|R.L. Stine has sold more than 400 million copies of his leading books in the US and has had most of them translated into more than thirty-two foreign languages. Hi work has also translated from books to film and television as well as a theme park in Florida.
R.L. stands for Robert Lawrence-but most folks call him Bob.
He talked to the audience about how he never intended to write horror. He wanted to be a funny man and write humor. Then he talked a little about how he and his fellow horror writers share bad reviews with each other to 'feel better about themselves.'
He continued the presentation by sharing letters and experiences during his career to help give us [the audience] a better idea of being open to everything—and keeping it real. He shared some quotes from kids' letters:
“Kids are tough!” Stine said.
Bob has been asked what’s it like to have such success? His response:
"It never is how you think it is," he said. "Nothing ever turns out how you think it will."
He continued to explain one of his worst story memories:
"I had my own attraction at Disney/MGM for a year. I had my own land! It was Goosebumps Day at the park with a parade and the Goosebumps characters, etc." he said. "There was a big white cadillac convertible and we were to sit in the back for the parade. My son got in, Mickey got in the middle and I sat the other side in the back. Everyone lined up to watch and wave and EVERYONE shouted hi to Mickey!!!! It’s always a mistake to go on a parade with Mickey Mouse!"
But Bob explained that not all surprises are like that.
"In San Antonio airport I was being searched: shoes off, belt open and the security guy was ‘wanding’ me.
"Can I ask you a question?" the security guy asked.
"Yeah, sure." I said.
"Where do you get your ideas?!"
That was the highlight of my trip. Then he started giving me ideas!"
Bob continued to recount stories ...
"Once, I went to China. Goosebumps suddenly caught on in Mandarin- all these kids went crazy," he said. "I was doing a book signing in Shanghai. The bookstore was as big as a Walmart. All these kids wanted to practice their English, so they’d come up and say 'How do you do, where do you get your ideas?!' All of them! [asked the same thing].
Another time, he did a graduation speech and offered advice to graduates:
"You just have to be open to anything if you are a writer," he said. "You just don’t know how things are going to turn out."
"I never planned to be a scary guy, I always just wanted to be funny," Bob added. "I started when I was nine years old. I dragged this old typewriter in to my room and just stated writing little jokes—300 books with my one finger, left handed!"
"I grew up in Columbus Ohio and moved to New York to become a writer—to be a funny writer for adults, novels. I wanted my own humor magazine," he said. "My first job in New York was making up interviews with the stars [celebrities] for a bunch of movie fan magazines."
Bob had to write four or five made-up interviews a day, so he learned fast and was very creative. He admitted it was a great way for him to use his imagination.
Then, he worked for a newly-launched soft drinks magazine, writing about bottle caps and such things. He said he did it—he had a job as a writer, earning money. After that, he landed at Scholsatic writing history articles and current events for junior magazines.
Bob worked on a magazine called Bananas for ten years. At thirty years old he finally had his humor magazine. When Bob left Scholastic, he had already achieved what he wanted, so he figured he’d coast for a bit.
A friend suggested that he write a scary teen novel called Blind Date. So he ran out and bought other books, read them all and then wrote. The book became an immediate #1 bestseller on the Publishers Weekly list.
"I just stumbled upon something that people want to read," he said. "When I ask kids why do you like to read these books their response was "We like to be scared!""
"So I was writing teens of terror-I was killing off teens every month, then came Goosebumps," Bob added. "It sat for six months, then it took off.'
"It happened through word of mouth back then—just kids telling kids. It was an amazing, lucky thing that happened to me."
Goosebumps is now published 32 languages.
"I ended up with a career I never dreamed of," he said. "My advice: just say yes! Just say yes to everything because you’ll never know where you'll land. Sometimes it’s bad, but sometimes you end up somewhere really nice."
When Bob was nine/ten years old he discovered the stories of Ray Bradbury. As a grown up, he saw Ray at a boothe at an LA convention.
"I was a little reluctant [to approach him] but I had to," he said. "So I went up to him and said: Mr. Bradbury you are my hero and his response was: "Well, you’re a hero to a lot of other people.""
Bob closed his presenatation to the audience:
"I hope you all have moments like that. Thank you."
Visit R. L. Stine's Website, click here.