Entertainment Books Ten Terrifying Questions ™ with Jeff Kinney
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Ten Terrifying Questions ™ with Jeff Kinney

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The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Jeff Kinney

author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Ten Terrifying Questions ™

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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in Maryland in a suburb about ten miles south of Washington, D.C.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When I was 12, I wanted to be a computer game designer. We owned one of the first personal computers, an Apple IIe, and it set my course in life. When I was 18, I still wanted to be a game designer, but I was interested in computer graphics as well. When I was thirty, I actually was a game designer, but I wanted to be a cartoonist as well. Now I’m both… a game designer by day, cartoonist by night.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I feel that my beliefs now are more or less consistent with my beliefs back then. That means I’m either admirably consistent or I’m suffering from a case of arrested development.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. Without the hapless Peter Hatcher, I’m not sure there would’ve been a Greg Heffley. Likewise with Charlie Brown of Peanuts fame… I think every cartoonist working today owes a debt of gratitude to Charles Schultz for his influence on modern comic strips. Finally, Bob Dylan’s Brownsville Girl… Dylan is the master of lyrical economy, which is what cartoonists strive for.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I backed into it. I wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist, but I couldn’t get past the gatekeepers. So I took a different tact and put my comics in books.

6. Please tell us about your novel.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck follows the plight of pre-adolescent Greg Heffley, who finds himself friendless and needing to navigate the perils of school on his own.

Publisher’s blurb:

Greg Heffley’s on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance. Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg’s life destined to be just another hard-luck story?

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope they laugh, and I hope they’ll read the book again.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

I most admire Bob Dylan for being able to evoke a whole story with just a few words.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

My goal is to stick around and have some sort of relevancy after Diary of a Wimpy Kid is over.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers is to take an idea and nurture it to fruition rather than just put your first effort out there. It’s tempting to write something, then see if it sticks. But writing is like any discipline, and to become an expert, you need years to master it. I worked on Wimpy Kid for eight years before I was ready to share it with the world.

Jeff, thank you for playing

Reviews

The Irish Independent says: “Hard Luck is one of the funniest books I’ve read all year and the good news is that there are plenty more Greg Heffley adventures to come. Long live the Wimpy Kid!”

Dogo Books says: “Hard Luck” is probably the most funny book in the whole series. In this book Greg Heffley gets into a big fight with Rowley Jefferson. Also, he finds a magic 8 ball that “helps” him out. A funny part is when he hides out in his mom’s closet and finds a secret stash of… Well, read it to find out! Hope you all enjoy it! P.S. Give yourself a pat on the back Jeff Kinney!”

Buy the book here.