If you were lucky enough to grow up reading Jonathan Rand's "Michigan Chillers" books, you can imagine my excitement when I recently got whacked in the face with a burst of nostalgia and decided to do a deep dive back into these books.

A recent podcast I listened to was talking about the various books they read as kids and they kept mentioning R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps" series. It then sparked my memory of a series of books that was like "Goosebumps" but for Michigan kids, "Michigan Chillers."

I remembered being a kid and being so amazed that our own state was featured in a whole series of books and being even more amazed when I was babysitting a girl who lived on our same lake growing up and she told me the Michigan author, Jonathan Rand, was her neighbor.

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Meet the Michigan-Born Author

According to MyNorth, "Rand has written 68 books (using three different pen names): Michigan ChillersAmerican Chillers, the Freddie Fernortner First Grader series, The Adventure Club series, and several novels for adults."

Lansing City Pulse reports, he was born Christopher Wright in Pontiac, Michigan and upon graduating, he worked in radio while also penning his young adult novels from 1983 to 1995 under the pseudonym "Christopher Knight."

Drawing upon his upbringing, he told Lansing City Pulse, "Today, I can trace every creative idea I've ever had from the fact that my parents let me run free, unsupervised, in and around the Au Sable River outside of Grayling.”

When he began writing his "Michigan Chillers" series, he adopted the "punchier" pseudonym "Jonathan Rand" and started out selling the books in Upper Penninsula gas stations and gift shops and then they took off.

He then wrote other novels while switching back and forth between "American Chillers" and "Michigan Chillers" that featured many Michigan cities (though, Lansing has not been covered...YET.

Michigan's "Chilling" Cities & Their Stories

Real Life Locations of "Michigan Chillers" Books

If you remember reading Jonathan Rand's "Michigan Chillers" series, you'll love to look back on the locations used as inspiration for the 15 books that featured some of our favorite Michigan destinations.

What's Still to Come?

As of 2015, in his interview with Lansing City Pulse, Rand said he would like to finish "American Chillers" before continuing with "Michigan Chillers" and there is a possibility for our very own capital city to be featured.

He also continues to do appearances at schools, on podcasts, etc. like in this video from Mostly Horror Movie Night published on YouTube in February of 2021:

Until then, you can check out all of the books in the series, as well as Rand/Wright/Knight's other works at Chillermania AKA the "World headquarters for books by Johnathan Rand" at their Indian River, Michigan storefront!

Image Courtesy of Google Street View
Image Courtesy of Google Street View

You may even get a chance to meet the man himself as the Chillermania website states "Although Johnathan Rand is not at the store all the time, he does frequent Chillermania often with Brutus, his trusty sidekick!"

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