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An Interview with Jeff Kinney and an EXCLUSIVE Excerpt of Diary of a Wimpy Kid #14

The fourteenth installment of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series – Wrecking Ball – won’t arrive in stores until November 5th. Today I have an exclusive excerpt of the book to share.

But first! I asked author/illustrator Jeff Kinney a few questions about the book:

Travis: Okay, I might be wrong here, but I remember seeing an interview with you a while back, when you were early in the Wimpy Kid series. I feel like you said something like 5 books was your goal and 7 books was your dream. You’ve really gone above and beyond. What does #14 mean to you?

Jeff Kinney: Yes, I think I’ve moved the goalpost many times over the years! I think if someone told me when I was just starting off that I’d have fourteen books in the series, I would’ve laughed out loud. But what’s exciting to me is that there’s still an appetite for these books. I think of my books as being more like hardcover-bound comics than literature. And the best newspaper comics go on and on. I think Charles Schulz published Peanuts for fifty years. I’m going for twenty, at least.

Travis: I can’t help but think of HGTV remodeling shows when I see this book. Do you get into those at all? This is a roundabout way of asking if the Property Brothers influenced Wrecking Ball.

Jeff Kinney: It’s funny, when I decided on a home improvement theme, I thought, “Why would someone read a book about home improvement?” And then the answer came to me: To see things go wrong. I think we enjoy hearing about other people’s misery when it comes to this sort of thing. So I really pile it on.

Travis: Do you do most of the work for Wimpy Kid in your bookstore? If so, what’s that like?

Jeff Kinney: I work everywhere. I have an iPad Pro, and it allows me to go anywhere I can find some peace and quiet. I do most of my joke writing at a cemetery in my town. Nobody bothers me there. Sometimes I write in the office, and I do most of my inking at home, where I have a big screen.

Travis: The big question: what snack puts you in peak creativity mode? Or what snack powered Wrecking Ball?

Jeff Kinney: I have a simple answer to this! Cool Ranch Doritos, and milk. That’s my stress food.

Travis: Thanks for taking my questions, Jeff!

What’s Wrecking Ball about? From the publisher:

In the latest installment, an unexpected inheritance gives Greg Heffley’s family a chance to make big changes to their house. But they soon find that home improvement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Once the walls come down, all sorts of problems start to crop up. Rotten wood, toxic mold, unwelcome critters, and something even more sinister all make Greg and his family wonder if the renovations are worth the trouble. When the dust finally settles, will the Heffleys be able to stay . . . or will they need to get out of town?

And now an exclusive excerpt from the book. Click the images to enlarge.

Thank you Abrams and Jenny Choy for making this post happen.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.