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Saturday, March 22, 2014

(MMGM) Chris Rylander, author of Codename Zero {Interview & Giveaway}

I'm thrilled to have Chris Rylander stopping by the March MG Madness today for a fun chat! Be sure to enter the giveaway...

Codename Zero
(The Codename Conspiracy #1)
by Chris Rylander
Walden Pond Press

Seventh-grader Carson Fender finds out there's more to his sleepy North Dakota hometown than meets the eye in this hilarious mash-up of middle-school story and spy adventure novel from the author of The Fourth Stall.

There are places in the world where heroes are born. There are places where brave men and women fight a never-ending battle against evil in order to keep our country and all other countries safe. There are places where the fate of our planet is being decided, even now as we speak, the consequences of which will echo through history.

None of these places are in North Dakota.

Carson Fender, seventh grader and notorious prankster, knows this. He's lived in North Dakota for his entire life, going to the same boring school every day, the same boring movie theater every week, and the same boring state fair every year. Nothing ever changes, and nothing ever happens. That is, until today. Because today a desperate man is going to hand him a package with a dire set of instructions. And that package is going to lead Carson to discover that there's a secret government agency operating in his small, quiet North Dakota hometown.

And that this agency needs his help.

What three words best describe Codename Zero?
Gadgets.  Conspiracies.  Goats.
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give Codename Zero a try?
Codename Zero is about a master prankster who gets roped into the high-tech, dangerous world of secret agents and spies operating right in his own boring hometown.
Grab a copy of Codename Zero and answer the following:
favorite chapter?  4
favorite page?  111
flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser? 
 “The next day started off normal enough.  By that I mean I made it to school without anyone chasing me or ninja kicking my face or randomly handing me highly sensitive and mysterious information.”
What inspired Codename Zero?  How did the story come to be?
It was inspired by an old TV show called the Scarecrow and Mrs. King.  I’ve never seen it myself, but thought the concept could work for a middle school kid really well: a kid becomes a real secret agent by accident, but yet can’t tell anyone, not even his best friends.  I thought it could be especially fun when you throw in stuff like fainting goats, Jimmy Buffet, and talking, self-destructing packages.
There are some memorable characters in Codename Zero, do you have a favorite? What do you love about him/her? Did any of your characters end up surprising even you with the way they turned out?
My favorites are probably Olek and Dillon.  I always tend to love the comic relief characters.  I always find them very fun when reading books, and likewise, any character that allows me to unleash my bizarre sense of humor will always be a favorite.  Although, to be fair, Dillon takes his many conspiracy theories very seriously.   My characters rarely surprise me; even as wacky as they are, most of their actions are pretty calculated.
If you could switch lives with any fictional character, who would you choose and what would you do as them?
I’d be tempted to say Superman, but then you’ve got this burden of needing to save the world and fight crime always hanging over you, etc. etc.  I think I’m too selfish for that.  That said, it’d be hard to pass up all of his cool powers.  So, yeah, I’ll say Superman.  Except that I’d probably spend most of my time sitting on the couch eating junk food and talking to my dog.  So, in other words, I’d completely ruin the icon of Superman.
As a middle-grade author, why do you think middle-grade is so important? What do you love about writing and reading middle-grade?
Because middle grade is oftentimes where kids start to figure out how much fun reading novels can be. If they read the right stuff.  I think middle grade is crucial in turning people into lifelong readers.  It’s just a matter of making sure that every middle grader is given the right kind of books for them.  I love writing middle grade because I’m basically a 30 year old manchild.  I feel like I can kind of be myself when I’m writing middle grade, which is sort of scary and sad, really.
What is your all time favorite middle-grade book, middle-grade hero, and middle-grade heroine?
Sideways Stories From Wayside School is my all-time favorite middle grade book.   As for heroes, it’s hard not to completely love the trio of friends in the Harry Potter books.
Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at eating lots of strawberry jam in a short amount of time.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that if given the chance I would turn Superman into a couch potato.

The last great book I read was Grasshopper Jungle
If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Codename Zero, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
It would look and taste like any normal cupcake with white frosting and white cake.  However, it would actually be a secret explo  

Hahaha! Thanks so much for stopping by, Chris!

Chris Rylander is the author of the Fourth Stall saga. A fan of chocolate, chips, and chocolate chips, he lives in Chicago.

Win a finished copy of Codename Zero!
The awesome Walden Pond Press has offered up one book.
-US only
-ends 3/31
-must be 13+
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-I am not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
Fill out Rafflecopter form:


Carl Scott said...

If I could choose my own codename I'd be Shadow, the same name as my dog.

Unknown said...

I tried to win this one in a Goodreads giveaway, but didn't get it. It sounds like so much fun, I love the MG spy books! :)

Unknown said...

My secret code name would be super meme (super grandmom...LOL

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

(This is Darith L)

Firelight! :D

Jillyn said...

I'd want my codename to be Princess :D

anne s. said...

mine would be books!

Orchid said...

Mine would be Ninja Cat! Solely because my dad always saying how quite I am (I accidentally keep sneaking up on everyone).

Great interview. =)

Michelle @ In Libris Veritas said...

I almost said my name would be Shadow Cat...but that's a comic book character, lol. Hmm maybe Shadow Rose or just Rose.

Lisa Shafer said...

When I was in 8th grade, my science teacher nicknamed me "Dragon Lady" for my long fingernails. I think I could use that name. :)