The Art of the Fake Interview

While recently attending the Thrillerfest conference I heard a famous author say he began his writing career by writing fake interviews for teen fan magazines. Two emotions overcame me with this revelation. First, was horror that all those magazines I’d read as a pre-teen, you know, the ones with interviews of David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, and The Monkees, were not real interviews! At the time I believed I was getting intimate peeks into the celebrities’ lives. And I believed the photos were taken at the time of the interview. All that has been shattered. The second emotion I felt was curiosity. Are today’s celebrity magazines interview’s real? Could a modern writer make a living writing fake interviews? If so, I want the job. How cool would that be—you take the information you already know—to invent a convincing ‘never told before’ interview. Below is my first ‘exclusive’ fake interview with Goosebumps author, R.L. Stine. Tell me if you think I have potential for a new career.

VMJ: It’s an honor to meet you, Mr. Stine.

RLS: You can call me Bob.

The Art of the Fake Interview

RL Stine

VMJ: Thank you, Bob. I know your books are popular around the world and have been translated into 35 languages. But how many books have you written?

RLS: 330 that includes Goosebumps, Fear Street, and other book series.

VMJ: Wow! And how many copies of your books have been sold?

RLS: Over 400 million.

VMJ: Amazing. That’s just phenomenal.

RLS: (blushes) Thanks.

VMJ: Let’s back up for a minute. Where did you attend college?

RLS: Ohio State. I graduated with a B.A. in English then was a social studies teacher before I moved to New York to become a writer. Actually, I had a magazine background when I arrived in New York.

VMJ: So you moved and became an overnight success in New York?

RLS: It took me 20 years to become an overnight success. I wrote joke books, educational books and a humor magazine for Scholastic.

VMJ: What was your first novel?

RLS: My first novel was a Young Adult book in 1986 called Blind Date. We launched the Fear Street series in 1989. That was about the time my son was a teenager.

VMJ: Hmm… I see an interesting correlation there, Bob.

RLS: Uh-huh. You have teenagers?

VMJ: I do. When did Goosebumps come about?

RLS: 1992

VMJ: How many books do you write a year?

RLS: At this time, maybe seven books a year. I used to write 24 a year, so that’s a relaxing schedule.

VMJ: Holy moly. That’s scary. How was that possible?

RLS: I’m lucky never to have writers block. I create outlines and character sketches before I begin each book.

VMJ: Aha—the secret to your success revealed! Are you only writing Goosebumps books now?

RLS: Six Goosebumps and other projects.

VMJ: And you also write adult thrillers?

RLS: Three so far: Superstitious, The Sitter, and Eye Candy. The Sitter is currently being developed for a feature film and in July of 2012; I’ll have a new adult horror novel published.

VMJ: I’m still awed by the number of books you write year after year.

RLS: It’s discipline. Also, I love it.

VMJ: And that discipline is no doubt responsible for the impressive awards you’ve accumulated.  Let’s see, you’ve won the Nickelodeon Children’s Choice Award, the American Library Association Award, and the International Thriller Writers’ Thrillermaster Award.

RLS: Not bad for a kid who used to type out jokes on a typewriter and hand them out to classmates in elementary school, wouldn’t you say?

VMJ: Not bad at all, Bob. But can you set the record straight? I heard a rumor that you started out your writing career in New York by writing fake interviews for fan magazines. Is that true?

RLS: Uh, I hear my wife, Jane, calling me from the kitchen. You’ll have to leave now. Bye!



  1. I think these type of interviews take a bit of practice. Otherwise, the answers don’t sound unique, but a parroting of the interviewers’ thoughts.

    Fun post!

  2. The Art of the Fake Interview | Victoria M. Johnson – just great!

  3. Thank you M.E. and World Clock for stopping by!

  4. Super! I’ll share that amazing story with my youth writing class!

  5. Hi Lita–

    Pleased to hear you liked my fake interview–or was it real??


  6. I wonder if these magazines had to let the celebrities know they were publishing fake interviews. Or let their publicist know. I suppose as long as they spelled the name right, it was all gravy.

  7. Hi Paula–
    I’m thinking celebrities loved the free publicity. So I think you’re right, as long as they spelled the name right 🙂

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