Minot native Chris Rylander said he loved books, movies and video games so much as a kid that he grew up to write children's novels.
Rylander's first book "The Fourth Stall" is about a kid who sets up an office in a school bathroom stall and solves all sorts of unexpected student problems. It just won the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor, awarded by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Rylander told children at Bel Air Elementary last week that that prestigious award means a lot to him, but he was also thrilled to have his book being named as a nominee for the State Library Association's Flickertale Award.
Rylander, who now lives in Grand Forks, spoke at Bel Air because his mother, Nancy Rylander, is a teacher there. He also spoke at other schools last week.
The kids were full of questions about what it's like to be a working author.
How many hours does he spend writing every week?
Rylander said that can vary. He might write for 80 hours one week and none the next, though he spends time on the other tasks of being a writer, such as presentations and research. If he gets stuck, he goes back and asks himself where the sticking point in the plot is. It might be easier for him to know what should happen next because he's spent so much time reading and watching movies and playing video games. All of those things tell a story, he said.
Will his books be turned into movies? Probably not, said Rylander, though he'd love it if they were.
Where does he get his ideas? From the aforementioned books, movies and video games, as well as from some of his real life friends and acquaintances. One girl he babysat said something so funny that he just had to put it in his next book. When he has his own kids, he might put them in his books too, especially if they do or say something so funny he can't resist.
He was also inspired by "The Godfather."
His second book, "The Fourth Stall, Part II," came out in February.