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Low-Key Life for “Wimpy Kid” Creator

"Wimpy Kid" creator Jeff Kinney launches new content on Poptropica.com, where he serves as creative director.

The Wimpy Kid series has become a media blockbuster, spawning five bestselling books, a Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie released in 2010 and a second movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules scheduled to hit theaters on March 25. Yet, through all this success, Wimpy Kid creator Jeff Kinney has maintained a low-key life. He even kept his day job. Though, Kinney isn’t exactly stuck in cubicle-ville, his day job is pretty cool. He currently works as the executive producer and creative director for Poptropica.com, a high-traffic website geared toward pre-teens, where they can learn, play games and explore virtual islands. On March 14, Kinney will introduce Wimpy Kid content to the site with the launch of a new Wimpy Wonderland island. “It’s the other great love of my life,” the author tells AP. “It’s very difficult to walk away from an audience of 10 million kids a month. To know that you can make a positive impact on what they’re learning and what they’re experiencing online is sort of addictive.”

In order to spend more time with his wife and two sons, Kinney mainly works from his home office, focusing on Poptropica during the day and the Wimpy Kid books in the evenings or on weekends. “Our life, in most ways, is very normal,” he reveals.

Despite all his success, he hasn’t let the money and accolades go to his head. “It will always stick with me that I couldn’t break onto the comics pages,” he admits, referring to his unsuccessful attempt to create a syndicated comic strip. “On the flip side, when I go to an authors’ convention, I feel like I’m not quite a real author because I use cartoon drawings to bolster my writing.” Kinney’s ability to keep things in perspective helps maintain normalcy at home. Besides, there is someone else in the house that helps keep the writer’s ego in check. “My 5-year-old makes it clear to me that my books are not his favorites,” Kinney explains, with a laugh.

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