Kid Lit Frenzy is excited to welcome author, Chris Rylander to the blog. Four years ago when THE FOURTH STALL came out, Chris chatted with us about his first novel and writing and more. You can check out the interview here. I love Chris's books and recommend them often so I am glad to be able to share a little bit about his newest book COUNTDOWN ZERO.
The Codename Conspiracy is your 2nd series. How did writing (if at all) THE FOURTH STALL series prepare you for writing this series?
This is a great question, but I'm not sure that I can provide an equally great answer. The truth is, I never feel remotely prepared to write anything. Each new book/series feels like I'm playing a brand new sport for the very first time. It's scary, tiring, confusing, fun, and exciting all at once.
Carson is the king of pranks. Is writing pranks as fun as it seems it would be? Any pranks that you played as a child (or teen or adult) that would be worthy of Carson?
Haha, it's actually a lot less fun writing pranks than actually executing them probably would be. Brainstorming pranks that are all at once somewhat original, funny, not too mean-spirited, but still pretty mischievous, is certainly not easy. At least, it wasn't for me. But then again, I am probably the last person who would ever pull a high stakes crazy prank like Carson. (Which, I think likely answers the second part of the question.)
Is there a favorite quote or scene in COUNTDOWN ZERO that you can share?
I think my favorite scene is what happens once Carson is inside the secret. The discussion he has with the other characters, the Spanish speaking gun, all of those things and more, I really like all combined together within a 50 page span. (That answer was intentionally vague to hopefully not give away too much.)
Where do you like to write? Do you have any special writing routines? And can we get the view from where you work?
It seems to change a lot. But right now, my writing spot is sitting at my dining room table. Which sort of annoys my wife - you know, the whole turning our dining room into my messy, disorganized office strewn about with books and papers constantly. I have no real routines, except that coffee or tea is usually involved. Lots of it. Here's one version of what I sometimes see from where I sit...
What is the funniest letter/email/question that you have received from a kid? Or any favorite emails/letters?
I once received a well-written three page rant on how all of the cheap shots that Mac and Vince take at the Yankees during the Fourth Stall series are completely unfair and incorrect. It was really funny, intelligent, passionate, and convincing... I mean, deep down we all know that kid's argument is ultimately wrong, but he did a nice job stating his case just the same. I also hide a ton of references to my favorite bands and movies and books in my own books and I love getting emails from people pointing out that they noticed. (It doesn't happen very often... it's usually really obscure stuff - which is why it's so fun when someone notices.)
Do you have a favorite Indie Bookstore (or two) and if so, which one(s) and where?
My absolute favorite was this placed called BBGB in Richmond, VA. The women who own it are incredible and the store could not have had a better, hand-picked selection of books. I loved it, and if you're ever in Virginia it's worth stopping in. Also, and this is certainly no secret, but Powell's in downtown Portland is always a fun visit.
COUNTDOWN ZERO by Chris Rylander:
There are people in this world who live secret lives. There are people who fight the evil that lurks in the shadows so that the rest of us can live free from tyranny and fear. There are people—perhaps the person who is sitting across from you on the bus or waiting tables at your favorite restaurant—who put it all on the line for us, every day, whose names we’ll never know.
None of these people is Carson Fender.
At least, not since he was let go by the secret agency that enlisted his services to help foil a nefarious plot perpetrated by one of their former agents. Carson is back to hanging out with his friends, pulling pranks, and not having to lie to everyone about how he’s spending his days. And that’s for the best. Isn’t it?
Of course, this was all before a note showed up in his school lunch, informing him that Agent Nineteen has three days left to live, and that there might still be someone inside the Agency working against them. Carson has always been able to rely on his friends—but what happens when there’s no one left to trust?
Chris Rylander is the author of the Fourth Stall Saga and the Codename Conspiracy series. A fan of brown shipping boxes turned on their sides, dance-offs to win a girl's heart, and rice, he lives in Chicago. You can visit him online at www.chrisrylander.com.
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