Our Last Skype Stop! (And WINNER WINNER WINNER!)

Our Mixed-Up Skype bus is nearly empty now.  As soon as we drop Kimberley Griffiths Little off, we’ll only have one more author, the ever hilarious Chris Rylander, author of THE FOURTH STALL and THE FOURTH STALL, PART II.

Chris Rylander - Author Photo.jpg

He’s sitting by himself there in the very back seat.  Luckily for us, he’s kept the rest of the folks on our Spring Tour entertained, and next week we’ll be pulling into our last stop with him. Will it be into your group’s virtual driveway?

Before we announce the winner of Kimberley’s Skype visit, let’s get to know Chris a little better.

Welcome, Chris!  I’ve heard that your book, THE FOURTH STALL, was funny enough to win the coveted 2012 Sid Fleischman Humor Award!  You are too cool for words.

But let’s use some words, anyway.  Tell us about about you and your books!


The best way to describe myself is to say I’m the human equivalent of a stack of pancakes.  I was born and raised in North Dakota, where essentially everybody can be likened to a brunch menu item.  All of my current books are humorous middle grade, but I love to write in pretty much every genre, including young adult, picture books, science fiction, and even stories about mailboxes.  Or, Mailiction as we insiders like to call it.


I didn’t know that about North Dakota!  Or that anyone wrote mailiction, for that matter.  So, tell me, what do you like best about writing for middle grade readers?

It’s fun!  Whenever I get asked that at school visits I always like to use this metaphor: Books for adults are like cats, they’re moody, selfish, whiny, and all they do is mope and whine for people to give them stuff.  Books for kids, especially middle grade, are more like dogs, they’re fun, high-energy, make you laugh, and just generally make you happy, while still being intelligent and meaningful. (Sorry cat people, but the truth is that dogs are just as smart as cats, if not smarter.)

You seem like a dog person.  Anyway, what was your favorite book when you were 8-12?

 The first novel I can ever remember loving and reading multiple times was Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar.  That book was the perfect amount of hilarious and crazy.

Hilarious and crazy…that reminds me of someone…hmm…oh, yeah.  Me.  Well, at least the crazy part, anyway.  I think you’ve got the hilarious part down, though!  Why don’t you tell our readers what makes your school visits special.

The feedback I get from teachers after my school visits is that they’re amazed at how much the kids relate to me.  The kids see me as someone just like them, someone who still loves video games and movies and sports and music just as much as reading, and just as much as they do.  I think the kids really like and relate to my down to earth and relaxed approach.  Plus, my presentation includes a lot of my own drawings and doodles, which the kids really seem to love.  

Aw, man.  Now I want to see one of your school visits!  Readers, if you want to be the lucky winner, you know what to do!  Leave a comment below, and if you want more chances to win, spread the news on FB or twitter (or your blog), and come back here to let us know.  Make sure to leave one comment for each entry.  We’ll announce the winner next Tuesday.

If you have any more questions, check our FAQ page before you email.

And now, we’re ready to announce the winner of Kimberley Griffith Little’s Skype visit!  Drum-roll, please…

Heather Temske!

Congratulations!  Please send your contact information to msfishby at fromthemixedupfiles dot com and we’ll drop Kimberley off at your virtual doorstep!


Elissa Cruz likes funny things.  She also likes pancakes, and mail.  Well, waffles and mail, anyway, because both are stamped. (ba dum chhh!)  She writes middle-grade fiction, and sometimes it’s almost humorous (the work, that is, not the fact that she writes, though that’s probably true, too).  You can learn more about her mixed-up writing life than you ever wanted to at elissacruz.blogspot.com.

Elissa Cruz