Goosebumps Author R.L. Stine's Childhood Fear Confession May Surprise You

In an exclusive interview with E! News, best-selling author R.L. Stine celebrates 30 years of Goosebumps and shared why the book series has resonated with so many readers.

By Mike Vulpo, Alex Ross Jul 28, 2022 1:00 PMTags
Watch: Goosebumps Author R. L. Stine Shares Childhood FEAR Confession

When R.L. Stine first started writing, the best-selling author thought he would be bringing the laughs instead of Goosebumps.

After all, the 78-year-old originally left his hometown of Ohio and headed to New York with an intention of writing funny novels for adults.

But 30 years after Scholastic first introduced the monthly children's book series known as Goosebumps, the man behind the beloved series can't believe how his life story ended up.

"It's beyond my wildest dreams," Stine exclusively shared with E! News. "When Goosebumps first came out, no one bought them. They sat on the shelves for months. And today with all the computers and everything, they would've been yanked off. They would have disappeared. But somehow, after three or four months, kids discovered them and took them to school and showed them to other kids."

When first starting out in the publishing industry, Stine couldn't help but remember his childhood filled with comic books. "There were these great horror comics when I was a kid," he said. "Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror were really nasty, horrible and all had great twist endings and great artwork."

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But before you assume this novelist was a tough, strong kid, Stine admitted that he was scared of "everything."

Dan Nelkin

"I was a very fearful kid," he said. "Seriously, I was very shy, very fearful. I think that's why I stayed in my room all day typing and writing stories. It was safer and I had puppets when I was a kid and I had marionettes. I always thought they were interesting."

Stine also recalled watching a 1947 movie called Dead of Night, where a ventriloquist has a dummy that comes to life and ruins his act. To this day, Stine wonders if that's where his signature character Slappy really comes from. 

"He's my favorite character and my least favorite character," Stine joked. "I don't really get it about Slappy. I don't know why people think he's scary. He doesn't scare me at all. I don't really understand it. But he's the most popular character I've ever created."

Scholastic Inc

Just in time for the Halloween season, kids of all ages will be able to read a special edition Goosebumps book titled Slappy, Beware! when it goes on sale Sept. 20. Like all of his books, Stine hopes the words, pictures and stories will get children excited about reading.

"They're so easy to read," Stine said. "There aren't even any vocabulary words. There's nothing tough in them. You can pick up a book and it's just as much fun as anything else. That's really what I try to do."

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