The award-winning author of creepy, odd — and fun — short stories for kids has recently released a third volume in his famed “Weenie” series: “The Curse of the Campfire Weenies.” Living in Nazareth, Penn., Lubar is in the Bay Area signing books at Hicklebees’s bookstore in San Jose today and talking to kids at Woodside Elementary on Wednesday.
Why “Weenies”? A weenie is worth mocking, but sort of likable in a way.
Is there a reason why you write for young people? Well, my mom was a children’s librarian. Also, that’s where I seemed to have stopped maturing. My sense of humor is right in tune with a typical middle school student.
How would you describe your stories? My work has been called “The Twilight Zone” for kids. I think that’s great,. Rod Serling is a hero of mine. Also, Charles Addams. And Stephen King. Some stories are wonderfully silly, like long jokes, and some are mystical and deep.
Have any of your favorite authors influenced you? My story “The Chipper” was inspired by Stephen King’s “The Mangler” about a laundry machine that scared him most. There was something about the way a chipper (not quite like the one in “Fargo”) devoured a chair that disturbed me most.
At the back of your books, you write about where you got the idea for each story. Was that your idea? It was an editorial suggestion. I love it because it’s good for me to have a history of the origin of ideas. And it’s good for kids, too. They can read these and get ideas for their own stories.
What are you scared of? Well, having passed a midcentury, and having survived parenting, nothing scares me.
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