Author Chris Grabenstein

ABOUT CHRIS

Official Bio

CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is the multiple award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the LEMONCELLO, WONDERLAND, HAUNTED MYSTERY, SMARTEST KID, and DOG SQUAD series. He co-authored the acclaimed SHINE! with his wife J.J. Grabenstein as well as nearly three dozen fast-paced and funny page turners with James Patterson including the I FUNNY, JACKY HA-HA, TREASURE HUNTERS, and MAX EINSTEIN series. He’s written Audible Originals, short stories, and stage plays. After graduating from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Chris moved to New York City and started doing improvisational comedy in Greenwich Village. During those years, he also wrote for the Muppets and helped create the CBS holiday classic The Christmas Gift starring John Denver. He then spent seventeen years writing radio and television commercials for brands such as KFC, Dr Pepper, Seven Up, and many others. His first boss in advertising was James Patterson. Chris, the current president of the Mystery Writers of America, and his wife J.J. still live in New York City with two cats and lots of ideas.

Authors J.J. and Chris Grabenstein

J.J. & Chris Grabenstein

DOWNLOADS

MORE ABOUT CHRIS

If you’re still searching for more answers to your questions (aren’t we all?), follow these links to interviews that Chris has done over the years.

Reading with… Chris GrabensteinShelf Awareness (2024)

Chris chats with Christopher at ‘Unban Coolies’” (2024)

New ‘Lemoncello’ Book Brings Chris Grabenstein Back to the ClassroomPublishers Weekly (2022)

Interview with a Children’s Book Writer: Chris Grabenstein” (2022)

Getting to Know Chris Grabenstein” Bound To Stay Bound Bookstore (2022)

Q & A with Chris and J.J. GrabensteinPublishers Weekly (2019)

Four Questions for…Chris GrabensteinPublishers Weekly (2016)

Students Celebrate award-winning author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” Warwick Beacon (2015)

The Writer’s Block: An Interview with Chris Grabenstein” Middle Grade Mojo (2014)

7 Questions for Author Chris Grabenstein” Middle Grade Ninja (2010)

View more
Interviews & Articles

EXTRAS

Luigi & Phoebe Squeak

Visual Portfolio, Posts & Image Gallery for WordPress

Luigi and noble ancestor

Phoebe guards the manuscripts

Luigi

Luigi

Phoebe

Luigi and Phoebe Squeak

ABOUT CHRIS

Official Bio

CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is the multiple award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the LEMONCELLO, WONDERLAND, HAUNTED MYSTERY, SMARTEST KID, and DOG SQUAD series. He co-authored the acclaimed SHINE! with his wife J.J. Grabenstein as well as nearly three dozen fast-paced and funny page turners with James Patterson including the I FUNNY, JACKY HA-HA, TREASURE HUNTERS, and MAX EINSTEIN series. He’s written Audible Originals, short stories, and stage plays. After graduating from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Chris moved to New York City and started doing improvisational comedy in Greenwich Village. During those years, he also wrote for the Muppets and helped create the CBS holiday classic The Christmas Gift starring John Denver. He then spent seventeen years writing radio and television commercials for brands such as KFC, Dr Pepper, Seven Up, and many others. His first boss in advertising was James Patterson. Chris, the current president of the Mystery Writers of America, and his wife J.J. still live in New York City with two cats and lots of ideas.

How Did Chris Become An Author?

Chris Grabenstein has always had a big imagination. He’s also always loved making people laugh.
Author Chris Grabenstein

Chris started writing a long time ago. He and his four brothers used to write scripts and put on skits or puppet shows in the basement of their home in Buffalo, New York. Admission was a nickel. They usually earned ten cents a show, because their mom and dad were the only customers.

Author Chris Grabenstein

Chris winning his first writing award in the fifth grade!  It was an essay contest, just like in ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY.

When he was ten, Chris moved from Buffalo, NY to Signal Mountain, Tennessee and had a great English teacher in the seventh grade who told him he would make his living as a writer one day.

Author Chris Grabenstein

Limericks from Chris’s middle school composition book

After graduating from Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga—where he had more great English teachers, edited the school newspaper, and was president of the drama club—he studied communications and theater at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Author Chris Grabenstein

In high school, Chris (on the left) had hair longer than the mop’s

He wrote for the college paper and acted in over fifty different stage productions.

Author Chris Grabenstein

“South Pacific” at UT’s Hunter Hills Theater

Recently, the University of Tennessee named Chris a Distinguished Alumnus.  He and his wife also sponsor a Luigi L. Lemoncello Scholarship at UTK for students interested in a career as a children’s librarian.

Chris moved to New York City in 1979 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?”

Author Chris Grabenstein

Chris making up a funny Shakespeare scene with the late Robin Williams

A young actor named Bruce Willis was also in Chris’ comedy group before he became BRUCE WILLIS. 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, just like the one where he and his brothers did puppet shows), Chris also wrote for Jim Henson’s Muppets.

Author Chris Grabenstein

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—usually during the holidays, usually on the Hallmark Channel, usually at three o’clock in the morning.

Author Chris Grabenstein
Chris also spent close to twenty years writing radio and television commercials for Burger King, Seven Up, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dr Pepper, Chef Boyardee, and many, many others.
Author Chris Grabenstein

Click here to watch two commercials created for Chef Boyardee—filmed by Academy Award winner Giuseppe Tornatore, scored by Academy Award winner Ennio Morricone

His first boss was a very talented advertising writer named James Patterson. Now they’ve written books together.

Chris and James Patterson having fun filming a promo for their I FUNNY books.

In 2001, Chris quit his job as an executive at one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. He spent the next four years having everything he wrote rejected by publishers, producers, and strangers he met on the street. In 2005, his first books started being published. They were mysteries for adults, which none of his two dozen nieces and nephews could read because, at the time, they weren’t adults.

When given a chance, he rewrote one of his rejected adult manuscripts (The Crossroads) and turned into a ghost story for younger readers. He had so much fun, he kept on writing for kids.

Now he’s had over six-dozen different books published, is working on several new projects, and is also branching out into graphic novel versions of the Lemoncello stories.

Yes, like we said, Chris is always writing! This morning, he wrote a grocery list, a note to J.J., and a letter to Santa Claus. It’s never too early.

Chris and J.J. live in New York City with their cats Luigi & Phoebe Squeak and lots and lots of ideas.

MORE ABOUT CHRIS

If you’re still searching for more answers to your questions (aren’t we all?), follow these links to interviews that Chris has done over the years.

Interview with a Children’s Book Writer: Chris Grabenstein” (2022)

Getting to Know Chris Grabenstein” Bound To Stay Bound Bookstore (2022)

Q & A with Chris and J.J. GrabensteinPublishers Weekly (2019)

Four Questions for…Chris GrabensteinPublishers Weekly (2016)

Students Celebrate award-winning author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” Warwick Beacon (2015)

The Writer’s Block: An Interview with Chris Grabenstein” Middle Grade Mojo (2014)

7 Questions for Author Chris Grabenstein” Middle Grade Ninja (2010)

View more
Interviews & Articles

EXTRAS

Luigi & Phoebe Squeak

Visual Portfolio, Posts & Image Gallery for WordPress

Luigi and noble ancestor

Phoebe guards the manuscripts

Luigi

Luigi

Phoebe

Luigi and Phoebe Squeak

DOWNLOADS