Goosebumps author RL Stine at the New York Stock Exchange in 2017 (Photo: Getty Images)

R.L. Stine on the blockbuster book franchise and why he’s ‘Stephen King for kids’

Goosebumps author RL Stine at the New York Stock Exchange in 2017 (Photo: Getty Images)

goosebumps Writer RL Stine at the NASDAQ opening bell in 2015. (Photo by Slavon Vlasik/Getty Images)

goosebumps The books have been foolingly scaring generations of young readers for 30 years. But the franchise’s mastermind RL Stine told Yahoo Entertainment he is no ‘fearful cat’. “Here’s the weird thing about me – I’m not afraid,” confesses the 78-year-old author. “I feel like something’s missing in my mind! Even as a kid, horror always made me laugh. Whether I’m reading a Stephen King book or going to a horror movie, I’m one of the audiences who Laughing.”

It’s not usually the case for your average child to pick up their first baby goosebumps book. What began in 1992 as an experiment to scare away bookworms has become a cross-media phenomenon involving TV shows, movies, comic books and video games. And if Stine had made his way three decades ago, the series It would end before it even started.

“I didn’t want to goosebumpsHe now reveals, crediting his wife—writer and editor Jane Waldhorn—that he’s really pushing her to face the one thing. was Fear of: Writing for a Young Audience. “She kept following me, saying, ‘No one has done a horror series for 7- to 12-year-olds. We have to try it!’ I said, ‘Okay, we’ll try two or three of them.'”

Needless to say, Stine has written a lot, writing more than two or three goosebumps Installments Between all the spin-offs and supporting material, there are over 200 books in the franchise, which have sold over 400 million copies over the past three decades. Stine’s latest book, haunting with starsis now in bookstores, with the next, Slap, beware! – Starring the mannequin of the franchise – Mashubhan – is due out in September. “I’m that kind of businessman,” he jokes. “I didn’t want to goosebumps And now it is 30 years later. Would you believe this?”

In a spirited conversation, Stine revealed goosebumps She thought the installment was too scary for the series, why she has a love/hate relationship with Slappy, and which book Stephen King stole several plots from.

The latest edition in the Goosebumps series, Haunting with the Stars.  (Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic)

The latest version in the Goosebumps series, haunting with stars, (Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic)

I Started Reading YA Horror Books Before the ’80s goosebumps came along. I especially enjoyed the material like your book Midwife or christopher pike’s remember meWhich was all about teenagers who were older than me at the time.

Yeah, we always targeted those books at 10- or 12-year-olds, because they loved reading about people who were older than themselves. And a little naughty too! We always go up a few years, but in general we found that kids were between 10 and 12 when they started reading teen material. A lot of generations scare me: When I do book signing now, I get 7 year olds and I get 40 year olds! [Laughs]

I understand you used to read stuff when you were a kid like a classic tales from the crypt comics,

Yes, they were huge influences. I loved the artwork, and the stories were gruesome, but fun at the same time. They all had funny twist endings, which is something I do too.

You lived during that period in the ‘post 50s’ Frederick Wortham is published. the greed of the innocent And all those comics were censored or removed altogether. Did you miss them when they left?

I was a kid, so I wasn’t aware of the big things that were happening. I just realized they were suddenly gone and the comic books weren’t as bloody as they were. They still had science fiction and suspense comics, but they weren’t as good as horror comics. So I searched for real books: I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and one day my mom dropped me off at the little Main Street library. The librarian was waiting for me, and she knew I liked comic books. She said: “I have something else that I think you’ll like,” and she took me to a shelf of Ray Bradbury’s stories. They were so great: beautifully written and magical and they all had great twists. That’s what really made me a reader.

Bradbury was too big for me when I was young. ,weldo“One of my favorite short stories – too,”petty killer,

Oh yes. I also liked his non-science fiction material, like dandelion wine, That book is poetry — just beautiful.

Speaking of censorship, it has recently been promoted in some parts of the country. to ban some books, Is there anything that worries you?

Of course, I am against it. I haven’t been in that trouble goosebumps Or anything, but it’s a terrible thing.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: RL Stine serves as guest ringmaster at the 2015 Big Apple Circus at Lincoln Center on October 31, 2015 in Damrosh Park, New York City.  (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Stine serves as guest ringmaster at the 2015 Big Apple Circus in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

your first goosebumps the book was welcome to the dead house in 1992. What lessons did you learn from that story that you were able to apply going forward?

I actually thought the book was too scary for the series. It didn’t have that balance of humor and horror, and I fixed that in the second book, stay out of the basement, When the scenes in that book started to get really intense, I made sure to do something funny. And I have been associated with it ever since. There are some books that are scarier than others, but mostly I think they are the right balance.

You mentioned that you always include a twist ending: What is it about that device that fascinates kids so much?

Well, it’s teasing, you know? Kids love to be teased and they love to be surprised. So what I try to do is have a big twist somewhere in the middle of the book where the kids would say: “Oh my god, I didn’t know what was going on!” Something that makes them swoon and turn the story. This is part of the appeal goosebumps: These aren’t stories that run in a straight line—there are all kinds of twists and surprises.

One thing I do as a writer is that I come up with an ending first so that I can keep readers from guessing. I do a complete outline of every book, but I always try to get to the end before I write chapter one. because then i know How To fool the reader. Rod Serling and Agatha Christie were huge influences that way. I can’t tell you how many Agatha Christie plots I’ve stolen! I think Stephen King’s scariest book pet SemataryAnd I’ve stolen that compound or five times. [Laughs]

I’m sure you’ve met the king – did you tell him?

Oh yes, I told him! I’ve only met him once, and we had a good conversation. He accused me of taking every amusement park plot and not saving them for someone else! [Laughs]

Well he wrote joyland So he finally got there!

Yes, he wrote one! I remember I even told him: “Stephen, a magazine once called me a literary training bra for you,” which is true! And he said, “Yeah, I know.” I am Stephen King to the kids.

Slappy returns (again) in Goosebumps: Slappy Beware, on shelves in September.  (Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic)

Slappy returns (again) in Goosebumps: Slappy Beware, on shelves in September. (Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic)

Invention of Slappy in 1993 night of the living dummy The series clearly had a pivot point. did you realize how important that would become goosebumps,

I don’t know! I think he became more central goosebumps Movies. People liked him very much in films. But I didn’t really plan on becoming anything for him. I really don’t like Slappy! I don’t know why people think he’s so scary. I like writing to him because he’s kind of an outrageous comic – he’s too bad for everyone. That’s why I love writing that stuff. But now it’s in my contract that every other book has to be about Slappy. Believe me, coming up with plots about a dummy coming in life is not going to be easy. [Laughs]

Arthur Conan Doyle Comes To Angry Sherlock Holmes – Would You Say You’re Angry With Slappy?

I actually killed him in a book, and wrote about Slappy’s ghost! [Laughs] But like Doyle, I had to bring him back. I wish I had invented more good villains so I wouldn’t have to write about them all the time. But it’s okay!

You have to give the audience what they want.

Yes, that’s all I do. [Laughs]

goosebumps The TV series for 90s kids was iconic. Did it help raise the profile of the franchise?

Listen – nothing sells books better than television! When the series premiered in 1995, sales of the books increased by nearly a million per month. It was a huge leap because of the show. People say that kids watching TV are terrible, but it also encourages them to read. When the show started, the idea was to just adapt the books, but I was writing a goosebumps At that time I used to book a month, so I could not spend much time on TV series. It was fun to see other writers taking one of my books and going in their own direction with it. the haunted mask the episode was great, and so was it One Night at the Terror Tower,

There were also some famous faces from the future who made their debut on the show – Ryan Gosling, Hayden Christensen and Scott Speedman all appeared goosebumps,

It was a Canadian show, and we used every kid in Canada! I would be at book signing in America, and the kids would ask: “How do I go about this? goosebumps Show?” And I’d say: “Well, you have to be Canadian.” [Laughs]

Disney+. a reboot is in the works – Are you glad it’s coming back on TV?

Oh yes. This book will keep the series going! I’m not really in the loop on the TV show, but my understanding is that this will not be an anthology series, it will be an ongoing story. But to be honest, I haven’t heard much more about it than that.

how about the goosebumps Movies? Are there more coming?

more talk now goosebumps movies, and I hear even more rumors fear street Movies for Netflix, because the first one did so well last summer. Those movies shocked me, because they were all R-rated, and I’ve never done anything R-rated! All those teenagers were being killed. I was like, “All of a sudden, I have a slasher movie!”

Did movies influence your attitude towards books?

This is a good question. Well, he gave Slappy more power than I ever gave him. Like in the other film, he brought him all these things which I had never done before. So all of a sudden I could give Slappy more power in the books! I was lucky with movies that they were really good, and they didn’t have to be. A lot of kids’ movies are terrible, and I didn’t even have a lot of input into them. But I am very proud of both the films. They’re really funny, and Jack Black is awesome. in the first line he says goosebumps The movie that’s perfect: “Every story has a beginning, a middle, and a turning point.” I like that line. I wish I had written it! [Laughs]

goosebumps The series is available at all major booksellers including Amazon.

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