When you strike it big as a children’s author, your life changes dramatically. The money starts pouring in, and then there are the awards, the fans, the TV deals. For a few years there, I was the hottest thing in the business. It was a dizzying high, and you better believe I took advantage of all the perks the lifestyle had to offer. At my peak, back when I selling millions and millions of books, I could have slept with any monster I wanted—werewolf, mummy, ghoul, you name it.
Let’s just say I got to unwrap my fair share of smokin’ hot mummies in those days.
I don’t mean to brag. It just comes with the territory when you have a series like Goosebumps topping the bestseller lists. Pretty soon the legions of the undead came calling, all of them wanting a piece of R.L. Stine. God, it was as easy as snapping my fingers. I remember one time, on my Say Cheese And Die! tour, I was at a packed bookstore somewhere in the Midwest when this sexy vampire with pitch-black eyes came up to my autograph table and practically sunk her teeth into me right there. Next thing I know, we’re back in my room pounding down glasses of blood and performing strange and unholy sexual rites.
On a book tour, temptation is never far away. Maybe you’re at a big children’s literature conference and you get recognized in the hotel bar. Pretty soon someone sends a drink your way, you look up, and a scantily clad zombie lurches toward you. Her cold, decaying breasts peak through a threadbare blouse that’s nearly falling off, and though you’re tired from the road, you know there’s nothing in this world quite like a zombie going down on you until her jaw falls off.
Honestly, who says no to something like that?
By the mid-’90s, I couldn’t even do an event at a public library without being accosted by an enchanted succubus or two wanting to caress every inch of my body and whisper haunted requiems in my ear. I’m talking about shape-shifting, satanic beings who can change into anything, my friend! I still laugh when I think of how many calls my publicist had to field from angry hotel clerks asking why ancient, impenetrable runes had been scrawled in blood across every surface of my room.
Did I go too far sometimes? Sure. There came a point where I was banging pretty much anything without a pulse. I’d be on the floor in a pentagram made of candles and doing body shots of potions off witches. Then I’d wake up hungover in a tangle of mummy bandages, the room reeking of putrefied flesh. Sometimes, I’d roll over in the morning, find myself lying next to a possessed ventriloquist’s dummy, and have no memory of how he got there. I’d have to kick him out, and he’d stagger back to whatever hellhole he crawled out of.
But overall, my regrets are very few, and if I could do it all again, I’d still eat out that Sasquatch in the bathroom of the Nashville Barnes & Noble.
Eventually, I realized all this excess was taking me away from the thing I love most: writing spooky stories for kids. I didn’t want to wind up like Stephen King, who back then was picking up every telekinetic prom queen and rabid St. Bernard he could find, taking them to a haunted hotel in the mountains, and fucking for days on end. That’s just not who I am. So I put my reckless ways behind me, and I’m happy to say I now spend each night with my lovely wife of 50 years in our beautiful apartment on the Upper West Side.
I barely even see anyone from those crazy old days anymore. The only exceptions are the spawn from that pack of demonic she-wolfs with whom I fathered several litters of cursed, half-human creature-lings. I’m so proud of those kids.