By: Trista Herring Baughman –
Back in May, I had the privilege of attending Shreve Memorial Library’s Children’s Book Festival. This was only my second big event to attend as a Children’s Author and I was excited. Even more exciting was the headlining author, R.L. Stine!
If you’re a true country music fan, you’ll know Merle Haggard; if you’re a true scary story fan, you’ll know R.L. Stine. You’ve likely read at least one of his books and the odds are pretty good that he’s one of your favorite authors if not your absolute favorite.
R.L. Stine (also known as Bob) is an American novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and television producer. (He wears many hats; forgive me if I’ve missed a few.) He’s the Stephen King of children’s literature. His works include Goosebumps (the book series, TV show, and movies), Fear Street, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room, and dozens of joke books, to name a few.
The book festival was his first author appearance in two years. Over a thousand fans lined up to see him. I wasn’t among those fans (I had to sit with my booth), but my kids got an autograph and picture with their favorite author and it made their day.
I heard him speak later that day and it was a treat. I’m not sure I’ll ever be comfortable speaking in front of an audience, but he was right at home. The audience loved him.
It isn’t only Mr. Stine’s spine-tingling and humorous story-telling abilities that make him such a great author, it’s also his kindness and love for his fans.
Long story short, I reached out to Mr. Stine earlier this month for an interview and he graciously agreed.
TRISTA: First, I want to say thank you for 30 years of Goosebumps. That is amazing. Congratulations! You have inspired countless children (and adults) to pick up a book and read (and write!). What does it feel like to realize your impact on the lives of so many readers?
R.L. STINE: When you sit in a room writing stories, you don’t really think about the impact you’re having on your readers. But last week, I appeared at NY Comic-Con, and the hundreds of people who came up to me and said, “You were my childhood” and “I wouldn’t be a librarian today if it wasn’t for you” and “I wouldn’t be a writer today if it wasn’t for you”– that was thrilling and very touching.
TRISTA: You have written over 300 books so far. What keeps you inspired?
R.L. STINE: Greed, I guess. No. Seriously, I have never been able to figure out why I enjoy writing so much. I started when I was nine. I wouldn’t know what else to do all day. I guess it’s an addiction!
TRISTA: Which book or series did you enjoy writing the most? What made that stand out?
R.L. STINE: I love the middle-grade audience, so Goosebumps has to be my favorite series. The 7-12 year old audience is wonderful. I get kids the last time in their lives they’ll ever be enthusiastic about books.
TRISTA: What is your favorite childhood book?
R.L. STINE: The original Pinnochio. It’s a wonderful fantasy, very rich, and also extremely creepy.
TRISTA: You have been a guest at many conferences over the years (Pikes Peak Writers’ being one of them); what would you say is the most important reason for a writer to attend?
R.L. STINE: It’s important for writers to get out of the house and talk with other writers. People think writers are competitive with one another, but it’s not true. I’ve always found that writers are supportive of each other, and I think that’s really helpful.
It was an honor to interview Mr. Stine and on behalf of Pikes Peak Writers and myself, thank you for your time.
Also, if your kids like to write scary stories, don’t forget the Stinetinglers Scary Story Writing Contest for ages 8-12. Entries are open from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31, 2022.
Wishing you all a Stine-tingling Halloween!
Trista Herring Baughman is a blogger and Children’s writer. Her books The Magic Telescope, Halloween Night and Other Poems, and Zombiesaurs (which she co-illustrated with her sons) are now available on Amazon.