WNYT.com

"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" author discusses his career

Posted at: 06/17/2013 7:46 PM
Updated at: 06/17/2013 7:48 PM
By: Mark Mulholland

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Among authors, Jeff Kinney’s a rock star. His Diary of a Wimpy Kid, chronicling the misadventures of Greg Heffley, is among the most popular on the planet.

The eighth book in the series is eagerly awaited in November, plus three movies, and soon an animated TV special.

Time magazine even named Kinney one of the 100 most influential people in the world. “It's not really deserved in my opinion, but it is pretty cool,” says Kinney, who was recently in Saratoga Springs as part of Saratoga Arts Fest.

He signed books and spoke to kids and their parents about how it all began. “I read the comics. My dad would put them out every morning.”

Kinney says he wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist. He even showed one of his rejection letters. Despite the eventual achievements - now published in 44 languages, and hundreds of millions of readers, he still thinks of himself as a gag writer.

“I always feel like a failed newspaper cartoonist first and an accidental writer second, so I don't feel like a legitimate author,” says Kinney.

There's no arguing the success is legit. Still, Kinney remains the unassuming person he was when he was drawing a character named Igdoof for the college newspaper at the University of Maryland.

Despite being one of the most popular authors in the world, Jeff Kinney says writing and illustrating remain a part-time pursuit. His day job is website creator.

Kinney says he'd like to do 10 Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, maybe more. “I'm not doing this for the money. I'm doing it for the love of cartooning and writing. It's what I always wanted to do, so I’m going to keep writing until I don’t feel like I’m writing well," he says.

Hopefully for his millions of young fans that's a long time from now.