My favorite book series is “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” so I reached out to Jeff Kinney, the author, and he agreed to let me interview him! The series is about a character named Greg Heffley, a boy trying to survive the adventures of middle school and being one of three annoying brothers.

“Greg is a lot like me as a kid. My brothers were also challenging. Greg has many flaws and imperfections; he isn’t done developing and just figuring himself out. That’s what makes the books a great mix of messy and funny. Greg isn’t a hero, but he’s relatable,” says Jeff.

That’s why kids like me love reading these books. They’re hilarious, but I can also understand what Greg is going through.

In fact, Jeff says Greg is loosely based on his childhood. Jeff had trouble focusing in school and had a hard time sitting still. He was an average student who loved English and art as well as anything that let him be creative.

“I tried to start a business early on and wanted to be a gaming programmer. Later, I wanted to be a cartoonist,” explains Jeff.

Jeff ended up doing everything he dreamt of as a kid. He spent time in the gaming industry and became a successful cartoonist.

“My big break was at Comic-Con New York where I met an editor. I first planned the series for adults, but my editor said it would be perfect for kids. I created a new wave of writing with cartoons and text combined; my first book took me eight years to complete.”

Now Jeff has 17 books in his series! And what’s so cool––some of his books have been turned into movies and Jeff is the producer.

“My advice for creative kids is to work hard and know that things take time,” he says.

Jeff now has two boys of his own and loves watching them play basketball. He also used some of his earnings to build a bookstore.

Nicholas Bubeck is a monthly Epic columnist and CEO of Follow him @creationsbynicholas on Instagram.