What I remember most about my childhood is how much time I spent reading. I always had a book with me, and I was happiest when my parents took me to the book store once a week. As a mom of two boys, there is one thing I never say no to: the purchase of a new book. Reading is so important to me, and now that my oldest is eight years old, I love to encourage him to read, too. He's currently reading the first book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and he's loving it.
One of our favourites movies is Diary of a Wimpy Kid. (Along with Rodrick Rules and Dog Days.) We've seen all three movies, and we've loved them (and laughed our way through them) all.
Today, I interviewed the author of these (seven!) best-selling books, Jeff Kinney. Despite the fact that the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies have grossed more $250 million worldwide, speaking to Jeff Kinney was like having a conversation with any parent in the school yard.
Your latest book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is called Hard Luck and is out this November. What happens in this book and what can we expect for Greg?
In this book Greg is a loner for the fist time. His best friend, Rowley, has a girlfriend, and Greg basically has to start over, figuring out where he fits in. He's definitely more sympathetic in this book, and he realizes the decisions he's made haven't been the best.
How is his relationship with his brother, Rodrick, in this book?
His relationship with his brother is not as consequential in this book. His mom is way too involved in his life, though, and this is not always something a child in middle school wants.
What inspired to write the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series? Was it something specific about your childhood?
I was trying to write a book for adults, to remind us what it was like to be a child by bringing the issues into focus, but my publisher told me I had written a children's series. I was writing about everything I had experienced as a child. It's not exactly my autobiography; more of a DNA of my childhood in these books.
You're a father of two boys, aged 10 and eight years old—are they fans of your books? Have they read the series yet?
My ten year old loves to read and he's read the series so far. It's harder getting my eight year old to read, but he's starting book three now.
How do you encourage reading time over screen time in your house?
Our children earn technology time. We also read with our boys every night in bed.
You worked on the first book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, for eight years before showing it to a publisher. What advice would you give other aspiring authors and writers?
My advice? It's important to nurture something until it is ready. The best ideas are ideas that are developed over time. I would encourage people to take their time and to become experts in what they are working on, first.
How many more books will there be in this series?
There will be at least two more books in this series.
Anything exciting on the horizon with regards to the Wimpy Kid series?
Yes—I'm working on an animated holiday special.
Sorry folks—this holiday special won't be out this holiday season, but at least we know we have something fun to look forward to next year, right?
In the meantime, Hard Luck hits store shelves on November 8th. If your children can wait, this book would make the perfect holiday gift.