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Now that's scary. At least both sides agree about the multiple millions of dollars. Those are heady numbers to Stine, the son of a blue-collar worker who grew up in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, where, he remembers, "everyone else was pretty rich." Stine picked up the writing urge at age 9 and kept at it through Ohio State University, where he majored in English and edited the campus humor magazine. After graduation, he set off for Manhattan and took a succession of writing jobs, including one for a magazine that invented its celebrity interviews. He eventually landed at, yes, Scholastic, where he edited the humor magazine Bananas. He gradually moved from humor to horror, and his apotheosis as a children's author began to build.
Stine and his wife live in a stylish, spacious co-op apartment on Manhattan's West Side (their son Matty, 20, is a junior at the University of Wisconsin). The author sits down every day at his computer and calls it quits only after turning out 15 or 20 pages. "I am a machine," he says, and he's not complaining. In fact, despite his legal battles and his eclipse at the hands of Harry Potter, he still feels he's doing fine: "I'm so lucky. This is what I wanted to do from when I was nine. Who's luckier than I am?"
--Reported by Andrea Sachs/New York