We have the Wimpy Kid fever happening in our house with the release of Jeff Kinney's seventh book, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel. My kids have been reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books since they first started to read, and the books are barely being held together with packing tape.
Last week, I got a chance to talk with the author and illustrator who was recently named one of Time magazine's most influential people in the world. We compiled a list of questions from our Facebook page and kids at a local school for this exclusive interview.
What inspired you to write the books?
My failure to become a newspaper cartoonist is what inspired me to write these books. Then in my early 20's I learned that it wasn't going to happen for me, so i decided to try and sneak my cartoons into books.
Did you ever do any illustrating for any other books?
I did illustrate a book that did not get published.
Tell us about the origin of the storyline.
I wanted to write about an ordinary childhood. I had a typical American childhood and I wanted to write about the funny things that happened to a normal kids. I drew a lot from my personal childhood experiences and things that have happened to my friends and family. I came up with a story that is fictional yet rooted in truths.
Will Greg ever get into high school?
No he won't. He is stuck forever in middle school.
Is Holly a real person?
No, she is supposed to be THE girl (that popular girl) she is supposed to be the ideal girl for a guy like Greg.
What was it like after publishing your first book?
I didn't expect it to get published at all. When it did get published, I expected some moderate success but I did not expect what has happened since it has gotten published. Everything is so unreal to me, and it has been tough to digest in a way.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
It took me eight years to write my first book. My first draft was a 1,300 page book. The remaining books have taken me nine months to write.
Is it getting easier or harder to write additional books?
It is getting tougher to generate jokes. Its pretty slow going and there doesn't seem to be a way around all the work.
How do you feel about the impact you are making on children?
I feel great about the fact that children are getting excited about reading because of my books. That was not what I set-out to do. I did't originally write for kids - I wrote these books for adults. When my publisher first took a look at my books they thought it would be a good series for children.
Any advice for children aspiring to be authors like you?
Find something that they like and then imitate that style. It will help them to learn what the writer or illustrator did and then help them to find their own voice or style.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel was released into book stores on November 13th.
We are happy to be able to offer our readers a Wimpy Kid book of their choice from books one through seven! Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rodrick Rules, The Last Straw, Dog Days, The Ugly Truth, Cabin Fever, and The Third Wheel.(US winners only)
Enter to win by leaving a comment with your favorite Wimpy Kid Book. We also have other chances to win here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: We were offered an interview with Jeff Kinney and a review copy of the book. All our thoughts are of our own.