The mind behind Mr. Lemoncello

New Nickelodeon movie based on children's book by former Chattanooga resident

It wasn't the book Chris Grabenstein set out to write, but "The Crossroads" marked a turning point for the author, thanks to a book editor who rejected the original.

Grabenstein, who had already won awards and impressed critics with his earliest mystery novels, had submitted a ghost story for adults. But the editor gave it a thumbs-down, suggesting instead that it would make an interesting story for young readers.

"After I cut out about 70,000 words and took out the adult stuff," Grabenstein says. "I tried it and found this inner child in me. I kind of lost interest in writing for adults after that."

That was in 2008 and Grabenstein, a 1973 graduate of Notre Dame High School, has since written numerous best-selling books for kids, including multiple titles with James Patterson, who was his boss when Grabenstein worked in advertising.