Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: a Chat With Jeff Kinney

It was like a rock concert. A thousand kids, siblings, and parents, all gathered on sidewalks outside the Barnes & Noble in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Outside, even on this warm night, a pile of snow, with fake snowflakes sprayed by a special machine, and a massive luxury bus decorated with Wimpy Kid art on all sides. And at four o’clock sharp, the rock star emerges from it: Jeff Kinney, author of the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The crowd goes wild. Then Jeff introduces two surprises: the lead actors from the two Wimpy Kid films released so far (a third is on the way), Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron.

Why is all this happening? Because the new book in the series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever (Amulet Books), hit stores on November 15, and Cherry Hills was the first stop on a multi-city tour.

My son Ian, 11, is perhaps Jeff Kinney’s biggest fan. When we got approved for a short interview with the author, Ian stepped up and took over.

Ian: What inspired you to write Diary of a Wimpy Kid?

Jeff: I would say that I was inspired by a failure of my own. I wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist, but I couldn’t break into the business, and so I started writing these books instead.

Ian: How much longer do you plan on doing Wimpy Kid?

Jeff: That’s a good question. I’m not sure. I think that every good piece of creativity, like a television show or a comic strip, has a life span. And it’s hard to figure out what that life span is, when you should walk away. And I think that might be between seven and ten books for me.

Ian: What’s your biggest achievement with Wimpy Kid?

Jeff: I think getting published at all, because it’s hard to get published. And I didn’t think I had a prayer, so the day that I got my book in the mail was just probably the best day of my life. I knew I had accomplished something pretty great.

And the book? Ian’s already read a good chunk. His verdict? It’s a quick, fun book that’s full of funny, smart jokes and stories that Jeff Kinney creates in the mind of Greg Heffley. Read it now! ◊

Tony Buchsbaum, a contributing editor of January Magazine and Blue Coupe, lives in central New Jersey with his wife and sons. These days, he is writing his second novel. Again.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I'm Farahida Binti Mohd. Farid. My father is Dato' Farid the president of MAKNA. I have a daughter and her name is Doa Ilhani, and she loves you're books but she really wants to meet you in person. Sometimes she becomes sad because she knows that you wouldn't come to Malaysia. All she want's is to meet you. So please come to Malaysia. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 12:54:00 AM PST  

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