For 20 years children have been shivering deliciously while reading R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books. Now, adults can shiver when reading his new novel, Red Rain.
If they love it, they can go see Stine on Nov. 17 at the Miami Book Fair International.
How does an author, with more than 350 million books sold, change genres?
“For me, I think it was exactly the opposite to what I normally do,” he said. “I compare it to a runner who runs sprints who decides to run a marathon.”
His goals for the book were different as well.
“When I write a scary Goosebumps book, I have to make sure the readers know nothing is real,” he said “They have to know it’s a fantasy. When you write for adults, every detail is real. It’s really the opposite of writing for kids.”
In Red Rain., there is death galore and the gruesomeness level is high.
“They do really gruesome horrible things,” he said. “I thought people would think it funny if I wrote about horrible kids. I write about so many good kids. That’s where the idea started.”
His next idea was to use twins in Red Rain. because throughout history, people have been scared of twins.
“People thought twins controlled the weather,”
Stine said. Stine said he set a number of challenges for himself in writing Red Rain.. One goal was to do the best job possible in describing the setting, an island off the Outer Banks, getting the vegetation and information right without actually visiting the island. Another challenge was point of view.
“Every Goosebumps book is told by one narrator. I thought I needed a challenge. Why don’t I have five to six different points of view and see if I can pull it off.”
While he met both challenges he said doing the multiple points of view well was difficult.
The one area that wasn’t hard was the writing.
“I just love writing. Someone once said most authors like having written. I like the writing part,” Stine said. “For me the challenge that keeps me going for Goosebumps is ‘what haven’t I done.’”
He laughed and said he wouldn’t know what to do all day if he didn’t write.
“It’s just me and the dog (all day),” he said.
A good mystery always has surprises and Stine said Red Rain. features a big one near the end. Since he outlines, he normally knows those details before he writes. But it took 100 pages into Red Rain. to figure it out.
Writing six Goosebumps books a year requires elaborate outlines of each book. He believes outlines make writing easier.
“I don’t have to think as hard when I’m writing.”
And just because he is a big name in the children’s book world, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to revise.
“I have many editors,” he said. “I do a lot of revising and a lot of changing. I have to have the outline approved by my editors. Sometimes I do two or three versions of the outlines before I start writing the book. Sometimes I think, I’ve done so many outlines, did I write that book?” Stine writes 10 pages a day so it takes him two weeks to write a Goosebumps book. He’s working on a new series, Goosebumps Most Wanted. He also has a TV series, R.L. Stine’s Haunting Hour, which runs on The Hub network.