Of course everyone’s favorite young adult thriller writer would share his office with a skeleton, a giant cockroach, and a real-life version of his famously homicidal ventriloquist dummy, Slappy.
This week on the New York Times‘ video tour series The Daily 360, we get a peek inside R.L. Stine’s Upper West Side co-op apartment and writer’s den where the “Stephen King of children’s literature” — a man who says it’s literally his “job to terrify kids” — has been creating our favorite tween thrillers since 1986.
“I try to have a lot of atmosphere in my office, in case kids come to visit,” Stine narrates for the camera. “I tell everyone that I caught [my three-foot-long fake cockroach] under the sink, but no one’s believed me so far.”
The best-selling Scholastic author and gateway drug to fictional gore has published more than 200 books — selling more than 400 million copies of his beloved Goosebumps series alone, which has now been translated into 32 different languages and made into a movie. A game of “what was your first R.L Stine book?” can both keep hipsters gushing an hour or expose their true age. (Mine was The Babysitter — and I promptly quit my mother’s helper job. Do the math.)
Fans from all ages around the world love to tweet at the social-media-savvy writer with musings about their favorite novels of his or things they come across that remind them of his characters. Stine just celebrated his 74th birthday on October 8th, receiving such enthusiastic birthday wishes as: a ramen burger that looked like something from Go Eat Worms; a tween son lying on the floor next to a growing Goosebumps collection almost as tall as he; and a budding artist’s caricatures of Stine and dummy Slappy.
But what frightens Stine? Read more in this NYT interview from September to find out — along with more details about his home, his family’s decorating compromises, and his love for their NYC neighborhood.
“We have one rule: If we move, we can only move three blocks,” Stine told the Times. “We don’t want to change cleaners or change banks, and we don’t want to get too far from Zabar’s.”
(Image credit: Scholastic)
Buzzfeed also has this delightful list of 13 Things You Never Knew About Goosebumps Series from Stine himself — as well as a Definitive Ranking of Every Goosebumps Cover In Order of Creepiness — if you really want to go deep and start getting into the Halloween spirit.