Jeff Kinney

We have decided to launch a new segment on our blog, which puts the spotlight on popular children’s authors. Today, we launch our first installment.

We know our Reading Rewards members are huge fans of New York Times bestselling author, Jeff Kinney, and his Wimpy Kid series. We asked Mr. Kinney if he would be willing to answer a few of our questions. Lucky for us, he graciously accepted our interview request!

Reading Rewards: What do you think of the fact that you are, by far, the most read author on Reading Rewards?

Jeff Kinney: That’s so exciting! I’m thrilled that kids like the Wimpy Kid books. It motivates me!

Reading Rewards: Who were your childhood heroes?

Jeff Kinney: My heros were cartoonists. My favorite was one named Carl Barks, who wrote stories about Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.

Reading Rewards: One of the missions of our reading program is to help reluctant readers. Were you a reluctant reader as a child? If not, what sort of books did you enjoy?

Jeff Kinney: I read a lot, although I’m embarrassed to say most of my reading was done in the bathroom! I enjoyed comics and books by Judy Blume.

Reading Rewards: Do you spend a lot of time reading now? If so, what kind of books?

Jeff Kinney: Mostly, I listen to books. I don’t have a lot of time for reading so I download lots of audiobooks. To me, it feels like reading. I also do a LOT of reading online, mostly about sports.

Reading Rewards: Can you tell us a little about how you came to be a writer?

Jeff Kinney: I wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist, but that didn’t work out. So I decided maybe I could “sneak” my cartoons into books. That’s how Greg Heffley was born.

Reading Rewards: What would you be if you weren’t a writer?

Jeff Kinney: I’d be doing what I do for my day job… I work on Poptropica, a virtual world for kids.

Reading Rewards: What was the hardest part of writing your books?

Jeff Kinney: Thinking up funny ideas! I don’t know how to do it consistently.

Reading Rewards: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Jeff Kinney: I like to go to Celtics and Patriots games with my family and friends.

Reading Rewards: What does your family think of your writing?

Jeff Kinney: They seem to like it! My third-grader just started reading my books.

Reading Rewards: Do you hear from your readers much? What is the weirdest thing a fan has said to you?

Jeff Kinney: I do! A fan once asked me to sign his arm, which I think is a little weird!

Reading Rewards: Where do you turn for inspiration? Were your Wimpy kid characters inspired by anyone you know?

Jeff Kinney: For inspiration, I think back on my life as a kid. I think most people had lots of funny moments growing up. The Wimpy Kid characters are a kind of funhouse mirror version of my own family, with a huge dollop of fiction thrown in.

Reading Rewards: Which is your favorite Wimpy Kid book, and why?

Jeff Kinney: I like the first one the best, because before that one, I hadn’t had any success.

Reading Rewards: Is there a message in your series that you want readers to grasp?

Jeff Kinney: Yes… that reading is fun, and that the more you read, the more you’ll enjoy life!

Reading Rewards: What advice would you give to your 10-year-old self?

Jeff Kinney: I’d tell myself to enjoy childhood because it doesn’t last forever.

Thanks, Mr. Kinney! We really appreciate your taking time to take this interview!