Ann Patchett and Jeff Kinney may write pretty different books, but they have more in common than you might think. The Wimpy Kid series author also owns an indie bookstore! (Shoutout to our pals at An Unlikely Story in Plainville, MA!) These two friends got together to chat about Jeff’s forthcoming book, sibling dynamics, and rock & roll. Enjoy the interview, check out the excerpt from the upcoming Diper Överlöde, and then make plans to join us for our event with Jeff Kinney (plus a special appearance by the legendary Wimpy Kid rock band, Löded Diper!) on October 28 at 6:00pm! Grab your tickets before they sell out!
Ann Patchett: The great thing about you, and I say this as someone who knows you a little bit, is that you love your job. This is the seventeenth book in the Wimpy Kid series and you’re bringing as much enthusiasm and heart to Greg as you did in your first book. How do you keep things fresh?
Jeff Kinney: Thank you, Ann! I really can’t believe I’m releasing my seventeenth book. I think what keeps the series exciting for me is that I’m writing about childhood, and childhood is a big universe. In each book, I cover one aspect of the growing-up experience. I keep hoping I don’t run out of material to write about!
AP: You’re great at reinventing book tour and making what can be a grueling experience look like fun. Will you be tapping into your own rock and roll dreams this time?
JK: I really will! We have a full rock and roll stage setup. We’re bringing a live band of teens who will transform themselves into the members of Löded Diper. I might even sing a song myself.
AP: Are your two sons good models for the brother dynamic?
JK: At times, yes. I can see the seeds of the relationship they’ll have as adults. But they do butt heads with alarming regularity!
AP: I think about how many times Charles Schultz drew Snoopy over the years, and how Snoopy got so much more interesting because of it. Do you feel that way about Greg, that you have a deeper understanding of him?
JK: Quite frankly, I’m a little confused by Greg. He’s a person who’s not fully formed. But at his core, he’s a funhouse mirror version of myself. So when people have a negative reaction to him, I think, am I a bad person? My understanding of Greg, and myself, is a work in progress.
AP: An Unlikely Story is one of my all-time favorite bookstores. It’s a community center and a tourist destination, but it’s also a great place to meet authors and buy books. What do you love about independent bookstores and how has owning one changed your life?
JK: Thank you so much! You’ve been a wonderful champion of my bookstore. And of course I love Parnassus! I love learning from the authors who come to my bookstore. Last night we had an author whose book was about “undefining” masculinity. I learned a lot by reading his book and interviewing him, and I never would’ve encountered his book had we not built a bookstore. And I’ve learned from so many fascinating authors, including yourself!
AP: What are you reading and what are you recommending these days?
JK: I loved Kwame Alexander’s The Door of No Return. I got a lot out of Justin Baldoni’s Boys Will Be Human. And I’m digging in to Maggie Haberman’s Confidence Man now.
Enjoy this excerpt from Diper Överlöde, courtesy of Jeff Kinney and Amulet Books. The book will be released on October 25. We hope you’ll join us for our event with Jeff Kinney on October 28 at 6:00pm at the Blair School of Music!
Published in 2022 by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS. Wimpy Kid text and illustrations copyright © 2022 Wimpy Kid, Inc. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID®, WIMPY KID™, and the Greg Heffley design™ and the design of the book’s cover are trademarks and trade dress of Wimpy Kid, Inc. All rights reserved.