R.L. Stine - Author
RIF: The books in your Rotten School series have some yucky titles. What is the grossest thing you have ever eaten?
R.L. Stine: I try to stay away from gross things; I only like them in books! But I did eat kangaroo and emu in Australia last year. That's pretty gross. My wife is much braver. She once ate canned jellyfish on a dare!
RIF: You treat writing like a job, writing 10-15 pages a day. What do you do after a long day of writing?
RLS: I usually take my dog, Minnie, for a walk. She's a ruby-colored King Charles Spaniel. Her brother is owned by a friend of mine; his name is Mickey, of course.
RIF: What do you do for fun on the weekend?
RLS: When we're at our home in Sag Harbor, N.Y., I'll go swimming in the ocean or in our swimming pool, which has a waterfall and a fun, 30-foot water slide.
RIF: Joseph in Yuma, Ariz. asks, "Where is your favorite vacation spot?"
RLS: I love places where there's lots to do, like Disney World—I would live there if they'd let me.
RIF: Goosebumps fans may not know what fans of your Rotten School series definitely know... that you're a pretty funny guy.
RLS: Yeah, I love comedy. In fact, I started out my career writing funny books and editing a humor magazine. A lot of kids don't know that I wrote dozens of joke and comedy books before Goosebumps.
RIF: What was your favorite humor book as a kid?
RLS: I liked all funny animal comics like Andy Panda (they were big when I was growing up). And I was a huge fan of Max Shulman who was a hilarious author. He had a big influence on me as a comedy writer.
RIF: Brittany in Hanover, Pa. asks, "What was your favorite subject in school?"
RLS: English...how boring is that! I was always a writer. I would be in the house typing away on a typewriter while other kids were playing outside.
Not surprisingly, my least favorite subject was gym—I was never much of an athlete.
RIF: You were also the class clown in school. Do you think being a class clown is good practice for future humor writers?
RLS: Not really, because class clowns are always getting into trouble. But if you're a class clown, I don't think you can help being one. You're just a naturally funny person.
RIF: What advice would you give to kids who want to write their own humor story?
RLS: If you want to write funny, first read as much funny stuff as you can. Second, figure out what you like. And then imitate the authors and comedians that you like.
Read Part 2 (the scary part) of our interview with R.L. Stine!