Interview with the Author of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kids” series: Jeff Kinney

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 5.04.54 PMKIT MILLER

Q: What were you like in school?

A: “I was an average kid, but a good student. I felt a little bit invisible in school, more like an observer than a participant.”

Q: Did you always want to be an author? What other careers did you consider?

A: “I never envisioned myself as an author. I wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist but I kind of fell into becoming an author. I’m happy things worked out the way they did!”

Q: What is your favorite motivational phrase?

A: “‘Well done is better than well said.’ – Benjamin Franklin”

Q: Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?

A: “Bill Bryson. He’s a brilliant author, smart and very funny.”

Q: Why do you write?

A: “I write cartoons because I feel like that’s what I was born to do.”

Q: What inspired the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series?

A: “Failure to become a newspaper cartoonist. I needed to find another way for my comics to find an audience.”

Q: Who is your favorite character?  Why?

A: “I like Rowley. He likes being a kid and isn’t in a rush to grow up.”

Q: Did you ever think the first book would evolve into a 9-book series?

A: “I never did. I thought four was a stretch.”

Q: Where do your ideas come from?

A: “Mostly from real-life experiences. If something’s true at its core, it tends to be funnier.”

Q: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

A: “I’d like to have longevity, to not be a one-hit wonder.”

Q: Where can you see yourself in five years time?

A: “Hopefully still writing ‘Wimpy Kid’ books with a few additional books as well.”

Q: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

A: “I think I’ve gotten better at telling stories. I’ve always considered myself more of a joke writer and cartoonist, not a novelist.”

Q: What is the hardest thing about writing?

A: “Finding the time to do it!”

Q: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

A: “The hardest thing was making sure I gave all of the characters something to do.  They’re all in the car for the whole trip, so I had to make sure no one was dormant.”

Q: What writers inspire you?

A: “I’m inspired by Bill Bryson and Malcolm Gladwell.”

Q: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

A: “I listen to books, mostly.  I like sportswriters, Bryson and Gladwell.  I also like George R. R. Martin.”

Q: What book(s) are you listening to at present?

A: “I’m listening to Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson.”

Q: What’s your view on social media for marketing?

A: “I think social media has its value but it can become a monster that needs to be tended to.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.”

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: “I’d recommend that a young writer finds a person who can give them honest criticism.”

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