“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” Author Jeff Kinney talks spooky stories

Mar 19, 2021, 8:44 PM | Updated: Mar 20, 2021, 9:19 am
Spooky stories Jeff Kinney...
Courtesy Amulet Books

It sounds like a bit of a paradox: Somebody who hates scary stories actually writing a book of them.  But that’s exactly what New York Times best-selling kids book author Jeff Kinney has done with his latest release, “Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories.”  The character Rowley is best friends with Kinney’s character Greg Heffley, the protagonist of the “Wimpy Kid” series.

“It’s a collection of short stories. Scary stories–but not so much,” says Kinney, whose books are typically aimed at 8-12-year-olds. “They’re more funny than scary.”

Kinney, who has sold over 250,000,000 copies of his “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series worldwide, joined KSL NewsRadio’s “Fan Effect” podcast to talk about his new book ahead of his visit to Utah this weekend for COVID-friendly appearances at King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City on Sunday, and the Book Bungalow in St. George on Monday.  Kinney says families will drive their cars through a type of outdoor haunted house at the event before he personally delivers a signed copy of the book–holding it out via shovel to stay socially-distanced.

“It feels like the way to go in these times.  It’s a three or four-minute experience, and at the end of it I’m dressed as a gravedigger (and) just trying not to scrape anybody’s windshield!”

Kinney also talked about how he manages to remain relatively anonymous, despite selling a quarter of a billion books around the world.  He says it helps to live in a small town in Massachusetts, but the more likely reason is probably his lack of need for people to know what he looks like.

“I never have put my picture on the back cover of a book,” Kinney explained, adding, “I still have scars from Shel Silverstein growing up,” because he was disappointed when Silverstein looked nothing like Kinney imagined.

Kinney has already seen four Hollywood films made that were based on his “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books.  Even though no live-action movies are currently in the works, fans can soon look forward to an animated series coming to Disney Plus, which Kinney says has been much more directly involved in than he was on the feature films.

“Everything that shows up on screen, and every line by every actor I get to have a hand in and a say in, and it’s really wonderful as a creator.”

Check out the full interview on the “Fan Effect” podcast to hear other fun stories from Kinney including how his first big publishing break came at a comic con; the time he accidentally ruined the interior of a fan’s car with a water balloon; what influence “The Simpsons” had in how he draws his book characters; and much more.



We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories


Sundance women film...
Heather Kelly

Sundance Film Festival is seeking volunteers for 2023 event

The Sundance Film Festival is seeking volunteers to help with its 2023 event in January. The festival will have events planned for Salt Lake City, Park City and the Sundance Resort.
2 days ago
the stage at kilby block party is pictured with attendees sitting in the grass...
Jessica Lowell

Kilby Block Party lineup announced, tickets on sale

This year, the Kilby Block Party will be three days long instead of two and will be held at the State Fairgrounds instead of Library Square.
2 days ago
Gardening writer Jeff Lowenfels identifies five classic holiday plants: paperwhites, poinsettias, C...
JEFF LOWENFELS Associated Press

5 plants that say `holiday season,’ and how to care for them

Gardening writer Jeff Lowenfels identifies five plants that are holiday classics: paperwhites, poinsettias, Christmas trees, amaryllis and Christmas cactus.
3 days ago
Man who shot Lady Gaga's dog walker...
Taylor Romine and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

Man involved in shooting Lady Gaga’s dog walker sentenced to prison

The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was walking Lady Gaga's three French bulldogs on February 24, 2021 when he was accosted and shot.
3 days ago
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 03:  Actress Kirstie Alley attends the "Kirstie" premiere party at Harlow o...
Dan Heching, Amy Simonson and Taylor Romine, CNN

Kirstie Alley, ‘Cheers’ and ‘Veronica’s Closet’ star, dead at 71

Actress Kirstie Alley has died after a brief battle with cancer, her children announced on social media.
4 days ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10: Sesame Street cast member and film subject Bob McGrath attends a ...
Dan Heching and Chris Boyette, CNN

Bob McGrath, original ‘Sesame Street’ cast member, dead at 90

Bob McGrath, an original cast member of "Sesame Street," has died, according to statements from his family and Sesame Workshop.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” Author Jeff Kinney talks spooky stories