Chris Grabenstein is the author of the New York Times bestsellers THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS and ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY as well as the co-author (with James Patterson) of the #1 Bestselling series I FUNNY, HOUSE OF ROBOTS, and TREASURE HUNTERS.
Winner of all sorts of awards, Chris writes fast-paced and fun page-turners for children and adults. He's also a playwright and screenwriter not to mention a former advertising executive and improvisational comedian. Sometimes he sleeps.
Chris started writing a long time ago. He and his four brothers used to put on skits and puppet shows in the basement of their home in Buffalo, New York. Their mom and dad were the only paying customers. Admission was a nickel.
|Chris winning his first writing award in the fifth grade!|
When he was ten, Chris moved to Signal Mountain Tennessee and had some great teachers in Junior High School and at Chattanooga's Notre Dame High School who told him he would "make a living as a writer one day."
|In high school, Chris (on the left) had hair longer than the mop's|
He studied communications and theater at The University of Tennessee at Knoxville then moved to New York City with six suitcases, a typewriter, and very little money. For five years, he performed with some of the city's top Improvisational Comedy troupes, making up scenes and songs on the spot in front of live audiences, just like they did on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
|Doing Improv with his funny, funny friend Tom Carrozza|
A young actor named Bruce Willis was also in Chris' comedy group, but nobody knows what happened to him. From time to time, the late Robin Williams would drop by to perform with Chris and his comedy gang. When not writing scripts for his friends to perform in the small Greenwich Village theatre (which was actually another basement) Chris also wrote for Jim Henson's Muppets.
|Chris wrote for Jim Henson's Little Muppet Monsters show on CBS|
In 1986, he and his college buddy Ronny Venable wrote a TV movie for CBS called The Christmas Gift. It starred John Denver and can still be seen almost every year during the holidays, usually on the Hallmark Channel.
Chris also spent close to twenty years writing radio and television commercials for Burger King, Seven Up, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dr Pepper, and many, many others. His first boss was a very talented advertising writer named James Patterson. Now they're writing books together.
|Chris and James Patterson having fun filming a promo for their I FUNNY books.|
His books for younger readers include THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY, the I FUNNY series, the TREASURE HUNTERS series, the HOUSE OF ROBOTS series, the HAUNTED MYSTERY series, the RILEY MACK series, and a couple fun (and funny) e-books.
Yes, like we said, Chris is always writing! This morning, he wrote a grocery list, a note to his wife, J.J., and a letter to Santa Claus. It's never too early.
Currently, Chris and his beautiful, beloved wife J.J. live in New York City with two cats (Parker & Phoebe Squeak) and a dog named Fred who starred in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Broadway.
And, yes, Zipper the dog in The Haunted Mysteries is based on Fred!