Welcome to the World of R.L. Stine

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About R.L. – For Book and School Reports

R.L. Stine's Real Life Story

  • R.L. Stine says he has a great job: "My job is to give kids the CREEPS!"

    R.L.'s books are read all over the world. So far, he has sold over 350 million books, making him one of the best-selling children's authors in history.

    He was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1943. His mother, Anne Stine, was a homemaker and his father, Lewis Stine, was a shipping clerk. He has a younger brother and sister-- Bill and Pam. No one in his family ever called him R.L. Everyone calls him Bob.

  • When Bob was nine, he found an old typewriter up in the attic. That discovery changed his life. He carried it down to his room and started typing stories and little joke books.

    His mother begged him to go outside and play. But Bob always said it was too boring outside. He stayed in his room typing away-- and he has been writing ever since.

    In school, Bob was not a great student. He got mostly B's, but he never studied very hard.

  • He spent most of his time writing stories and joke magazines. He was terrible in math, and he hated gym class. The only sport he was ever good at was ping pong!

    After graduating from Ohio State University in 1965, Bob headed to New York City to become a writer. He wrote dozens of joke books and humor books for kids. And he created Bananas, a zany humor magazine which he did for ten years. In those days, he wrote under the name Jovial Bob Stine.

  • He married Jane Waldhorn in 1969. Jane became an editor and writer, and they worked together on several children's books. Later, Jane and her partner formed their own publishing company, Parachute Press, and helped create all of R.L.'s most popular book series.

    In 1986, R.L. turned scary!

    He wrote his first teen horror novel, Blind Date, which became an instant best-seller. Many scary novels followed, including Beach House, Hit And Run, The Babysitter, and The Girlfriend.

  • In 1989 he created the Fear Street series, the best-selling young adult book series in history. He has written about 100 Fear Street books about teens facing all kinds of terror.

    Goosebumps began in 1992. The book series quickly became a hit around the world. Translated into 32 different languages, it made R.L. a worldwide publishing celebrity. The Goosebumps TV show was the number-one kids' show in the U.S. for three years in a row. The episodes are still shown at Halloween time. Many of the shows are on DVD.

  • Other R.L. Stine book creations include: Ghosts of Fear Street, Give Yourself Goosebumps, The Nightmare Room (also a TV series), Mostly Ghostly, and Beware!, a collection of all his favorite stories, poems, comics and illustrations. Rotten School was a series of funny books about the rottenest school on earth.

    R.L. has published two creepy short story collections-- The Nightmare Hour and The Haunting Hour. Also, two teen vampire novels-- Dangerous Girls and Dangerous Girls II: The Taste of Night.

  • These days, R.L. is busier than ever. He's working on many books, including the Goosebumps HorrorLand series. You can find out more inside info about new books on this Web site.

    R.L. lives in New York City with his wife Jane and his dog Minnie. His son Matthew is a composer, musician, and sound designer. You can see them all in the PHOTO GALLERY section of this Web site.

    If you need other info about R.L. Stine, check out his autobiography-- It Came From Ohio-- published by Scholastic.

Questions & Answers for Your School Report

Click a question to reveal its answer.
Q Why did you decide to write scary books? Was there a certain movie or show that inspired you?
A I always liked scary movies and books. When I was about eight or nine, I started reading scary horror comic books. They were called VAULT OF HORROR and TALES FROM THE CRYPT. My brother and I went to every scary movie. We didn't get scared-- we always LAUGHED!
Q Where do you get your story ideas? Stuff that happens to you in real life? Your dreams/nightmares? From daydreaming?
A Ideas come from everywhere. But most of my ideas start with a title. I try to dream up a really good book title first. Once I have a title, it leads me to a story. By the way, I've never gotten a story idea from a dream. I have the most boring dreams!
Q How many books have you written in total?
A Believe it or not, I've written over 300 books so far-- and I keep turning them out! Right now, I'm working on my funny ROTTEN SCHOOL series, and I'm writing twelve new GOOSEBUMPS books, entitled GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND. You can find info about them on other pages of this Web site.
Q Do you ever get writer's block and if so, what do you do to get rid of it?
A I never get writer's block. Mainly because I do so much work before I start to write. I do complete chapter-by-chapter outlines of every book. And I make a list of all the characters-- what they look like and their personalities. And I always figure out the ending BEFORE I start the book. That's a big head-start and keeps me from having writers block.
Q Have you ever seen a ghost? Do you believe in ghosts?
A I've never seen a ghost-- but I keep LOOKING!
Q If you could be any character from any of your books, who would you be and why?
A Slappy, the evil dummy from Goosebumps. He gets away with MURDER!
Q How old were you when you knew that you wanted to be a writer?
A I was nine years old. I started typing short stories and joke books-- and I loved it! My mother begged me to go outside and play. She couldn't get me out of my room! I just kept typing away!
Q What are some of your favorite books and authors?
A Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite authors. I always tell people that the scariest book I ever read was one of his books-- Something Wicked This Way Comes. I read a lot. I especially like funny novel and thrillers and mysteries.
Q What kind of stuff do you find scary? Got any phobias?
A I have one phobia-- I can't jump into water. I have to step into a swimming pool; I can't jump or dive in. My nephews think it's a riot that a scary guy like me is afraid to jump into a pool!
Q Do kids come to your house for Halloween? What kind of candy do you usually give out?
A Kids come to my apartment in New York City because I have a skeleton and a cupful of eyeballs and a lot of creepy stuff. I always give out copies of my books along with the candy bars.
Q What's your ideal writing environment?
A I have a room in my apartment where I write. But I can really write anywhere I am-- I'm a machine!
Q If you could be any animal for a week, what would you be and why?
A I'd be a seal in the Central Park Zoo. They get fed tons of fish-- and they get to swim all day!
Q When you're writing your books, do you ever scare yourself?
A I've never scared myself writing, but I hope I've TERRIFIED others!!
Q Which Goosebumps book was the most fun and interesting to write?
A My favorite Goosebumps is one called CUCKOO CLOCK OF DOOM. I think it's a perfect funny/ scary story with a very good surprise ending. It made a good TV show, too!
Q Got any advice for inspiring young writers?
A Yes, write every day. Just a paragraph or two. Keep a journal or a diary. That way you'll always be writing.
Q If you weren't making a living as a writer what would you like to do?
A Beats me. All I've ever done is write!