Friday, October 19, 2012

Five on Friday - Chris Grabenstein

It's Friday! It's Friday! Are you all happy for the weekend? I hope you have some fun plans and good books. Around Northeast Ohio the trees are all celebrating the death of my beloved summer. Shame on them!

Remember that if you want to be entered for a chance to win the tote bag from Bouchercon, you need to follow the Jen's Book Thoughts Facebook Page by Sunday when I pick a winner from the list of Likes. If you've already liked the page, you're already in the drawing. I'll have more giveaways there and here to come. In the meantime I've started putting together the loot that goes INSIDE the bag. I hope I don't need to take out a loan to ship this thing!

I've started to see some Best of 2012 lists going up already. I'm always envious of those who can be read that far in advance. Granted most of the lists are coming from "groups" of readers, so they don't have to each read everything, but still. You won't be seeing my list until late December, sorry.

Now it's time to get around to the fun stuff. I have a most wonderful guest for Five on Friday today, the creator of one of my favorite series - The John Ceepak series. Chris Grabenstein has also written a couple middle grade series now and this week the first book he's co-written with James Patterson came out. This is also a book for young readers and it's called Daniel X: Armageddon.  Evidently it is part of an already-existing series, but I'm not an expert on children's series these days, so Chris' involvement is the first I've heard of it.

In addition to his writing, Chris is a lover of animals. His dog Fred is a former Broadway star and several felines help keep both Fred and Chris in line at the Grabenstein household. Chris' wife J.J. is an actress and a voice personality. She's narrated many of Chris' books for young readers.

With all that keeps this guy busy, I'm honored he could take some time to participate--and he even gave us some "extra" responses. BONUS Friday! Let me turn it over to Chris now!

While Chris naps, guard dog Fred is hard at work!

The most bizarre place I ever found inspiration for a story was: The men's room of a Garden State Parkway Rest Area. The whole idea for Ceepak mystery #4 HELL HOLE came to me while I was in one of those, er, hell holes.

 Five songs on my iPod/music player right now are:
"Wrecking Ball" -- Bruce Springsteen
"Holiday" -- Green Day
"Penn Station" -- The Felice Brothers
"The '59 Sound" -- The Gaslight Anthem
"Tangled Up In Blue" -- Indigo Girls
But the songs that I've played most are all from movie soundtracks...which I listen to while I'm writing.

My biggest pet peeve is: Slow, disorganized lines. U.S. Postal Service? I'm talking about you. TSA in the Jet Blue terminal at JFK? You, too!

A superstition or ritual I have to observe when I write is: I treat myself to one new album in the iTunes store and put together a new "themed" playlist for every project I am working on.

My favorite toppings on a pizza are: Tomato and basil on top of Buffalo mozzarella...made in Italy.

My favorite t-shirt (that I own) is: "Zombies are were people, too!"


The #1 item on my bucket list right now is: Meeting Bruce Springsteen and, perhaps, playing cow bell with him on a song or two in concert.

Just so happens that Bruce Springsteen was in Ohio yesterday. I did not however get to meet him or play cowbell with him, but maybe Chris could have! Thanks so much to Chris for the fun responses and great photo. "Hi Fred!" And thanks to everyone for stopping by.

Have a super, wonderful weekend filled with lots of fun and good books. Happy Reading!


bermudaonion October 19, 2012 at 5:44 AM  

I find it hilarious that he got the idea for a book while he was in the bathroom of a rest area!

Beth F October 21, 2012 at 8:37 AM  

Too funny about the rest area bathroom, and how brave of Chris to admit it. As you know I LOVE the Ceepak books and Jeff Woodman's audios are the all-time best way to read the series.

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