Wimpy is not the word you would use to describe a Jeff Kinney book tour. The latest tour for the author of the bestselling "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" began on Tuesday in Boston, Massachusetts. After a stopover near Plainville, where Kinney lives, he goes to nine US cities, including Washington. It's going to Europe in mid-November – six countries in 21 days.
Considering that "The Meltdown" is number 13 in the series, one could expect Kinney's next book to be "a tired writer's diary". But instead of slowing down, the author changes his work when he meets his many fans. He does some typical conversations and signings, but Kinney also plays a show.
"We thought it would be really fun to change the idea of what a signing is," Kinney said in a recent phone conversation.
The one-hour "Meltdown Show" will feature costumes, cartoons and a chance to stomp the author on "Wimpy Kid" trivia. The idea is that children participate, not just watch.
"It's all powered by a wheel, a spinning wheel that chooses what our next activity will be," Kinney said. Because the show is new territory for the author, "this could go awry," he said, laughing.
The backdrop for the show and the new book is an epic snowball fight. Kinney remembers fighting in the neighborhood when he grew up in Fort Washington, Maryland.
"We would all work to build the Snow Fort, and some bigger kids would come and take over," he said. "I remember stuffing my face in the snow, I remember people putting snow in my hat and shoving it on my head."
In the book, which was released on Tuesday, main character Greg Heffley and his friend Rowley Jefferson are struggling to survive as they are trapped among rival neighbor groups.
"It's a completely different kind of 'Wimpy Kid's book," Kinney said. "It's a war book, Greg's neighborhood is becoming a war zone."
Greg's survival is out of the question, especially if Kinney confirms he has no plans to finish the series.
"I have 20 in my sights [books], After that, who knows, "he said," There are a lot of people that are a lot of fun for that. "
Kinney hopes the fun will include the live show, which ends with hundreds of children participating in a snowball fight. To prevent the fight from becoming too epic Kinney said he had a rule. "The show ends with someone [in the audience] cries. , , or when Jeff cries. "