I’m excited to have author Chris Rylander on my blog this morning. Chris writes humorous books that resonate with my students, such as the trilogy of Fourth Stall books. Countdown Zero is the sequel to Codename Zero. Both titles feature Carson Fender, king of pranks and unlikely secret agent.
Carson makes it clear he finds Principal Gomez’s mandates incomprehensible. What is the strangest mandate the principal has issued at school for the students or teachers?
The whole no doodling in notebooks thing, I feel is so out of bounds it should be criminal. A student’s notebook is their personal property, and it seems terrible to me that a teacher or principal would try to dictate exactly what goes inside of it. There was an old teacher at my high school who used to do this. I know for me as a student, I never could make it through note-taking or lectures, without being able to doodle. If I had a principal that didn’t allow doodles inside any of my notebooks, I certainly would have flunked out of middle school. Then who knows where I’d be? Maybe I’d be that guy who hangs out downtown all day pretending to be a three-legged reindeer with a headcold? Come to think of it, that’s not such a bad life…
In this series, Carson’s friend Dillon is very intrigued by conspiracy theories. Did you have any favorites to read about when you were a kid?
All of them! I love conspiracy theories. In fact, not just as a kid, I still probably spend 6-7 hours a day on Wikipedia reading about unsolved murders and conspiracy theories. My first favorites were all of the usual big ones: the JFK assassination, the moon landing, Area 51, etc. Of course, the funny part is that while I love reading about them and find them all so fascinating, unlike Dillon, I don’t really believe in many of them. The simplest explanation is often the most plausible. That said, I wouldn’t be shocked at all to find out that at least one of those three turned out to be a real conspiracy.
Carson has to visit some pretty interesting places in this book. Would you rather get stuck in Snaketown or Bear Country?
[Shudder] Probably Snaketown? I don’t particularly hate snakes or bears, but I definitely have an aversion to things that might kill me. Bears are probably less likely to attack a person, but at least with snakes there are anti-venoms. Whereas, there’s really no cure or antidote to having your face ripped off by massive bear claws…
If you were ever in a situation where you needed to be rescued, would you rather have Carson and his friends there to help you or Mac and his friends from The Fourth Stall?
Great question! Definitely Carson and his pals, since they have access to a vast array of high-tech gadgets and weapons, and also have the backing of a powerful government spy agency. Mac is better at solving every day problems for sure, but when I think of needing rescue, I’m assuming I’d be in a much tougher spot than simply needing the test key for an upcoming final math exam.
Thanks for hosting me, those were some great questions! Okay, back to Wikipedia…
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.
Everyone at his school knows Carson Fender is a prank mastermind. Principal Gomez just hasn’t ever had enough concrete evidence to prove it. Carson’s latest plan, Prankpocalypse, should have Carson humming with excitement. There’s freshly fallen snow, which is always good for a new arsenal of options. Carson’s partners in crime are hitting their school with as many pranks as possible. They’ve never attempted a scheme of this magnitude.
Prankpocalypse has just one problem–at the start. After being retired from the secretive Agency that had recruited Carson to assist in thwarting the plans of an evil organization, school pranks just don’t bring the same adrenaline rush. Then other problems begin to snowball Prankpocalypse. Carson’s putting the finishing touches on a frozen replica of his insufferable principal when a frantic text warns him the principal has just arrived. It’s 2:53 AM and Carson’s stuck in the principal’s office.
In the aftermath of Prankpocalypse, Carson finds himself suddenly reinstated as Agent Zero in a mission to one of the Agency’s bases where a dangerous virus has been compromised. He has three days to get to the base and save Agent Nineteen, his former mentor. Carson has to find a way onto the seventh grade field trip, which means meeting Principal Gomez’s request that he give up all his accomplices. Then there’s the small matter of breaking into secret chambers concealed within Mount Rushmore.
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