I would like to introduce "The Joyful Jeff Kinney" as our "Author of the Month" for the month of November. Here is the personal interview that we were blessed with.
Candie and Michelle: Have you always known you wanted to be a writer? Did anything happen to push you in that direction?
Jeff Kinney: No, but I dreamed of being a cartoonist! I never set out to be an author... it happened on accident. I really had wanted my work to be published in comic strips, but the only way I could get anyone to read my work was to put it in book form.
Candie and Michelle: How has life changed since your career has taken off?
Jeff Kinney: I’ve gotten to travel all over the world, and have opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have. A highlight was getting the chance to create a Greg Heffley balloon to fly in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Candie and Michelle: Wow...what a really neat experience. What was the hardest part in getting your writing career started?
Jeff Kinney: When I sent out sample packets of my material (which was an on-going process for about 3 years), I would receive extremely discouraging responses. Many of these rejection letters began “Dear Creator,” they didn’t even use my name, mention my work, or give me any kind of feedback that I could build from. They simply said “No.” That was really frustrating to me.
Candie and Michelle: I know how you feel about that. For those who haven’t read your books yet how would you describe your writing style?
Jeff Kinney: I'd call my style "polished seventh grade."
Candie and Michelle: :) Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Jeff Kinney: I write jokes for about six months per book. Then I collect them and see what kind of plot the books suggest. But, the jokes don’t pour out of me. It’s really difficult for me to think of enough material to get to the point where I can actually write the book.
Candie and Michelle: What is something you do to overcome writer’s block?
Jeff Kinney: I sit and I sit and I sit and I sit. If I'm lucky, I can come up with one joke every hour and a half.
Candie and Michelle: Out of all the books you have written so far which has been your favorite one to write?
Jeff Kinney: My favorite will always be the first one, because before that I didn’t have any success. However, I think that number 9 is the best written. I'm getting a little better at it as I go.
Candie and Michelle: :) As a whole which character has been your favorite “good guy” to write about?
Jeff Kinney: I think my favorite character is Rowley, because he likes being a kid. Not every kid does!
Candie and Michelle: Rowley is definitely a great character. Out of all your books do you feel like there is a particular character you relate to the most?
Jeff Kinney: I'd say Greg is the most similar to me. Although he's an exaggerated version of myself. I was full of flaws as a kid (and still am as a grown-up), but Greg's faults are amplified.
Candie and Michelle: Greg is an awesome character too. Is there anywhere that you have traveled to that has inspired you to use it one of your upcoming books?
Jeff Kinney: Yes, I went away to Puerto Rico when I was working on Book 9. There’s a seagull scene in the book which was inspired by that trip, along with many other jokes.
Candie and Michelle: What advice do you give to other aspiring authors?
Jeff Kinney: If you have a good idea, nurture it over time. Writing is like anything else... it takes years to get really good at it. And find someone who will offer you tough criticism!
Candie and Michelle: Good advice. :) How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Jeff Kinney: They can view the Wimpy Kid YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/wimpykid
Thank you so much Jeff for taking the time to sit down with us. We both feel blessed to be featuring you this month.
-Candie and Michelle