Author Stine Gives Kids Goosebumps

R. L. Stine was in Tucson for the fifth time to attend the Tucson Festival of Books March 10–11, and I got a chance to interview him. If you don’t know who Stine is, he is a famous writer of scary stories. His Goosebumps books are my favorite. They all have some sort of monster and a twisty, funny ending. 

Stine says that his favorite monster is Slappy the evil dummy because he insults everyone. His wife Jane is his editor. She checks every book he writes and Stine told me that she is very smart and he “doesn’t get away with anything.” 

Stine is left handed and types with the pointer finger on his left hand. He says his finger is totally “bent and ruined” from typing that way since he was 9 years old—which is when he began to write stories. When Stine discussed his writing process he shared that his favorite part is the writing and his least favorite part is when he has to go back and revise, because it is never perfect the first time. Stine joked that the hardest part of being an author is answering kids’ questions.

When Stine was a child, his parents never understood why he liked writing so much. Every afternoon he would be typing in his room and his parents told him to play outside but he always said, “That’s boring.” Stine loved the book “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson, who has the same initials as Stine! He also read comic books like Tales from the Crypt. 

Every Saturday Stine and his brother went to the movies and watched kids’ films like Tom and Jerry and then would go to a horror or a cowboy movie. Stine was always bored in school because he was not very good at it and he wanted to go home and write. He did like English class a lot because he got to read and write. His settings are inspired by his childhood in Ohio. 

Stine is always thinking of ideas but he cannot write multiple books at the same time because he cannot remember everything. Stine is a kind and gentle man with a great sense of humor who inspires a love of reading in kids like me.  

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