Talk With An Author: R.L. Stine, Creator of Goosebumps

hi everyone welcome we're so happy to here have you here today to join us for our scholastic parents Facebook live series called talk with an author and our very special guest goes without saying you probably know who he is I probably don't even need to introduce him I go without saying people say here he needs no introduction but I think for a lot of it I get then I get no introduction this is RL Stein who is the author of the incredibly successful Goosebumps series and so many more I'm going to bore you with a few details of your biography because you said no I hear you so among many others the fear Street series rotten school the Mostly Ghostly series the nightmare groom series and this is one of the the facts that I think is incredible that your books have been the best one of the best-selling children's series of all time with more than 400 million english-language books in print and your books have been translated into 35 languages well I've sold 400 million books but I had to write 400 million books in order to do it and your most recent book which is one of the things we're gonna be talking about today is from the goosebumps LAPI world series the ghost of slappy which is a scary book I have to say I read it myself I got a little bit yes killed him the ghost of slappy I killed him off or did you well he comes back yeah I have to say a lot I've written 14 slappy books 14 slappy books and that's it it's a little hard to come up with a plot about a dummy that comes to life and no one knows it and then they do know it yeah 14 times so how do you that's what I killed him I'm gonna launch into this my questions which is how do you keep it fresh how do i I don't know okay I don't know how do I keep it fresh I have editors and forced me to keep it fresh this is Bob you did that in number 18 Bob you already used that time it's big help because that's a lot of sloppy books actually you know the new series is called goosebumps slappy world just because he's so popular in the movie yeah and he's the star of goosebumps too and so I have to keep writing slap right I just finished one before I came down here called the dummy Meets The Mummy the dummy Meets The Mummy can you tell us anything about it no if I could remember I don't know I know it's a sort of a Night at the Museum and slappy is in a display case and the mummy is in a display and they come to life of course it gets really ugly it's really ugly we have a fan one of our fans who already wrote in and again if you're just joining us we're here with RL Stein and we want to hear from you we want your questions please leave them for us in the comments below and we've already gotten a lot of questions I was telling you before we started chatting that we already have a lot of fans who've written in we had a six year old fan who asked how did you come up with a character a sloppy why isn't he in school well he wrote this what's the question he wanted to know how did you come up with a character a sloppy yeah no I you know when I was a kid I was fascinated by puppets and dummies I had marionettes I used to put on puppet shows and I just always found them very interesting when I was when I was really little I mean real so little that I had to take a nap every afternoon okay so that's like 43 no younger okay I don't know my mother would read me a chapter of a book every day before my nap and we and for some reason she picked the original Pinocchio okay to read to me and I'm like as to your hold right and there's a chapter you know Pinocchio is this wooden puppet and there's a chapter which I've never forgotten we're pinocchio falls asleep with his feet on the stove and he burns his feet off that's what she read to a two-year-old which is yes i'm sure that made it yeah there's a reason why i write horror and i think some of that came into thinking about slappy so it sort of trickled into your mind from yeah never so i think so so we had a great question which came from a teacher and Brandi Nicole I don't know if you're watching but she sent this beforehand so I think she's in school right now hey she wonder if she you know her question was what advice would you give educators to best encourage and support aspiring student writers and students who do not have a passion for writing oh these serious questions serious that's serious for me my only I would never give advice to teachers never they have an impossible job that's you know they it's I would never think that I could give advice my best advice is from what I know for my readers is to let kids read what they want to read don't don't try to force them to read good books right I was just telling you about my son when he was young he was 12 he was the right age he never read one of my books ever that's his claim to fame horrible right horrible he never read one he read only Garfield comics and Jane and I we just we said fine he's reading that's good and every night he had all the collections he'd be up in his bed reading Garfield reading Garfield and one day we peeked in it was like this really big day and we looked and there he was reading Calvin and Hobbes he graduated he was reading Calvin and Hobbes and then he went off to college and he was an English major so as far so and yeah and he did better than I did in college from Garfield Garfield to Calvin and Hobbes yeah so I always say you know it's really important to let kids find what they like and let him read it when my son was in fifth grade his teacher was passing out the summer reading list and she said and I don't want anyone reading RL Stein this summer did she not make the connection yeah she knew because they were reading too much it was too much goosebumps and she but he was sitting there mad saying what what's going on here ya know I think you know the nicest thing about goosebumps and the nicest thing for me is all the parents who come up to me and who say my kids never read before until they discovered goosebumps but you see that's the most satisfying part of all of this and now you have fans who maybe started out as kids reading now their parents and now there's believe me they are the 30 year olds right the a – it was a shock to me at first I'd do a book signing and there'd be seven year olds and ten year olds in 25 year olds and 30 year olds and I I didn't know I said what are you doing here what are you doing here we loved you when we were kids exactly you know well that's I'm nostalgia to them well but you you like to be nostalgia that took a while to get used to but you have an impact on people and yeah you don't think about that when I'm sitting in my apartment typing typing these stories you don't think about that and then I get out I'm just back from Vancouver and Toronto and these crowds we had 800 people came one night and all of them just saying oh you made my childhood thank you I was I never read before you and it wonderful I'm so lucky aren't I that's amazing it's a gift you give to people all the time but I do it for me I love doing it I just do it you know I've been doing it since I was nine years old so I was reading that you really started out loving comic books that's what got you I read only comics right when I was a kid okay my friends and I we had big stacks we'd walk around we trade them and we'd sit under a tree in my front yard when we read comics and there were these great horror comics when I was a kid Tales from the Crypt and the vault of horror and oh man I loved them they would gruesome horrible I and they all had funny twist ending so you can see they're very influential on me exactly and I just loved them I read only comics and then one day my mom I grew up in Columbus Ohio in a suburb she dropped me off at the little library on Main Street and librarian called me over and she said Bobby I know you like comic books I have something I think you'll like and she took me over to a shelf of Ray Bradbury stories and that changed my life that a librarian changed my life the Ray Bradbury stories were so imaginative and so wonderful and beautifully written all with great funny twist endings and he would he turned me into a reader Wow and after that I've been reading all kinds of science fiction and I went on to Isaac asked him off and Robert sheckly and all these people and then started really reading so you had somebody who really acknowledged your excitement about it right and then she did a wonderful thing yeah that's amazing well if you're joining us we're here talking with RL Stein about his amazingly prolific career and also we really want to hear from you and get your questions and I know that there are some questions that have been coming in so I'm gonna check out and see what people want to know oh this is awesome Brenda Mendoza says hi a group of fourth graders from Greenman elementary we are big fans the kids are so happy you are real that you are real well very interesting I'm glad to hear it no I'm really glad to hear it are you here no I did a book signing a couple weeks ago and a teacher came up to the table and she said can I have my picture taken with you the kids all think you're dead oh my goodness so I'm very glad to hear I'm real and I think this is a great question so one of the kids Andy so hey Andy if you're watching from Greenman elementary wants to know how long does it take to write a book well it's kind of hard to say because you know I never I think people think you just sit down and start writing a book I think kids think you sit down you gotta you're honest you start chapter one well sloppy walked across the street I never do that ever I do I do an outline of every book I write before I write it I do a chapter by chapter outline of every book Wow and it has what's happens in the chapter the action how the chapter ends chapter one this happens chapter two and I do maybe a 20 page outline for a goosebumps book first and that takes about a week to write the outline that's that's the hard part I do all the thinking mm-hmm I do everything and then when I sit down to write the book I know everything that's going to happen in the book I know how it ends I know the middle I've got it all it's so much easier and then it takes me maybe two weeks right – Wow has that always been your structure you've always done out yeah well they forced me to at first okay my editors because I had to have the outlines approved okay you know everyone hates to outline if I tell this to kids kids submit oh my god no no one wants to outline but now I can't work without it and people ask me all the time about writer's block what do you do about writer's block and I say if you have an outline if you know everything that's going to happen in your book how can you have writer's block you know it you write it now it's a fun part you just write what you dreamed up yeah well I think that's useful advice for kids but because a lot of kids have to use outlines in their work right so they're obviously inspired by RL Stein so it's race here work without it right and it really is a cure for writer's block because it's all laid out for you I also do a cheat sheet of every character in the book so I write I write down the character's name and basically and what they look like so I can always have that in front of me and so a few character traits and that also helps me that's amazing so you know one of the we have we have more questions you guys are great please keep them coming but somebody asked Kimberly then Cleve says hi my name is Bryce so I guess Royce is writing under Kimberly van Cleves account what was your inspiration for the Scarecrow walks at midnight that is my favorite well that's one of the creepiest those scarecrows going through the cornfields this horrible sound is scratching scratching of walking through the dry cornfields that's where the book started sometimes these book just start with an image nothing else and I just pictured I was thinking I want to do a farm one I've never done one on a farm and then I pictured this dry cornfield because my wife and I once we were up in Minnesota in a cornfield in the fall when walking I remembered that and I thought what these scarecrows walking scratching scratching that would be really creepy and that's where the book started and sometimes just an image the second Goosebumps book staying in the basement yeah is I had this picture of a father and he's got two kids and the father takes off his baseball cap and instead of hair he has leaves growing out of his head yeah and I thought man that's creepy I loved that scene and that became the story about a father's turning into a plant so that you you don't get very easily scared you don't find horrible I never get sick oh there's something missing in my brain no really because people say oh I read your book I had to leave all the lights on I locked the doors I've never had that feeling of being scared I'm not from a horror movie I'm Stephen I read a lot of Stephen King I power makes me laugh that's interesting it may I always think hard I think horror is funny last night I watched one of my favorite horror films it was on Turner Classic Movies it was the island of the oh man island of the Dead yeah Charles Laughton Oh Charles Laughton really Charles about this dr. Moreau and it this movie was so it came out in 1932 and it was so scary back then people were so scared they threw up in their seats they really and it was banned in several states because they thought it was too scared people actually threw up watching this movie and I watched the last night I was laughing all the way through yeah it's a wonderful film island of lost souls give me 20 minutes let me play minutes island of lost souls so you know for our audience we have a lot of parents in our audience we have teachers we have kids obviously we have lots of people but parents often ask the question how do i nurture my child's creativity you're a parent now you're a grandparent I know you said you don't love giving advice to teachers but what about yeah you don't I you know this these kids have to do it on their own I mean you of course you want to have a lot of books in the house you want to read a lot and you want to you know follow what they want to do I was out in Vancouver there was this guy who was with us who was drawn to the piano when he was three and started playing piano he was like figured it out he was three years old and I always think kids kids find themselves and I just have this feeling there's not that much parents can do they always let Maddie just do you know figure out he got the guitar it's like the one thing he ever stayed with he played guitar so only thing that kept us interest and you can't you can fill up your house with books you fill up this and show him movies and take them to stuff which is a wonderful thing to do we're going to try and take our four-year-old grandson to the Nutcracker does summer just wait this Christmas oh yeah this Christmas I wonder how that's going to go well it's a fantastic tale hopefully it goes well maybe he'll sit still I don't know I don't know but the idea of giving them this you know and letting them then explore and see what what they're drawn to yeah that's yeah that's that's very true I know that for parents I mean if you encourage them to to love what they love then they going to want to do more of what they love right so that is the bottom line that's right and it's hard I had terrible parents I had horrible codes and I have nine years old and I'm in my loom typing why I don't know I'm why did I like it so much and I'm writing stories I'm nine I'm typing typing my mother would be at my door and she'd say what's wrong with you go outside and play want to go outside get out here worst advice I ever got right stop typing I go home and I just say oh it's boring out there type type type type type you have to let kids do what they like well we have so many questions coming up we're actually trying to keep up with them so you guys do a sure lightning round lightning round so we have a question from Amanda Kyrie Ayala I hope I'm saying your name right she says huge band goosebumps is the definition of my childhood that I've passed on to my five-year-old who loves sloppy that's so nice she said did you ever expect goosebumps to get this big beyond the books the movies shows did you I never expected anything yeah when we started you know I said let's try two or three books that was my idea yes I said well I was you know I was doing Fear Street for teenagers and I was doing very well I was killing off teenagers and I wanted to do goosebumps I said all right we can try two or three and I was 26 years later believe me I never planned anything at all I'm amazed by all of this series which was obviously a horror seer is geared towards 7 to 12 year olds wasn't a good idea that's what I was reading well I just I didn't want to mess up Fear Street tell you the truth and no one had ever done it no one had ever done a horror series for 7 year olds and you're old yeah and I was very reluctant yeah I and I yeah I was that's the kind of businessman of a wonderful right well did you think it was just too scary that it well well I delivered you know I had to figure out I came out I got this board goosebumps and which was perfect because I wanted something that would be funny and scary and I knew the series had to be I didn't really want to scare kids I was joking out with an audience and say well I just like to scare kids but I didn't want really wanna scare him it's so the books are a tease it's kind of a horror tease and so I had to try to figure out how funny they would be like every chapter ending is sort of a punchline mm-hmm to a joke and any time it really does get intense I throw in something funny mm-hmm but it took me a while to figure to figure that out I forget where your question what that's true but that's the thing you as you mentioned you said that that you don't find horror books scary you find them funny and the fact that you infuse humor into your books sort of speak to that right yeah I'm right that's that's what I enjoy but it also works for this because we didn't you know I hated the kids would be in line at a book signing say your books gave me horrible nightmares please don't send me your shrink bill okay so we have more questions this question comes from Stephanie Brock Miller's that says this was one of my favorite series growing up and I still have every fear Street and goose bumps for my childhood she said well she said how do you get into your creative writing mode she wants to start writing but I'm a machine you're a machine I don't have any creative writing mode I'm a factory no 9:30 in the morning 10:00 I'm at the you have my laptop every day I know machine and I write two thousand words a day that's about 10 pages right and I don't get up till I've written my 2,000 words right and when I hit 2,000 I quit no matter where I am that's your that's it Oh 2,000 words okay goodbye take the dog for a walk yeah that's it yeah and I do it six days a week pretty much six days Wow and just i love it i'm still you every day I look forward to it still but yeah I don't have to and any kind of creative that's part of that is luck yeah some of its luck well the ideas keep flowing so that you know yeah thank god they're there but but I mean I guess to your point is is she's saying well how does she get started if that's what she wants to do but you sit yourself down my secret is all the planning in it yes right it's a real head start mm-hmm yeah and also when you quit for the day leave yourself in the middle of something don't finish a chapter okay don't finish the chapter to keep your legs in the middle it makes it so much easier to start the next day you're right in the middle of something you don't have to start some great advice it's another trick yeah yeah that's pretty good advice so so here's a tough one that I don't know if you'll be able to answer because it's sort of like picking favorites but I'm negative well let's see ah missing its Samantha cuy says which book was your favorite to write and which book took the longest to write and publish my favorite is the Goosebumps book called the Haunted mask and it's C I think that's my best Halloween book that's my best holiday of all of them okay and it's the only one inspired by something in real life when my son was little here's where the idea came from Maddie was a little guy and I'm watching him he's in the middle of a room I'm watching from the doorway and he tried on a green rubber Frankenstein man okay and he pulled it down over his head and he couldn't get it off and he was tugging and tugging and I'm watching and I thought what a great idea first door I should have helped him right oh yes dad I when I'm making notes on Haunted mask it sticks to his face poor guy and that's where the idea for that book came from and that's why it's it's that's my favorite your favorite the one that took the longest yeah I don't know there was the very first goosebumps mm book was about a cat I'm a dog person and it was about a cat what was it called scream of the cat something I don't know and no one liked it and I had to write it three times I had to write three different versions of that book is that the only book you've had to do no okay but that took a long time we also have a question from Daniel Hill who says Klaus it's called Klaus Klaus okay so this is a great question will you write any more kids picture books Daniel wants well maybe I love working with Marc Brown you know Marc does Arthur the aardvark and Marc and I just had the best time we did two picture books yeah Little Shop of Monsters and Mary Mix Garry which we did for Scholastic yeah and Marc and I just we loved going out on the road together and I do have an idea I'm working on and I actually talked to mark this morning so maybe we'll do more so that could be a scoop maybe sort of a whole new world for me yeah yeah well then you get to I mean then maybe your grandson will be interested in those books right well whenever I bring him oh he comes over about once a week and I sit down I said Dylan was reading this book I wrote this book no books no books so I just kind of like my son you know you have tough critics in your family yes I do I do you know they were to keep me humble right exactly well it was interesting you said you know you have you go to these events and you have all these fans who love you would have looked up to you for all these years and then what does your wife say when you get home well Jane always has a line right I did the Today Show once and it went really well it was very nice interview and it was a Today Show yeah it's exciting I got home there was a note from Jane on my desk it said you were great now plunge the toilet staying humble no it was very good at keeping me humble so I know that for for those who are joining us they they've read this the goosebumps LAPI world goes to slappy book but there's a sneak peak in this book to the next one can you tell us a little bit about Wow tell me I will tell you what comes next it's alive its alive you know I've done 130 of these it's alright it's a lot oh that's a room yeah you know I never knew robotics was so popular in schools oh yes and I went to some charity benefit and they were all these kids were showing off their robot that they had made and mostly girls it was a girls robotics team and we're doing these amazing robotic thing and I said oh I have to do a goosebumps about robotics and that's about a robotic that comes to life it's alive its alive so people can get excited about it about that one well it's current exactly yeah we try to be current yeah well that's true like kids can really relate to that I mean that's that's the thing in know the cameras I didn't know anything about it I was so glad I learned yeah and I have to say I know we're gonna be wrapping soon but I like this question because I wondered the same thing and I and a Kristen Delano asks oh this is from her son Desmond who's eight and Desmond wants to know is there anything that scares you here's the scariest moment of my life okay mm-hmm and I yeah this is not you know I'm not I'm scared of normal adult things I'm not scared of ghosts or something but this is scary smaller in my life it involves my son as well Maddie was like four he was a little guy and I took him to the New York Automobile Show okay at the convention center right thousands of people walking around cars some craziness everywhere and I lost him that was that was remote that feeling of incredible panic and you don't forget that's it only lasted about 30 seconds yeah but it was that was the scariest moment where life and then finally I spotted him over by a car and I went crying there's an orchid I went running over running over said Matt Matt are you okay he said dad where were you I was about to call the manager it's a New York kid that's true she was five well I want to thank you for joining us today really it's been fun I love talking to you really right you do another half at you come back another time but I have a special treat which is that we're gonna be giving away five copies sign copies of this book for you guys so chime in make sure you come to our Facebook page tomorrow we're gonna be giving them away and in case you've just joined us late and you didn't get to see the whole chat you can watch it at time and time again on our Facebook page and we're so happy to have you join us something really I really enjoy thank you so much and everyone out there happy Halloween happy happy trick-or-treating and have a great day take care

31 thoughts on “Talk With An Author: R.L. Stine, Creator of Goosebumps

  1. i read the babysitter series as a young teen and now i'm a mom of 6 and i've told all my girls to read them when they were in middle school lol All of my girls went through the Goosebumps movies but not sure if they read the books yet. What a great author, that keeps his readers on the edge of their seat.

  2. I know Iโ€™m 17 but r.l stine looks like a ladyโ€™s man and he looks 30 or 40 but Iโ€™m probably wrong

  3. Dear R.L. Stine, I know you have written many, many Goosebumps books, and you can have trouble remembering book titles. The book you said you had to re-write 3 times was actually "Cry of the Cat". I personally love this one, so always remember to keep revising your ideas even if you are tired of the story plots.

  4. We love your books and our children do too I just wished that they were easier to find an audio for visually impaired people though.

  5. Thanks Rl๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ‘˜๐Ÿ‘˜๐Ÿ‘˜๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’Ÿ๐Ÿ“€๐Ÿ“€

  6. My favorite goosebumps books are stay out of the basement,how to kill a monster,welcome to dead house,say cheese and die,attack of the mutant,one day at horrorland,night of the living dummy,welcome to camp nightmare,night of the living dummy 2 ,my honorable mentions are go eat worms,the werewolf of fever swamp,revenge of the lawn gnomes,my favorite goosebumps book is the abominable snowman of Pasadena ,and a few of the best goosebumps books are monster blood,the blob that ate everyone and deep trouble.

  7. Tell, Stine, to make this for a book, (Gooesbumps SlappyWorld #9: The Bandit Of The Haunted West)

  8. Hey! Scholastic please get all the books of goosebumps to book fairs in schools I belong from punjab, India please

  9. I LOVED his books growing up! Sure I could finish a book in an hour or less, they were a great escape that I very much needed! Thank you, sir!

  10. I just read Ghost of Slappy, not that impressed, it was dark and a bit sad even for a book for older kids. However, I love all your other stories. I was thinking Slappy is in so many books, in each of his series, he has a new victim. It is too bad you cannot bind them all together to take him out. So much possibilities there.

  11. I'm a student at least in a great mood because of the show you made and how old are you. Who's your favorite character in Goosebumps ?How do you think of the titles? How do you have so many people who like the way you have a great time making big chapter books with your wife and children

  12. IIII WWANT IT!!!!! I LOVE U R.L STINE…..I LOVE SLAPPY!!!!! โคโคโคโค

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