Russell Elkins, author of Sparks the Matchmaker, would be grounded forever if his parents knew …

Nothing’s better than being on the _________ team Russell Elkins
I tried out for the JV baseball team my Freshman and Sophomore years but didn’t make the team. I was short and chubby, but I sprouted up about six inches in just over one year to be over six feet tall. They put me on the JV team to start my junior year, but after three great pitching performances, they bumped me up to Varsity (and bumped down one of my friends). Pitching Varsity baseball my Jr. and Sr. year of HS was some of my best memories of being a teenager.

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Go ____________!
Go Greenwave, mighty mighty Greenwave! Yep. Our mascot was a green wave. It was named after the way an alfalfa field would wave like the ocean on a windy day. I know- really intimidating, right? That’s the kind of thing you get when you grow up in a small farming community in Nevada. Most of the other teams in our division were big schools in Reno and Carson City.

Nerd? Geek? Jock? Snob?
Nerdy jock. Cool kids played on the varsity teams. Cool kids played guitar. I did both, but I was anything but cool. I was the goofy, quiet, guy who happened to be amongst the popular kids. I was the nerdy kid who pitched on the varsity team, and I was the nerdy kid who played guitar with some of the cool rock stars in the school.

If I could do it all again, I would …
I wish I would have been nicer to the odd kids. I wasn’t ever mean to the quiet kid with no friends, I just didn’t go out of my way to talk to them. I have a few of them specifically in mind that I bet would have been fun to get to know. I was just too self-absorbed and worried about what others thought of me, I guess.

If my parents knew I did ____________________, they’d have grounded me forever.
“On my 16th birthday I got to have a sleepover party with my friends. At about 2 AM we emptied the fridge of all the eggs (about 18) and went down the street to egg the house of the farmer who shot our dog for chasing his cows.
Then we decided to walk to a friend’s house to wake him up. A car came and someone yelled “”hide.”” We all hid around the yard of the house we happened to be next to, and my genius brother chose to hide under the car parked in the driveway. By pure bad luck, that house happened to be the same house where the driver lived. The car stopped halfway into the driveway, shining the headlights on my brother hiding underneath the other car. It took about a minute before someone moved, and one-by-one we all came out from our hiding spots all over this poor lady’s yard. We didn’t even know her. Must have scared her to death. We all ran back home before she could get the cops after us.”

Now, before we get to the last question, let’s look at AUTHOR’s book …

Sparks the Matchmaker Ollie just wants one thing. The girl.

Things haven’t been going so well with Anne lately, though; their relationship has become a perpetual study date, and Ollie’s roommates are starting to worry about him. How to fix things? Why, with a marriage proposal, of course.

Unfortunately for Ollie, his relationship with Anne has run out of gas. Life feels like it’s counting down to one. And that one is the only person in Ollie’s life he really cares about: Ollie. Perhaps, then, he should get over himself. But first he has to deal with Sparks, the irritating little Yankees fan who invades his life in order to “help” him. And while Keith, his best friend, is doing all he can to help, Ollie’s other friend Richie never fails to show up and threaten to ruin everything just by being himself. Never mind all the drama Sparks brings to the party by forcing Ollie to take a job actually helping people in need.

Will Ollie meet the girl? Will it be in history class? On a road trip to Colorado? Can he get over Anne, or should he try to mend the relationship? Should he pursue the new girl Sparks is trying to set him up with? As the strings of the puppeteer tangle with the strings of the heart, only one person can sort out the mess Ollie has made. It seems that the harder he tries, the more Ollie messes things up. Is Sparks a cruel manipulator, or is he really going to help Ollie find his match?

Favorite one-line review about the book

Loved this book! Original story line, and gives a great lesson!

Favorite 6 sentences from the book

Ollie sat in history class thinking about his future. His eyes darted from one pretty face to another, wondering which girl would soon be on his arm. Sparks, who sat next to him, was smug. He had expected Sparks to tell him which girl he was going to set him up with before class started, but that didn’t happen. “Of course he won’t tell me. He’s maximizing his investment in my misery.”

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But before you go, one last question …
There is no better class than _____________
My older brother and sister were the chemistry, straight A’s, and advanced placement type of students, so I thought I was supposed to do that kind of thing also. Wrong. I hated those classes. Once I realized I was more of a Wood Shop and Art kind of guy, I excelled in school. I was student of the semester 3 out of 4 semesters my Junior and Senior year.

Congratulations, Russell! Good luck with Sparks the Matchmaker!

Have more questions for this author? Ask in the comments!