Books And More

Doubling Down

TFK talks with Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney about the 11th book in his popular series

November 02, 2016
JONATHAN BECKERMAN; NATAKI HEWLING FOR TIME FOR KIDS

The new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book from Jeff Kinney has some spooky themes.

Everyone’s favorite middle-school wimp, Greg Heffley, returns in Double Down, the 11th book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney. Greg has all sorts of funny adventures and mishaps in this illustrated novel. He convinces his dad to buy him a French horn only to find that he has no interest at all in learning to play it. His visit with a new friend goes very wrong, and a Halloween party he attends gets taken over by his mother. Finally, after Greg’s mother gets angry with him for playing too many video games, he decides to try something new. He sets out to make a movie. That, too, turns into a fiasco.

The first Diary of Wimpy Kid book was published in 2007 and the series has steadily soared in popularity. The books have been translated into 40 languages, and more than 150 million copies have been sold.

TFK chatted with Jeff Kinney about Double Down, and what’s next for Greg.

TIME FOR KIDS:

Can you tell us briefly about what happens in Double Down?

JEFF KINNEY:

It is a Halloween-themed book, with a lot of spooky themes. There is a series of scary books that Greg’s classmates are addicted to, and he gets invited to a spooky Halloween party. Greg’s mother goes back to school–she is so excited that she decides everyone in the family is going to better themselves, and she is especially focused on Greg. She wants him to become a creator, instead of just playing games and watching TV all the time. Greg decides he is going to make his mother happy and get famous is by becoming a writer and a director of scary movies.

TFK:

How did you come up with the idea for this book?

KINNEY:

This book took me a long time to crack and figure out. Usually I write 350 jokes and then I look at the jokes to decide what the theme will be. With this book, I didn’t know until the last minute that movie making was going to be such a big part of it.

TFK:

The first Wimpy Kid book came out in 2007, almost 10 years ago. Congratulations! How do you see this series evolving?

KINNEY:

I have been thinking a lot about that. Once I got to book 10, I started really thinking about the future and what I should do with this series. I thought about whether I should end it, or create something new. But this is who I am and what I do. I am committing to it. That’s actually why I called this book Double Down—this is where I am in my career. The title is all about where I am as an author and how I feel about the series.

TFK:

What do you think appeals to kids about this series?

KINNEY:

NATAKI HEWLING FOR TIME FOR KIDS

I have thought a lot about this. Ultimately I decided its because these books are about childhood, and what it means to be a kid. I am trying to look at childhood from a different angle each time, and cover the whole experience of being a kid.

TFK:

You own a bookstore. How is it doing? Does it help with your writing?

KINNEY:

Our bookstore is doing great. Every week we have an author come to the store. This week, we had a visit from Rick Riordan (author of the Percy Jackson series). He is a superstar, and more than 300 people came out to see him. I am always interested in hearing from other authors about how they get ideas and what motivates them.

TFK:

What’s next for you?

KINNEY:

I already have the idea for my next Wimpy Kid book. It will be holiday-themed and it comes out next November. We're working on making a new Wimpy Kid film, which will be out in May of next year. It’s an exciting year!


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