R.L. Stine speaks at Norton Auditorium

Author R.L. Stine speaks to fans young and old April 29 at Norton Auditorium. Stine’s speaking and a book signing that followed helped close out Florence’s first Reader Riot book festival.

R. L. Stine gave an audience of children, parents and members of the UNA community ‘goosebumps’ April 29 in Norton Auditorium.

The bestselling author of the “Goosebumps” series was the headlining speaker for the Reader Riot Book Festival, a two-day literary event in Florence.

Carmen Burkhalter, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, introduced Stine, mentioning his title as the best-selling children’s author of the 20th century.

Stine opened his talk with “Haunted,” a poem by Shel Silverstein, and closed with “Blood-Curdling Story” of the same author. He said he chose these works because of their combination of humor and horror, which he tries to include in his own work.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of Goosebumps, Stine has begun a new series based on the popular character Slappy the living ventriloquist’s dummy, titled “Goosebumps SlappyWorld.” The second book in the series, debuting next June, is “Attack of the Jack,” and Stine read a chapter during the talk.

Stine also mentioned the 2015 “Goosebumps” film and asked how many people thought they were going to meet Jack Black that evening (Black played him in the film).

He said he was not sure who should play him in the film. His son suggested Morgan Freeman, and although many suggested he play himself, his wife told him he was too old.

Stine said he hopes there is another film, but since the first one used all of his monsters, he does not know if they can make a second one.

He also played a game where he named “Goosebumps” book titles, and the audience guessed if they were real or false.

Stine read some of his fan mail, which included messages like “you’re my second favorite author” and “I’ve read 40 of your books, and I think they’re all really boring.”

He also told a ghost story, which he hinted may or may not be true.

Stine talked about how he wrote funny stories and jokes beginning at age nine with a typewriter he found. He said when his mother would tell him to go outside and play, he would tell her that he thought it was boring and would write instead, which he still does today.

Growing up, Stine said he found his inspiration from horror comics he read at the barber shop.

A book signing followed his talk.