R.L. Stine

October 23, 2013

I'm R.L. Stine and it's my job to terrify kids. Ask me anything!

Hi! I'm R.L. Stine and my job is to terrify kids. You might know me as the bestselling author of Goosebumps, but you can call be Bob.

Here's proof that it's me: https://twitter.com/RL_Stine/status/392749166553612289

I'm the bestselling author of more than three hundred books, including the bestselling Goosebumps Series. You might recognize me from the opening credits of the TV show: http://youtu.be/-4Y3n3ysVLQ

Ask me anything!

No question, just wanted to say thank you. As a kid, your books brought me so many hours of enjoyment. I love them and am glad to say that now my son is at an age where he can enjoy them as well. He reads 30 min- 1 hour every day for school and its always Goosebumps, Goosebumps, Goosebumps.

Also, sorry about all the Ermahgerds about to come you way.

Thanks for the kind words. I love Ehrmagerds!

Hi! I'm one your biggest fans

I love your book

Can you tell me how did you get your ideas?

And does that relate to your childhood ?

I was a very fearful child. That's why I stayed in my room writing. Guess it helped me later in life.

Thank you so much for the childhood memories! Which book would you say was your favorite to write?

The Slappy books are most fun to write because I get to be rude and insulting.

1st off, let me say I love your books. Your books are honestly one of the few books I read in my childhood for leisure fun!

I guess I’ll keep it simple and short.

1) Since you write stories that are in the “horror” section, what book and movie terrifies you?
2) What terrifies you in real life?


The scariest book to me? Maybe Pet Semetary.

Hey! I grew up reading your books and really appreciate your work. My question is what are you reading today and what are some recent favourites?

I'm reading the new Jeffrey Deaver novel. I read a lot of thrillers and mysteries.

First off, I wanted to tell you that the Goosebumps and Fear Street books are one of the reasons I decided to pursue writing. Thank you for crafting such entertaining and terrifying stories that inspired me then and through adulthood.

That said, some of my favorite titles are Hide and Shriek, One Day at Horrorland, and The Fear Street Saga Trilogy. I still re-read each of them once a year.

I was curious about how the Fear Street Saga came about. That particular series is definitely a departure from the other books you've written. There are certainly some darker moments there too. Did you always have the origin of Fear Street in the back of your mind, or did it come at a later date?

Again, thank you so much for doing this. I could truly never thank you enough. I can only hope that one day my stories are as beloved as the ones you have created.

After several Fear Street books, it seemed appropriate to explain how that street became so cursed. Good luck with your writing.

Hi, Mr. Stine! I wrote my Master's thesis on the post-modern approach to gender in the original Goosebumps series. My argument, in response to accusations by critics like Vicki Coppell that Goosebumps is sexist, was that the series purposely represents its "types" (Annoying Younger Sibling, Scaredy-Cat, Bully, etc.) approximately equally along gender lines, essentially implying that there is no "one thing" it means to be masculine or feminine. Is this type of thing something you were conscious of when writing the original books, the idea that giving girls the chance to act like boys and boys the chance to act like girls would be a progressive move, especially in a genre that often promotes gender essentialism? Here's a link to the thesis itself: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxy37lGzuTFrMUFqLWU5cWxnRkk/edit?usp=sharing

My main aim was to present girls and boys as equal. They all had an equal ability to run from the monsters. I wonder how many Masters Theses have been written on Goosebumps.

Dang! I used to read your Goosebumps books all the time O_O

I just wanted to ask, if you could make one of your monsters come to life and terrorize your enemies, which would it be?

Huh? Do I have enemies?

Mr. Stine! Two questions for you!


I think you should celebrate Halloween by reading my new teen horror novel, A Midsummer Night's Scream.

Thanks for doing this, your books are very nostalgic to me. I'll just say in 2nd grade you got me interested in reading when my friend started to read them all the time, then I started to as well. I'm wondering if any of the stories in the books have reflected any personal events in your life.

The books have the suburban neighborhood where I grew up (Columbus, Ohio). But I never based a character on anyone real.

Hi MR. Stine I love your stores! I have been watching Goosebumps with my little brother to get in the Halloween spirit :) I must say your introductions to the episodes are top notch :)

My question is when did you realize you wanted to write mostly scary stories?

I wrote joke books and humor for years. An editor asked me to write a scary teen novel--Blind Date-- and I've been scary ever since.

I grew up on your books. You are one of the many inspirations of mine that have had a part in my pursuit of a degree in English/literature. Question: Which book, to you, was your "best" work (from the goosebumps collection)?

Best work? Maybe a recent one-- Wanted: The Haunted Mask. I'm very proud of that one, even though it's a sequel.

I rather enjoyed Goosebumps as a kid. The Monster Blood books, specifically.

Did you write all of the GooseBumps books yourself, or like K.A. Applegate, act as more of a supervisor to other ghost writers?

(The Cataluna chronicles were also really nice.)

I wrote all the GB books myself, believe it or not. Sometimes I had writers help me with the outlines. But all books were by me.

Hi, Bob. How did you feel about doing the wraparound segments for some of the Goosebumps episodes? Also, being as objective as you can be, can you tell us what your favorite episode was? Which one, if any, nailed the tone you were going for with your books?

I loved doing the GB intros. Wish I was better at it. Best episode? Either The Haunted Mask or A Night in Terror Tower.

First of all, thank you for the great contributions to the world. Your werewolf books/episodes are why I, a grown man, am still freaked out by wolves.

Just a couple things about the TV series, is the legend true about there being a "lost" Haunted Mask 3 episode of Goosebumps? Also will the full series dvd set eventually be available in the U.S.?

There are no lost episodes of Goosebumps. I'd love to see a big boxed set, but that's entirely up to Scholastic. No one asks me anything.

What's your very best life advice?

Don't eat the yellow snow.

Mr. Stine, I was/am a huge fan of Goosebumps growing up! I read all the books at a young age. Don't really have a question, but a funny story. When I was 5, I had a recurring nightmare of Slappy the Dummy killing me. This went on for about a month until one night I acually recognized that I was dreaming. In my dream, I went out to my garage to grab a baseball bat right before I unwrapped Slappy, and when I did, I smashed him to bits. I have had lucid dreams ever since. Thank you for that.

Edit: I've had a couple of replies now saying, "I had a dream like that too!", my dream was fucked up and I'm going to explain it to you. I remember it so clearly even though it was 16-17 years ago.

I was watching tv with my younger brother. A Trix commerical was on when a warning came up. It was a very scary warning, recalling Slappy (he apparently was being sold to children). Just as this warning happened, my mom called me over.

"I have a very special surprise for you, Justin"

It was a tiny coffin. I was scared to open it, but I did anyway. The second I did, Slappy lunged at me and choked me to death. This happened every single night for a month. I was so afraid to go to sleep because I knew what was going to happen. One night, I realized that I was dreaming though so when my mom called me over, I told her to hold on and went to my garage, grabbed my baseball bat from my little league games, went back inside and opened the coffin. The second he lunged at me I smashed his face in over and over and over and then I woke up. Been lucid dreaming ever since!

I am very worried about you.

Where do you find the motivation to write so many books?

P.S. Thank you for making reading enjoyable as a kid.

I wouldn't know what else to do all day.

Hey RL absolutely LOVE everything you've done with Goosebumps over the past 20 years. The Haunted Mask is my favorite VHS I own to date!

My question to you is what is your all time favorite horror movie?

All-time fav? Maybe the original Frankenstein? Maybe The Shining? Maybe Evil Dead II?

Hello R.L. I grew up on your books and I could not wait until my kids were old enough to read them as well. They love them too. I never forgot reading the Goosebumps series, especially the book about the camera and the creepy photos! My question is where did your inspiration for the scary series for children come from? Did you set out to write a children’s series or did it just happen?

I set out to write for kids. I love scaring kids!

Your books addressed a lot of things that aren't really on the kid level. There was a lot of death and dying in especially the fear street series. Was it difficult to make the horror genre accessible to a young crowd (since Goosebumps started for the fairly young reader?)

Hey, no one EVER dies in a Goosebumps book. But I enjoyed killing teenagers. My new teen novel, A Midsummer Night's Scream, is pretty gruesome.

Mr. Stine – I first want to thank you. My younger brother and I didn’t get along much growing up, and I always had trouble getting through to him. He was very quiet and not forthcoming with his interests, and we could never really bond. When he first discovered Goosebumps, it was the one thing I could understand he found engaging, and through your series we were able to communicate with each other as we read the books together. He’s now a grown man living and working 2,000 miles away, but I still check in with him every few weeks to see what kind of horror books or movies he’s discovered since we last spoke, because he still has the passion for it that began with your Goosebumps series. So thank you for your work, it has been integral to the closeness my brother and I have shared for the last twenty years.

Now on to my question – I’ve always been curious as to how someone writing “childrens horror” so-to-speak knows where the line is between too much for his audience and just horrifying enough to not scar a developing mind. Can you elaborate on your process as far as making sure the horror is still suitable for a young audience? What advice would you give to authors who want to work in this genre of literature?

Thank you again so much for doing this and for all the joy you’ve brought my family!

The line I draw is to never let the story get too REAL. The kids have to know it's a fantasy and could never happen to them.

R.L. Stine, I just want to say you were a HUGE part of my childhood and I'm thrilled that you are doing this AMA. If I'm not mistaken, it was you who inspired me to write my first story as a child which, not surprisingly, was horror. Might I ask if you were inspired by any horror authors/directors etc. as a child? And if so, who?

Ray Bradbury and Rod Serling are two of my biggest influences. I was a sci-fi freak as a kid.

What happened in your life that led you to deciding that scaring children was your life's work?

I needed to make a living.

I loved Goosebumps as a child as I am sure a lot of posters have. I remember those books being the first books I finished outside of school books, and I recall often imagining the stories from my own perspective. I believe this thought exercise lead me to become a writer myself, and some 10 to 12 years later I have a finished (albeit unpublished novel). I appreciate your showing me that books can be scary and entertaining. My dad got me into horror movies, and you helped bring me into horror fiction.

My questions are:

Thank you!

Nice questions. I feel that the very first GB book, Welcome to Dead House, was too scary. I didn't quite have it down yet. In the second book, I added humor and found the right balance.

First of all I just want to say thank you. Thank you for writing such amazing books to read when I was in the 3rd grade. I came from mexico at such a young age that the transition to the usa was rough and very lonely. I was able to read English very well but when it came to speaking I was a mess so I isolated myself with reading as much as possible and checking out goosebumps books whenever I could. So for that thank you so much Mr. Stine!!

p.s. My top favorite are "Say cheese and die", "Deep trouble", "Revenge of the lawn gnomes" and "night of the living dummy"

Thank you. You're all too nice. I really appreciate all the kind words from everyone.

No offense meant - I truly enjoyed your children's books - but Red Rain really felt like a long, gory, Goosebumps book (which is not a good thing for an adult novel). If I hadn't seen your name on it, I would have known it was yours by the gotcha gimmicks and cliffhangers that were your signature.

Do you intend to attempt another novel for adults, and, if so, will you attempt some new devices?

On a kinder note, I loved The Cuckoo Clock of Doom. Time travel within one's own timeline is a favorite daydream of mine.

Cuckoo Clock is one of my favorites. Sorry you were disappointed by Red Rain.

I literally just joined reddit for this AMA. My siblings and I are all fans of your work (specifically Goosebumps, though I've read a couple of your YA books), and I'm on the phone with my two youngest siblings (10 and 12) to see what questions they had for you (they were pretty excited when I told them about this AMA).

Here's what they came up with:

  1. Do you enjoy writing Goosebumps?

  2. How did you come up with the idea of HorrorLand?

  3. Do you draw inspiration from actual people you know for your characters? (My siblings specifically want to know about Jonathan Chiller, or Mr. Chiller, in all the HorrorLand books)

  4. What is your next book?

  5. How do you come up with all these story ideas?

Thanks again for doing this AMA!

Whoa. You guys are overwhelming me. Sure, I love writing GB. I've been doing it for 21 years! I thought of HorrorLand as the opposite of the Disney parks, which I love. The newest GB is called Dr. Maniac Will See You Now.

What is your favorite horror novel? I'll read it next!

Have you read Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury?

Have you ever checked out the Blogger Beware blog (bloggerbeware.com)? If so, any thoughts on their (comedic) critical analysis of your work?

They sure are critical, aren't they? Cringe cringe.

Have you ever been scared because of something you wrote?


Hi! When I was a kid, your Goosebumps books, especially Give Yourself Goosebumps, were my favorite books. Here are my questions: -How do you write a CYOA book? It seems like it would be a ton of work to come up with each possible ending. And why aren't there any good ones for young adults/adults? -How do you decide what's appropriate for a children's book and what's too adult? I've always wondered how authors make that decision. The horror genre in particular seems difficult to write for a young audience. Thanks for doing this AMA!

I've been writing for kids for so long, I think I know them well. And, I actually LIKE kids. The Give-Yourself-GB books were easier to write than they looked. Really.

Loved goosebumps. honestly to my knowledge you really made collecting books cool/fun!. unfortunately goosebumps never held their value. but for awhile everyone i know would flock to those paperback books like crazy. we would trade lunches, video games, and stuff for books. it was an amazing time. plus i loved those choose your own adventure books.

honestly I think better than the story(sorry), was your cover art.

but out of curiosity, what did the books retail for? what was the actual cost of creating a book? and what did you pocket from each sale?

and do you have any cool pictures of your books that you can share with us? maybe a complete collection?

and how do you feel the tv episodes justified your books?

btw I wouldn't mind seeing people use your stories to make full length movies. some of them were pretty good. I actually liked Say Cheese and Die when i was younger.

Lotsa questions. I was very pleased with the GB TV shows. They did a quality job. I'm lucky. I think my new TV series, The Haunting Hour, is really well done, as well.

Where did you get the idea for the dad that becomes a plant and has a clone? That was probably my favorite upon a recent Netflix rewatch. Thanks!

It was inspired by Little Shop of Horrors. I have a cactus in my office named Audrey.

I wasn't allowed to read your books as a kid, but I still did in secret. What would you say to 8-year-old me if you could go back in time?

Hand over your lunch money.

What's it like knowing you're such an amazing author and that people all over read your stories?

I feel very lucky to be doing what I always dreamed of doing.

What was the scariest moment in your life?

When I lost my 3-yr-old son at the NY Auto Show.

Bob thanks to you im a massive horror fan and always looking for a good scare. Thank you for the books that you wrote.

If you had to choose what you think is the scariest Goosebumps book, which would you choose?

Maybe The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight.

Hey! Thanks for this! The 99 Fear Street Trilogy were my favourite books when I was growing up, I rented them from my local library more times than I can remember - I was so heartbroken when they got lost and I couldn't read them anymore :( You spawned a great passion for reading in me, as well as a deep love of horror!

Anyway, enough gushing. I was wondering what it was like seeing your works brought to life in the TV series? Obviously they had to tone down certain elements to make them more appropriate for TV, did the changes they had to make to any of the stories bother you?

Thanks again for the nightmares! :)

Edit: Tone not town. The shame!

It was exciting to see what other writers (script writers) would do with my stories. Sometimes I was really surprised; seldom horrified.

Hi thank you for the AMA, I just wanted to ask what are your plans for the future if you have any? Also I loved your books in elementary school, they really hooked me in.

I plan to keep writing as long as people keep reading. I'm signed up for 5 more GB books as well as other projects.

Why did most of the Choose Your Adventures end with my characters' death? Was I just not good at making decisions?

You were TERRIBLE at making decisions.

What other genres do you enjoy writing?

If you could meet any other author, living or dead, who would you like to meet?

Thank you for your books! I've enjoyed them over and over through the years. :)

I'm so lucky. I've met almost all of the writers I'd like to meet, including Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury. How lucky is that!

First of all, I want to say thank you! You are the reason I am such an avid and passionate reader and writer today. I had so much trouble in school with reading, but it wasn't until I picked up the Goosebumps books that I really learned and fell in love with reading.

My question is about your twitter page, which I follow and think is hilarious. How do you come up with those mini stories that you post?

I really enjoy Twitter. I write my Twitter short stories live on the spot. A nice challenge for me.

Having created your own successful book series, what is your opinion on the likes of Twilight and The Mortal Instruments?

I'm not a greedy person. I love to see other authors have huge hits. I think it's so great that the richest woman in the world is a children's author.

Will there be a sequel to Red Rain?

No sequel to Red Rain. I'm concentrating on YA right now, including A Midsummer Night's Scream.

was the artwork on the goosebumps books accurate to what you had envisioned in your head?

The covers were MUCH BETTER than anything in my head. Tim Jacobus painted em all and he's brilliant.

No questions from me, but can I just say thank you for all of the countless hours of enjoyment you provided for me during my childhood? You rock Bob, here's to hoping you get to terrify a whole new generation of kids soon!

Thank you. You're too nice.

Hey, I just finished up the book I was reading and need something else to read now. If you could recommend any book right now what would it be?

Try any book by Harlan Coben.

What is the best way, in your experience, to overcome a serious case of writers block?

Plan as much as you can ahead. Do a very complete outline before you write. It's hard to have writers' block when you've planned everything that's going to happen. For more writing tips and all my writing secrets, check out the free writing program--For Teachers-- at http://rlstine.com

What does R.L. Stine do on a typical Saturday afternoon? :)

Watch Ohio State and Wisconsin football? Walk my dog in Central Park?

Can you come to Toronto so I can hug you? Monster Blood II is my favourite.

Yes, I would come to Toronto for a hug. Maybe sometime soon.

Did you ever meet or hang out with Christopher Pike in real life?

I spent one very weird day with Christopher Pike back in the 90's.

Have you had any person supernatural experiences, either before or after Goosebumps?

Once when I was an editor at Scholastic, I was sitting at my desk when I felt myself rising up from my body. I floated up to the ceiling and looked down on myself sitting at my desk below. It lasted only a few seconds and never happened again. No drugs were involved.

Oh my god! You were my childhood. My question is, when writing the You Choose the Scare books did you ever have trouble keeping everything in order? It always seemed so complicated to make sure all the pages are in check, or was that an editors job? Also I write horror stories and am currently studying creative writing at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and you were a huge inspiration to me.

I kept a numbered chart on a legal-size notepad. I filled it in as I wrote each page.

How do you feel about the '90s television series that was based off your book series, Goosebumps? I loved their cheesiness and found the low special effects and make-up to be even more enjoyable. Also, How do you feel about popular electronic music artist RL GRIME's name / pseudonym?

Just wanted to say, I'm a big fan and my library at home has a whole shelf of Goosebumps.

R.L. Grime and I keep in touch. I do a voice-over every year for his Halloween mix tape.

Hello Mr. Stine, I am writing for my daughter and she would like to ask if you plan on writing anymore of the Goosebumps Horrorland books?

No. I'm writing a series now called Goosebumps: Most Wanted.

Just one question. What was a book you have written that you aren't too crazy about?

The Barking Ghost.

Mr. Stine, thanks for doing this AMA. I was a huge fan of the Goosebumps books, and the Fear Street books, bit that's not what I want to ask you about. Can you talk to us a little bit about your work on Eureka's Castle?

I was head writer of Eureeka's Castle. My staff and I wrote all the puppet episodes. We did 100 shows. A lot of fun.

If there is one book that you wish you wrote yourself instead of the original author, what would it be?

Also, what, in your opinion is the scariest book you have ever read?

Harry Potter?

Please tell us about the artist who made the covers for the Goosebumps series. :D

Tim Jacobus painted the first 67 covers. He really captured the humor/horror balance.

Outside of my parents, you might be one of the most influential people in my life. You're a huge part of the reason I spend a good chunk of my free time these days writing, and you may be solely responsible for my penchant for horror, both written and filmed, that's carried throughout my life. I still remember deciding I must finally have been growing up -- in the fifth grade -- because I started reading more Fear Street than Goosebumps. In short, you helped guide my childhood in some very interesting and significant ways, and I'm here to leech off you yet again with a standard, simple question.

What's the best advice on writing you have ever received?

You won't believe this, but here in its entirety is the best writing advice I ever got (written by an editor at the top of my manuscript): MORE LORE.

Loved your books growing up, used to steal them from my brother all the time, which of your books would you love to see become the next big horror film and who would you like to star in it?

We are very close to doing a Goosebumps movie. And there have been all kinds of rumors about Jack Black playing me. But nothing is definite. Fingers crossed.

Huge Fan growing up! What is the deal with this Goosebumps movie idea that has been tossed around the last few years? Any new info you can share?

Just shared it above.

Thank you for doing this AMA! Two questions- Who/what inspired you to become an author? Have you read any good books recently?

My big accomplishment of the summer was reading Middlemarch by George Eliot. Now THAT'S a novel!

Thank you. I grew up on your books and loved every one of them.

What made you decide to write horror books mainly directed at children and young adults rather than an adult audience? What about being a children's author appealed to you?

Kids are a wonderful audience. They are so enthusiastic. And they write to you and want to keep in touch. Adults don't have time for that.

Thank you soo much for your contributions to childrens literature I still remember being in elementary school and having the options for books to read and having to run to try to check out one of your books

As for my question is it true that they are moving forward with a new goosebumps show/movie involving jack black?

Let's hope they're moving forward. I hear all kinds of rumors.

First off Let me thank you, if not for you I may not enjoy reading as much as I do today.
I was born in 86 and I won a 4th grade reading contest (how many books each student read through the school year) by reading almost entirely Goosebumps.
Have you ever thought of making a new Goosebumps series now that special effects are more effective and less expensive?

No. No talk of new GB episodes. Hope you are enjoying my new series, The Haunting Hour.

If Dr. Maniac and Slappy got into a quarrel, who would win?

Slappy would end up as kindling.

I used to read your books everywhere, cover to cover and then do it all over again. You seriously scared the crap outta my 9 year old self. I also think of you every time I watch Wheel of Fortune, at the Bonus Round when they basically use your name as a starting point for guessing!!

Question:: Was "Stay Out Of The Basement" based on any one experience or something in particular? It was always my favorite.

Thanks for the memories R.L.!

It was inspired by Little Shop of Horrors.

Hey Bob!

We've spoken a few times on twitter. You told me that you also love Bruce Springsteen, and so, as a fellow fan (and writer for brucespringsteen.net) I have 3 questions.

1) How did you discover Bruce? 2) Which songs / albums speak to you above the rest? 3) What is your greatest concert experience with him?



Every concert is pure joy. We never miss one. We discovered Bruce long ago in the Asbury Park days, after the first album. To me, The Rising is pure art.

Did it make you happy knowing you deprived me and countless others sleep for weeks?

Yes, it did.

Mr. Stine, your Goosebumps books kept me up late on many nights as a child. I must have read at least 50 of them.

Q: How the heck did you think of names for all those characters? Do the names mean anything special?

A lot of the character names came from my son's school directory.

How are you holding up financially? what were you at financially at your peak?

Before your first goosebump book was released, how many did you have written? How long did it take you to write more?

what is your top 3 favorite goosebump covers?

Also i purchased some goosebump walkie talkies the other day at a yard sale. bought them for nostalgic purposes. what was your favorite non-book goosebump product?

Thank you for worrying about my finances, Roy. Think you could lend me a few bucks... just till I get back on my feet?

Good evening!

Have you ever thought about writing sequels to some of your books? If you do, please write one for the story about a boy who finds a book that teaches him how to fly. I thought that ending was perfectly done, and presented an idea that kids books normally don't/didn't.

These days, I write a LOT of sequels.


I was just wondering what your thoughts are on films based on books, do you tend to avoid them? What are some movies that have relayed their respective books message accurately?

Cheers :)

The Godfather? Misery? Age of Innocence? All excellent adaptations.

Hey, Bob! Love your books. Were have you ever gotten any mail from parents insulting you on giving their children nightmares? What's the funniest contact you've gotten on the topic of your books?

One of the funniest letters I received, from a girl: Dear, R.L. Stine, I'm having trouble keeping up with all your books. Do you think you could stop writing for a while?

Hi Bob, have you ever thought about getting Goosebumps re-packaged into big volumes? I have a certain nostalgia about the old, cheap paperbacks but I'd love to be able to put a few high-quality leatherbound volumes on my kids' shelf when they're old enough. And please keep the old illustrations to introduce each story!

Ain't gonna happen. Nice idea, though.

Mr. Stine, Are you an avid reader? If so what are you reading now?

Thank you for taking time to do this AMA.

I read every day. I'm reading The October List by Jeffery Deaver.

Wow, Goosebumps basically paved the way to my future love of horror. I just finished Red Rain (which I enjoyed) and my only question is, What made you decide to write an adult horror novel after so many years of scaring kids?

So many of my original readers are now in their 20s and 30s. I wanted to write a book for them.

I read pretty much all of the original goosebumps books when I was younger. I'm pretty sure I had all of the books on my shelf as well. They might still be in the attic, even. Sigh, nostalgia.

Thanks for getting me interested in the horror genre. It served almost as a gateway to my lifelong fascination with literature. I doubt that I would be anywhere near as interested in reading as I am now without the introduction of Goosebumps.

Anyway, time for the question -- was there anything that provided inspiration for some of the more unusual stories (It came from beneath the sink, I live in your basement, etc.)?

It Came from Beneath the Sink came about just because I loved the title. It was based on a 50s horror movie-- It Came from Beneath the Sea. Many of my books start with the title.

Hey Bob! I loved Slappy. He still scares the hell out of me. I saw an episode on TV the other day and it still creeped me out. I also remember going as the Haunted Mask for halloween in '95!

I'd like to know more about Slappy... where did the inspiration for him come from?

From an old British horror movie called Dead of Night.

Mr. Stine, thank you for getting me interested in the horror genre as a kid! It's been a long happy love ever since.

Is there any subject that you wish you could write a new Goosebumps book about these days? Something you feel like you "missed"?

I feel like I've written every story one can possibly write. Sometimes I wonder where the next plot is going to come from!

Hi Mr. Stine, I just wanted to ask you what inspired you to start writing in the first place? PS: Thanks for an awesome childhood :-)

I started writing when I was 9. No idea why I found it so interesting.

You're what made me fall in love with books!! Before reading goosebumps as a child I couldn't care less about books so I have you to thank for that!! Who would you consider to be your favorite modern writer??

How modern? My all-time favorite authors: P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain.

Was there ever a work in progress you scrapped because it wound up being too scary for kids?


If you reply to this, know that you are making eight-year-old doubleuilliam SQUEAL with delight.

With that being said, are there any Goosebumps books that you wish you could go back in time and change anything about (ie. endings, etc?)?


Most authors don't think that way. Some books are better than others. But I'd never think of going back. It's best to just keep moving on to the next one.


My guilty pleasures are the Robert B. Parker Spencer novels. I devour them and keep buying more.

Jovial Bob! No questions, just wanted to say how much I loved your adaptation of Spaceballs! I used it as The Book when I officiated a Spaceballs themes wedding.

A Spaceball-themed wedding? I'm so sorry you told me about that.

Hey Mr. Stine!

What are your thoughts about your son R.L Grime's music career?

Very funny. My son @mdstine has a good music career going, including sound design for theater companies and producing a hip-hop act called Metermaids.

Mr. Stine, I just wanted to give you a resounding "thank you" for sharing your creative gift with the world. Yours were among the first books I read as a child and they helped foster within me a lifelong love of reading (despite how terrifying they were), and were among some of the biggest reasons I chose to pursue my MA in Creative Writing and Fiction. So, for that, thanks, and you rock!

I do actually have two questions:

1) What do you have on the horizon for readers who love your work?

2) What do you like to do in your spare time?

P.S. I've got all your books saved from when I was a kid and plan to share them with my own children when they get a little older (they're still a little too scary for their ages.) Thanks again!

I love to read and to watch old noir films on Netflix. I'm going to write more teen novels, like my newest, A Midsummer Night's Scream.

The Catholic grade school I went to ended up banning your books for Catholic reasons. Is this a source of enduring pride for you?

I like it best when kids read my books under the covers at night at home.

My girlfriend told me to tell you that your ventriloquist story gave her nightmares for a great portion of her life.

How exactly do you go about writing your tales? Do you see something and let it slither around your mind until it grows into something coherent or do you sit down and write from the get-go? I tend to let things slither, causing me to procrastinate a lot.

I usually start with a title. Then i come up with a basic premise. Then I think of the ending. I always have to know the ending before I start to write.

I just wanted to thank you for everything that you have done. Your books were my inspiration to read. I picked up your first book (one of the Goosebumps books, maybe Creature Teacher?) when I was in 2nd grade because I wanted to be rebellious and read a book that my teacher told my class that we couldn't/ shouldn't read. I remember reading it, loving it, and taking and acing the test for it (which got me a lot of points in my reading class).

Not many people can say this but I wanted you to know that you can.. You have created a product that is the cause of inspiration, wonder, and a love for learning. For that, I thank you.

Thank you for the kind words. You are too nice. I'm really thrilled by the reception I've received tonight.

Hey Bob! Thanks for doing a Q & A, this is pretty cool...!

1) Where you the one who came up with the idea to make the TV show The Haunting Hour?

2) When you go to the bookstore do you ever go check out the goosebumps shelf? :) It would be funny if you secretly signed one, lol.

3) When you're out and about in NYC do you get recognized often?

4) Is your imagination always on for coming up with scary book ideas, or do you save coming up with ideas for when you sit down to write?

5) Have you written a story that you couldn't figure out where it should go and just had to put it aside?

The producers of the Goosebumps show decided they wanted to do the Haunting Hour show. I'm so lucky to have them. When I'm out and about in NYC, I get recognized only occasionally and always by kids, which is nice.

Mr. Stine! Grew up on your books as well and Goosebumps 1-50 is carefully sealed away waiting to be discovered in the attic by my future children.

If you were to give one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

Learn what is out there in the market. Learn what publishers are producing. Don't try to write something that won't fit with what they are doing.

I used to read your books when I was a kid while everyone else was reading animorphs (lame).

My question to you is what kind of books did you read when you were around the target age of goosebumps?

What kind of books did you read in general throughout high school as well?

I read sports books and joke books and mainly comic books. I was a comic book freak, especially horror comics like Tales from the Crypt.

You were a god to me as a kid. Want to do lunch?

You're scaring me.

Hey Mr. Stine! Thank you for making my childhood scary. The Goosebumps series (as well as Nightmare Hour) kickstarted my childhood love of the horror genre.

Since Halloween is almost upon us, here is a picture of me last Halloween. My costume: Say Cheese & Die >>>http://i.imgur.com/tUwv0Rm.jpg

My question for you is: what is the most creative//scariest Halloween costume you have ever seen?

One of the worst I've seen: One year, my son painted his face blue and went out as a Smurf.

Mr. Stine! You made my childhood so full of terror, in a good way! When Goosebumps Live was at the Fox Theater in Atlanta over a decade ago, you were in the audience but my sister and I were too nervous to get your autograph. I have always regretted that. My question is which book of yours do you believe is the most terrifying? Thanks for everything that you do!

The live Goosebumps Onstage show was wonderful, a real thrill for me. I'll never forget that night at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. Sorry I missed you then.

What kind of car do you drive? Loved your books as akid, and now :D

BMW 335.

Dude, your books were probably my only friends throughout middle school. Although scary, gave me so much comfort. Thanks so much for writing them.

Glad they were meaningful to you.

If you had choose one of your stories to live out which book would it be?

Please-- I don't want to live in ANY of my books! Spare me!

How much input did you give in the Goosebumps TV series adaptations of your books? When you draft the outline for an episode of The Haunting Hour vs writing a book for the Goosebumps series do you know which it will be to begin with? As in one outline turns out better for a TV show vs as a book and vice versa? Or is there a conscious decision made before hand?

Which medium do you prefer?

I remember in 3rd grade, I ordered some Goosebumps books from a bookorder. On the day the books came in my teacher pulled me aside and gave me a stack of Baby-Sitters Club books. She said that young ladies shouldn't read Goosebumps and I should read more gender appropriate books. Odd since so many of the protagonists of your books seemed to be females.

Weird teacher. The secret to GB success was that the readers were 50% male and 50% female, split right down the middle. The first kids book series ever to do that. Very lucky.

Hi Mr. Stine. Just curious, how much time per day did you spend writing at your peak? You have a truly massive bibliography.

I used to write 20 pages a day. Now I do ten pages most days and then take the dog for a long walk.

So, Mr. Stine, what frightened you as a child?

Just about everything. I think that's why I stayed in my room writing.

It's so dumb! My question was downvoted as well so it pissed me off to see this happening to other people. Glad he answered mine!

What does down-voting mean? I'm not familiar with these Reddit terms.

Mr. Stine, my only question I have for you right now, is this, will you please look into coming to Asheville North Carolina for a book signing. I am not a person who wants much in the world, but one of my dreams is to shake your hand and thank you for inspiring me to want to write as well. I have never been happier than when I am writing my own stories, and it started from your Fear Street books. I have a dream to shake your hand, say thank you, and keep my favorite book close from you. Thank you. Amie

I'm coming to the North Carolina Literary Festival this spring. See you there?


Nice to hear from you. My son still works for that theater.

Everyone praises your Goosebumps books, which are great, but I really really liked Fear Street.

Did you prefer writing one over the other, or were they just a chance to do something a little bit different?

I enjoy writing for both age groups. I've been thinking a lot about Fear Street lately. Maybe it's time for some new ones? I hope YA readers will try my new teen novel, A Midsummer Night's Scream.

Greetings! Your books have a special spot in my heart. One of my first crushes gave me a book of yours in the 5th grade and I was just smitten, haha.

My question: Were you creepy/ weird as a kid, or did you have any "paranormal" experiences that influenced you to write the types of stories you do?

I was funny as a kid. At least I thought I was. I was always trying to disrupt the class and get laughs.

What do you think of 50 Shades of Grey, PURELY from a writing point of view?

Haven't read them.

What's your biggest fear in real life?

Being hit by a meteor.

I remember as a little kid getting the Stay Out of the Basement episode on VHS for Easter one year. I would watch it so freaking much. Did you ever see the series Are You Afraid of the Dark as competition for Goosebumps?

Yes, I watched Afraid of the Dark. I enjoyed that series.


Slappy IS under your bed.

Hey Bob. I am an 18 year old here with a little story to tell you. When I was 14 years old my Dad decided to have me put into isolation for several years. Iwasnt allowed outside and it was often because of his anxiety and such. Well one day he came back home and gave me a HUGE collection of Goosebumps and I read these books repeatedly over and over again just to pass the time. Im in college now, and I hope you realize that without your books I wouldve never came out of the isolation with the sanity I have now. Guitar hero and Grand Theft Auto will never fill the void that I had. And your books did just that. I have no questions, only praise for you. I love your books, and thank you for not making my childhood/teenage years such a bore. Thank you a million times :)

For those of you wanting more info, feel free to look and ask questions!

Thank you a million times for sharing that.

What are some of your favorite episodes of The Haunting Hour?

The shows with the evil doll Lilly D.

Are you now scared of dummies?

Puppy Molester? Really?

My son wants to know if you have any new books you're working on or that are coming out. (He inherited all of my and my brothers books!)

I'm working on a GB for next year called Zombie Halloween. Guess what it's about?

Ever feel guilty for giving children nightmares?


Mr. Stine!

As a long time fan I have always loved your books. When I was little I would always read your books then watch the goosebumps movie about the book i just read. My question is did you help at all in the production in the movies. Were any of the movies very different then how you wanted the audience to imagine the characters?

Even if you don't respond or this gets downvoted to oblivion I just also wanted to express my gratitude for a thrill filled childhood. Those movies were just as scary as nickolodeans Are You Afraid Of The Dark.

Thanks very much. What does downvoting mean??

How much has the juvenile book market changed? I came up in the days of the Hardy Boys books and in those days (80's) there was always another good book to read, Piers Anthony after that, and Asimov later... It seems (from my perspective) that the quantity has dwindled while the quality has sunk like a rock.

I'm much more optimistic. Children's publishing was a tiny business when I started 40 years ago. Now it's the cash cow for many publishers. Thousands of titles a year, and many of them are topnotch. Kids are reading more than ever.

Before my question, a shoutout! You were my favorite author in Kindergarten. I used to be so proud that I was reading chapter books, and that they were totally scary, which made me feel like the toughest nerd in my class.

How do you take your coffee?

milk and Equal.

Is there any ritual or routine you go through before you sit down and write (type) out your stories?

No. I'm pretty much a machine. I sit down at my keyboard at ten and don't get up till I've written 2,000 words.

I read so many of your books when i was younger, eventually giving them all to my younger brother.

I want to thank you for many years of entertainment and getting my younger self into reading.

My only question is do you have any plans to write more goosebumps books in the future?

Yes, more GB books to come.

Is there a reason why all of the boys in the Goosebumps tv show have the same hairstyle?

I absolutely loved your books growing up, by the way. The ones where you could choose your ending were my favorites!

They're Canadian.

How does it feel to be a hack who has profited from the fact it is easy to scare young kids?

It's about time someone insulted me. The comments tonight have been overwhelming. You've all made me very happy. Thank you thank you. So sorry I have to leave. Have a scary night, everyone!

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with R.L. Stine conducted on Reddit on 2013-10-23. The Reddit AMA can be found here.