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Friday, February 13, 2009

Book Hour - Jeff Kinney

This afternoon, Mindy talked to Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney.

The diary books are not chapter books, but hybrid comic, text books. The main character, Gregg Heffley, has a lot of flaws and imperfections and is not a great friend. Jeff Kinney felt there were too many books about mini-adults, perfect, heroic characters. Roderick, Gregg's older brother, is a popular character. Fifth grade boy is the ultimate reader.

A "ploopie" is a word that Jeff's sister used to call him It was the "baddest" word that she could come up with. When she said it to Jeff, he would freeze. He wasn't a whiny kid, but a little detached.

Gregg was born on in 2004. Jeff talked about how he would hide out in the locker room to avoid swim practice. Jeff has two kids, 3 and 6, but Jeff won't let his son read the Diaries until he is older.

The third book in the series, Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, is now available.

Notes: In Japan, the characters had to have five fingers instead of four. The books are in 30 languages, including Catalan (language spoken mainly in Spain, Andorra and France). The girls are all drawn the same, except for the hair, since Gregg doesn't get girls yet.

Twentieth Century Fox is gong to make a movie, and kids can send in their autition tapes via They are looking for a kid who identifies with Gregg. Jeff has some say in who gets chosen.

Question: Do you ever dislike some of the characters?
Answer: Yes, sometimes Gregg doesn't like Gregg, the protagonist.

Question: How many more books are you going to write?
Answer: At least two, maybe four more. He think seven is just about right.

Question: Is Gregg gong to get older?
Answer: No, he's going to stay the same age.

Question: When is the fourth book coming out?
Answer: This fall. Jeff is writing it right now, and it will be about Gregg's summer vacation.

Question: What was Gregg's best adventure?
Answer: Trying to knock someone off a bicycle with a football.

Question: When did Gregg meet his best friend Rowley?
Answer: Rowley showed up on Gregg's doorstep and asked Gregg a lame knock-knock joke.

Question: Where did Gregg get his name?
Answer: Jeff's mom wanted to name a son Gregg, but never did.

Question: When is the movie coming out?
Answer: Maybe this year.

Question: How old were you when you started drawing.
Answer: He drew a turtle at age two and his mom still has it.

Question: Did your mom watch romantic movies?
Answer: Yes, she watches romantic comedies.

Question: What is you favorite book.
Answer: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. As for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the red one.

Question: Did you know you were going to be a writer?
Answer: He didn't, he wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist.

Question: Which do you like doing better "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" or "Poptropica"?
Answer: Jeff likes both equally.

Question: How did you get the ideas for the characters?
Answer: Bits and pieces of people he's known and other ideas for types.

Question: Where do you get ideas?
Answer: Remembering his childhood and stuff going on around. Keep a journal. Jeff wishes he had kept a journal.

Question: When did you start writing the books?
Answer: Eleven years ago.

Question: What is Gregg's dad's name?
Answer: Maybe it is Frank.

Jeff also designs the virtual world site.

Visit the Diary of a Wimpy Kid website for more information about the books. Also, Jeff will be at the Borders in Fairfax tomorrow, Saturday, February 14 at 1 p.m.

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