Friday, February 8, 2013

All About Middle Grade Author Interviews: Chris Rylander + Giveaway

I cannot believe that I get to share with y'all my interview with Chris Rylander, author of The Fourth Stall series. *jumps around* If you haven't read this awesome series but are curious about it, I have reviewed the entire series on the blog.

About the Author:
Some Stuff About Me:
I was born and raised in North Dakata. I love sports, movies, music and books of all kinds. I am married to a cool girl named Amanda. We have one dog and one cat. (from author's website)

1. Chris, Fourth Stall has been on of my favorite MG discoveries of the year. What made you want to write about a book about two boys running an illegal business from a bathroom stall at their school?

Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it.  My inspiration came from two places: 1)  I wanted to do a middle grade version of a well established adult genre.  After some thought, I stumbled upon the idea of mobster movies, like The Godfather and Goodfellas.  As far as I knew that had never been done before, and I thought the world of organized crime really could work in a school setting.  2) The rest of the story and plot simply came from me asking myself: What is the one book I would have loved to read as a 12 year old but never got to?

2. Mac and Vince have been two of my favorite characters to read about this year, as well, as their friendship. How important was it for you as writer to make their friendship so believable to readers? One thing you learned about both characters through the course of writing the Fourth Stall series?

It's always important to me to make every character and interaction as believable as possible.   But developing their friendship definitely took a few drafts and and a lot more work than I had anticipated.  I really relied a lot on my interactions with my brother growing up, since we were basically best friends in addition to being siblings.  I wish I could say I learned something about the characters, but for me creating characters is a transparent process.  I'm fully aware and cognizant of every detail I put into them, so for me, there are no surprises since every aspect about them was something I and/or my editor and agent decided upon.

3. I admit, the things that Vince would quote from his grandmother cracked me up. Did all those quirky sayings come straight from your brain, or did they have a little real life inspiration? Which three did you like the most?

Thanks!  They cracked me up, too, so it's always great to hear that I'm not the only one!  They came from somewhere in my brain.  I have no idea where most of them came from.  I just love random in general, so this was my way to get  non-sequitur jokes into the book.  My favorite grandma quotes are the ones in Part III.  I can't pick out just three, but compared to the first two books, these new ones are definitely my favorites.

4. Since the Fourth Stall series follows Mac and Vince, could you tell us three middle grade titles with male protagonist that you'd recommend? Why these three?

1) The Detention Club - Because David Yoo is one of the funniest writers around.

2) Sideways Stories from Wayside School - An all-time favorite of mine, just random and quirky and weird and hilarious.

3) Freak the Mighty - Because it was a favorite of mine when I was in middle school, and I loved the characters.  I've always liked "odd-couple" type stories.

5. So, Chris, are you as die-hard of a fan of the Cubs as your characters?

Unfortunately, yes.

6.  I am seriously going to miss this series and the characters after the final book. How does it feel to be saying goodbye to your series?

You know, I don't think it has quite set in yet.  I had increasingly more fun writing each book, so in that way it's definitely sad.  I'd still love to write more, or maybe even a spin-off series with some new characters introduced in Part III, so hopefully someday I get the chance to do that.

7. Mac is out of the Business and it's up to you to keep it going. How would you  make this new venture a success? Anything you would change about operations now that you are the boss?

I wouldn't stand a chance.  Mas is the ultimate businessman, and I'm... well, me.  The business would go under in less than a week without a doubt.   For starters, the first change I'd make is to be paid in candy.  And that would be the beginning of the end.

8.  The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose?

Luke Skywalker, definitely.  I just want Jedi to be real so badly.

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

My writing cave is simply either my couch or dining room table, actually.  Or sometimes I head down the street to my favorite coffee shop, Cafe Mustache, when I find that my TV and animals are becoming too distracting.  I can write in a lot of different environments, which is nice.  The whole last half of The Fourth Stall Part III's first draft was written on an 18 hour Amtrak ride from North Dakota to Chicago during the middle of the night.   One time, I even wrote a few chapters while simultaneously slaying this dragon that had been terrorizing our neighborhood.

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?

My newest series, which is tentatively titled Codename Zero, is about a kid who becomes a secret agent by accident.   It hopefully will come out sometime early in 2014.

Cannot wait to read more of your work, Chris. Thank you so much for stopping by!!!!!!

Fourth Stall III by Chris Rylander, February 5, 2013. Published by Walden Pond Press.

The saga of Mac, Vince, and middle school organized crime comes to a thrilling conclusion in THE FOURTH STALL PART III. Their business is finished, and Mac’s and Vince’s lives have become something they have never been before: simple. None of the fortune or the glory and none of the risk or threat of juvenile prison. There’s even a new business that has stepped in to take their place (and take the heat off Mac and Vince for once). Things couldn’t be better.
But that was before things at their middle school started to go haywire. Before they found out that there’s a new crime boss at school in the town over trying to consolidate power. And before their old nemesis, Staples, came back to town begging for help after his stint in the clink. Just when Mac and Vince thought they were out, the business pulls them back in. But this time, will they be able to escape with their lives and permanent records intact?

You can check out my reviews for the whole series:
Fourth Stall
Fourth Stall Part II
Fourth Stall Part III

Thanks to the awesome people at Walden Pond Press, one lucky winner is going to win a hardback copy of Fourth Stall Part III and a signed bookplate.

Open to US/CA
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'm out of the loop with MG books since my nieces/nephews are older now. These sound terrific.

    1. I cannot recommend this entire series enough!!! It is definitely a fun read for MG readers and for those hat are not in the age range.

      *encourages you to read it*

  2. I always love to discovering new MG series for my nieces and nephews. I'm going to enjoy your MG challenge!

    Great interview!

    1. Thank you, Karen.

      Hopefully, throughout the year I'll be able to share many more great titles with you and everybody that stops by my blog. =)


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