite sport be?
I like to watch football a lot. If I could play something I would probably choose basketball.
Have you ever been to Long Island and if you did go, where would you go and why?
I did go to Long Island. I released the third book, the Green Book in Carle Place. Isn’t that the beginning of Long Island? So I have been there but just barely.
What is Book 5 about? Is there a movie diary?
Book 5 is about 224 pages long. I’m just kidding. I think it’s going to be about Greg and Rowley growing up and maybe leaving childhood behind.
As a kid did you think you’d become an author?
As a kid, no I didn’t. Like I said I really wanted to become a cartoonist. I still don’t really consider myself an author. I consider myself more of a cartoonist.
Do you have an older or younger brother?
I do. I have an older and a younger brother and I have an older sister as well.