By Caroline LeavittCharlotte Triggs and LISA KAY GREISSINGER
Updated February 17, 2014 12:00 PM



You were a writer for The Office as well as one of its stars. How is writing a book of short stories different?

On the show everything had to fit into the drab Dunder Mifflin environment. [Costar] Mindy Kaling used to make fun of my stage directions. I’d get lost in metaphors, comparing Dwight to a butterfly. So for the book, I wanted to let my imagination run free.

Were you nervous about the reception?

At first. I thought it sounded like what a crazy person does when his TV show [ends]. Plus, I know how seductive it is to be pretentious. That was my biggest fear.

One of your first gigs was on Punk’d. Did you ever think you’d end up here?

To me the amazing thing is that I got to play pranks with Ashton Kutcher. Did I ever think I’d write a funny book? Yeah, I did.