If you’re anything like me, along with SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (the originals with the creepiest art of all time, not the watered down crap they pass off for the books these days), your childhood bookshelf was filled to the brim with R.L. Stine’s GOOSEBUMPS books.
Now Stine is bringing his tales of terror to the world of adults with his new novel RED RAIN.
A devastating hurricane destroys almost all of a tiny Outer Banks island. Lea Sutter, a young travel blogger, steps out into the devastation the next day, wanders toward the ocean—and finds herself in a powerful rainstorm. To her shock, the raindrops are red. She thinks: This is the blood of all the victims raining down on the island. Stepping out of the curtains of rain come two beautiful blond twelve-year-old twin boys. They say they are now homeless and parentless. Lea falls under their spell and brings them home with her to her family in Long Island. The reader knows that these boys are supernaturally evil, but Lea and her husband Mark are clueless—until the hideous murders begin.
He’s terrified millions of children with his books, from “Welcome to the Dead House” to “Planet of the Lawn Gnomes.” But R.L. Stine isn’t ready to let his audience grow up in peace.
With the 20th anniversary of his popular GOOSEBUMPS series comes Stine’s adult horror novel RED RAIN. The book follows travel writer Lea Sutter into the middle of a devastating hurricane and out again with a pair of evil twins who will wreak their own kind of devastation on her family.
RED RAIN isn’t even the first adult book Stine has written. In 2000, he released a novel called SUPERSTITIOUS about a professor named Liam O’Connor who is the most superstitious man in the world, for good reason. Stine’s publishers expected a best-seller, but book sales were mediocre for an author with such a big reputation.
“It was too early to do an adult novel. No one asked about it. … I’ve been waiting by the phone for 12 years,” Stine joked.
This time, his fans are ready. They’ve been hounding Stine on Twitter — he has almost 60,000 followers — asking him to write a book for them.
“That’s how I keep in touch,” Stine said. “There are no kids on Twitter. It’s all people (in their 20s, 30s) who read ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Fear Street’ in the ’90s. They were my huge audience.”
Stine has written more than 300 books that have sold a combined 350 million copies around the world. (At one point, he was churning out 12 “Goosebumps” books a year; now he’s down to six.)
At the recent National Book Festival in Washington, the author’s autograph line seemed endless.
“It was amazing. It was 7-year-olds, 10-year-olds, 20-year-olds, 30-year-olds. Half of them were like, ‘I loved your books when I was a kid,’ ” Stine said. “It’s great for my ego.”
Stacy Creamer, editor for “Red Rain” as well as the vice president and publisher for Touchstone, knows Stine’s work well. Her 10-year-old son devours his books “like crack.”
“To see that kind of enthusiasm in my own son, it was easy to see if, you know, someone checked in with him 10, 15 years from now. … I think he’d be pretty intrigued.”
Stine sent Creamer an outline for “Red Rain.” The plot he wanted to tackle seemed so complicated, Creamer was a little nervous. But after receiving the finished novel, she said, she would have published the book even from an unknown author. Of course, having Stine’s name attached added a bit of glamour.
“I knew he had the chops to do it, because I think writers are writers,” Creamer said. “But man, he just slammed it.”
Stine won’t have to wait long to see whether “Red Rain” is a success; the book was released Tuesday. If it is, he just might continue to give his grown-up fans goosebumps.
“I’ll wait by the phone, see if it’s another 12 years,” Stine laughed. “I’d love to do another one.”