Kids Jeff Kin­ney on his lat­est Wimpy Kid book

RTÉ Guide - - Contents - with Stephen Meyler

Au­thor Je Kin­ney’s 13th book in the Wimpy Kid se­ries, a win­ter ad­ven­ture called e Melt­down, was re­cently pub­lished si­mul­ta­ne­ously in 25 coun­tries around the world. In e Melt down, Wimpy Kid Greg He ey’s school is shut down by snow, but rather than do what he’d dearly love to do and stay warm in­doors, Greg is forced out­side to play, where the neigh­bour­hood’s ri­val gangs of kids are about to en­gage in not just a snow ght, but a snow war! Je tells us about his lat­est half-comic strip, half kids’ novel.

What is The Melt­down about?

This is my “war” book. It’s about the con ict that arises in a neigh­bour­hood when things be­come stress­ful due to snow. It’s a mix of the Lord of the Flies, Game of Thrones and The Hob­bit.

With each book in the se­ries, is it be­com­ing more di cult to nd new ad­ven­tures for Greg He ey? It gets harder and harder, be­cause you don’t want to catch your­self pad­dling in the same wa­ters. But it’s a chal­lenge I en­joy and em­brace.

You’ve said in the past that 320 is ex­actly the best num­ber of il­lus­tra­tions per book – have you stuck to this rule in The Melt­down?

Yes! Although there’s one big two-page spread in this book, so I sup­pose that counts for four or ve draw­ings. Do you think it’s likely Greg He ey might ever grow up? No. He’s a car­toon char­ac­ter, and the best car­toon char­ac­ters never change.

You grew up in Wash­ing­ton DC – were there many snow days like the ones in The Melt­down? There were! And our neigh­bour­hood be­came a win­try bat­tle eld, just like Greg’s.

Time mag­a­zine named you one of the most in uen­tial peo­ple in the world, for how much the Wimpy Kid books en­cour­age kids to read – how does that make you feel?

It feels hum­bling and ex­cit­ing. It’s a priv­i­lege to be able to write for so many kids, all over the world.

The Wimpy Kid uni­verse is now so big and so global, but are you still as ex­cited about the pub­li­ca­tion of each new one? I re­ally am. To­day, I spent the day on one of the high­est peaks in Ger­many, hav­ing a snow­ball ght with kids. The op­por­tu­ni­ties that come about from a new pub­li­ca­tion are won­der­ful.

…and the tours, talks and big au­di­ences that you meet around the world?

Yes. It’s ex­cit­ing to think that I write my stories in Plainville, Mas­sachusetts, but that my stories reach so many kids.

How has the year been at your book­shop in Plainville?

It’s been an in­cred­i­ble year. Each week we have two or three world-fa­mous au­thors in the store. It’s ac­tu­ally over­whelm­ing at times! This year we had David Wal­liams, Dav Pilkey, Vic­to­ria Jamieson, Kate DiCamillo, and many oth­ers.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Melt­down is pub­lished by Puf­fin, priced €12.99

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