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R.L. Stine - The Interview Experience This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   It was fifth period - English - when the phone rang in the classroom. Now, when the phone does ring, which is rare, the recipient, for some reason, is never me. So, when I heard my name, I knew that I had either done something really bad, or really great. I went to the English Office, where I was told to call Teen Ink. Crossing my fingers, I dialed the number. Ten minutes later I proceeded to Chemistry - with a huge grin.

Did you ever notice how teenage status sometimes originates from one student's relationship to a"famous" person? One of my friend's father used to be Christina Aguilera's agent, while my only claim to fame lay in the somewhat ancient violinist Paganini (of whom most teenagers have never heard). When I found out I was going to speak personally with the Guinness Book of World Records' recipient of the award for most children's books ever sold, R. L. Stine, I was more than a little ecstatic (not to mention nervous). Such an opportunity, after all, only comes once in a lifetime!

A few weeks later, I spent three hours sorting through interview questions at a café near Mr. Stine's New York City home. We then walked to his apartment, where an elegantly dressed doorman welcomed us. Expecting the elevator to open to another hallway, I was surprised when the door revealed the inside of Mr. Stine's apartment. Nadine, Mr. Stine's brown and white spaniel, greeted Devon, Mr. and Mrs. Meyer, and me with a lolling tongue and a bright smile. (If dogs can smile, this dog definitely was!) I looked up to seen one other than the famous author himself welcoming us. He ushered us into the living room, where we chatted for a few minutes before beginning the interview. The first thing I recall about Mr. Stine was his geniality and humor. He showed us the view from his window commenting, "You see that river over there?Well, if for some reason this building next to me fell down, I would have a great view of it. " He was a very warm and friendly man, and my nervousness dissipated immediately.

Throughout the interview, he answered all our questions with thought and interest, and by no means did he rush to finish. On eof the answers I liked the most was when he said, "All of these writers are always telling you to write from your heart. I never once wrote from my heart. Just write because you like to write. " I believe this is the best advice I've ever heard about writing.

After the interview, Mr. Stine thanked us for not asking him one question: where do you get your ideas? (We had read in his biography that he didn't like that question. ) He gave us a tour of his apartment, which looked small when we first entered, but was huge and beautiful. If someone asked me what it looked like, I would say, "a famous person's apartment. " It is difficult to explain, but all I can say is that it was the way the pool balls lined up in a perfect triangle on a table inside a gorgeous library just looked, well, famous.

Devon and I worked really well together during this interview and became great friends in a short time, finding many similarities. By the end of the day, we were chatting like we had known each other for years. Her friendly personality made interviewing a world-renowned author a lot less nerve-wracking. Mr. Stine was hospitable, friendly, modest and genuinely interested in us and our questions. I would definitely title the experience "one of the best of my life. " After all, it isn't every day that a 16-year-old "Jersey girl" gets to meet a world-famous author.

Sometimes I think that 50 years from now, I will tell my grandchildren, "Did you know you are related to Paganini?" "Paga-who?" they might respond. "Okay, well, did I ever tell you about the time I met R. L. Stine?" I will ask. My grandchildren will probably laugh with recognition. "Oh yeah, R. L. Stine! I just finished one of those Nightmare Room books yesterday. "

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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