NEW Fear Street stories with a retro look, perfect for fans of Stranger Things
Two sisters, divided by time. Each with a terrible resentment she can barely contain.
Two Fear family weddings, decades apart... Each bride will find that the ancient curse that haunts the Fears LIVES ON. It feeds off the evil that courses through their blood. It takes its toll in unexpected ways, and allows dark history to repeat itself.
In this all-new Fear Street story, family ties bind sisters together--till DEATH do they part.
- ISBN-13: 9780062694256
- ISBN-10: 0062694251
- Publisher: Book Depot
- Publish Date: July 2019
We all scream for Fear Street
Millions of readers delight in R.L. Stine’s delightfully sinister, subversive world, whether they’re teens experiencing his spooky stories for the first time, millennials for whom his books figure prominently in their misty memories of 1990s childhoods or anyone who’s checked out his hilariously weird Twitter feed.
Sure, he’s the acclaimed author of more than 350 books—including the uber-popular Goosebumps series—that feature kids and teens in all kinds of spooky situations. But he’s also a grandfather who started writing picture books (two so far, with Marc Brown, the creator of Arthur) in hopes of making a literary connection with his grandson.
There’s still hope that Dylan, who’s only 4, will read Stine’s books one day, but there’s perhaps not so much hope for Matt, Dylan’s father and Stine’s 30-something son, who has never read a single one of his father’s novels.
“He bragged about it in the New York Times . . . even though he was the right age for Goosebumps and everything,” Stine says during a call to his Manhattan home. “That’s how you get Dad! He knew it would make me crazy.”
Stine doesn’t dwell on it, probably because he got the last laugh: “I wrote a Fear Street book about him called Goodnight Kiss . It’s a vampire novel, and the main character is based on him. . . . In the very last paragraph, he gets bitten on the neck!”
“I think horror’s funny. It’s part of the appeal for me.”
On the flip side, Stine’s wife, Jane, has read every word of every book, thanks to her role as his editor and life partner since 1969. Obviously, the two have a good thing going: Stine published his first teen horror novel, Blind Date, in 1986 and now has over 350 million books in print worldwide that are beloved by readers of all ages. His new book, the highly anticipated Return to Fear Street: You May Now Kill the Bride, kicks off the revival of his Fear Street series, which has lain dormant for 20 years.
For those new to the Fear Street series, here’s a quick rundown: The books are set in the fictional town of Shadyside, and the teens who live there encounter all sorts of paranormal, murderous and generally terrifying goings-on. Fear Street is named after the Fear family, who have experienced years of strange and spine-chilling misery.
The deliciously creepy You May Now Kill the Bride is centered on two Fear family weddings, one in 1923 and one in the present day. In both eras, there are two sisters: One is a happy soon-to-be wife, while the other hides her interest in the dark arts. Mystery, betrayal and twisty family ties combine in a suspenseful tale that explores whether a family’s gruesome past is destined to poison their present.
Stine says You May Now Kill the Bride “may be the best book I’ve written in a long time. For one thing, it’s two time periods, and it all ties beautifully together. At first it’s confusing—you can’t really figure it out. I like this one.”
And with a title that so blatantly subverts the classic wedding-vow line, readers know You May Now Kill the Bride will be as funny as it is thrilling. Devoted Stine readers won’t be surprised that this horror-humor combo is central to his writing. In fact, Stine wrote humor books for kids and created teen humor magazine Bananas in the 1970s and ’80s, before creating Fear Street.
“I think horror’s funny,” Stine says. “It’s part of the appeal for me.” The author clearly delights in eliciting opposing emotions: “You know when you sneak up on someone and say ‘Boo!’—first, they jump, then they’re scared, and then they laugh. Horror and humor are so close together.”
Stine has clearly had a prolific and varied writing career outside of Fear Street. He says that his prolific output is all about planning ahead, rather than waiting for inspiration to strike.
“When I start to write a book, I know everything that’s going to happen. I do all the thinking in the outline, all the twists and all chapter endings,” he says. “For me, it just makes the writing so much easier.
“The writers who go into a school, do an assembly and say to write from the heart, write your passion, write what you know . . . the kids who listen to them will never write a word,” he says. “I’ve written 350 books, and not one has come from my heart, not a single one. It’s true! They’re all written to entertain people, for people to enjoy and have fun. But you don’t have to write from the heart.”
That sort of pragmatism and drive may come easier to some than others, he concedes, although he’s been this way for as long as he can remember. “[Writing] is the only thing I’m good at . . . and it’s the only thing I wanted to do from when I was 9 years old.”
Telling stories may have been Stine’s destiny, but ironically, the Goosebumps series—with more than 60 titles, plus multiple spin-off series and a TV show—was never part of his plan. “I have terrible instincts!” he says. “My wife and her business partner at Parachute Press said no one’s ever done a scary series for 7- to 12-year-olds, and we should try it. I said no way. I didn’t want to mess up Fear Street. Can you imagine? They kept after me, so I said alright, if I can think of a good name for the series, we can try two or three. Here it is, 25 years later!”
In addition to writing hundreds of scary tales, Stine’s been taking his brand of delightfully sinister entertainment on the road for years, speaking to school groups and fans of all ages.
“I’m so lucky I can go out and talk to people,” he says, adding, “In Green Bay, Wisconsin, we had 1,800 kids come, fourth- and fifth-graders. They filled the auditorium, three balconies, all kids. I got them all screaming at once. It was a great, great sound. The teachers hated it! It was really fun.”
This article was originally published in the August 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.
Author photo by Dan Nelken.