Author Interview: Gregory Funaro

Author Interview: Gregory Funaro

Hey, guys! Today Gregory Funaro, the author of the Odditorium series has agreed to an interview! Read on to learn more about his magical YA series published by Disney Hyperion. Enjoy!

Author Interview: Gregory Funaro
Alistair Grim's Odditorium by Gregory Funaro

Series: Odditorium #1
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publication Date: January 6th 2015
Buy the book: Amazon



Grubb, age twelve (or thereabouts), has never known anything beyond his miserable existence as a chimney sweep, paid only in insults and abuse by his cruel master. All of that changes the day he stows away in the coach belonging to a mysterious guest at the inn that he is tasked with cleaning. Grubb emerges from Alistair Grim's trunk and into the wondrous world of the Odditorium. Fueled by a glowing blue energy that Grubb can only begin to understand, the Odditorium is home to countless enchanted objects and an eccentric crew that embraces Grubb as one of their own. There's no time for Grubb to settle into his new role as apprentice to the strange, secretive Mr. Grim. When the Odditorium comes under attack, Grubb is whisked off on a perilous adventure. Only he can prevent the Odditorium's magic from falling into evil hands—and his new family from suffering a terrible fate. Grubb knows he's no hero. He's just a chimney sweep. But armed with only his courage and wits, Grubb will confront the life-or-death battle he alone is destined to fight.

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Alistair Grim's Odd AquaticumAlistair Grim’s Odd Aquaticum by Gregory Funaro
Publication date: January 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Middle Grade, Young Adult

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When Grubb, an orphan and runaway chimney sweep, entered the wondrous world of the Odditorium, his life changed forever. Apprenticed to the mechanical marvel’s strange proprietor, Alistair Grim, Grubb unfortunately must settle into his new position on the lam, as the whole of London is convinced that Alistair Grim is a villain bent on mass destruction. Grim, however, has come up with a plan to expose the real villain: Prince Nightshade, a wicked necromancer who wants the Odditorium’s power source for himself.

With the evil prince hot on their trail, Grim, Grubb and the rest of the Odditorium’s crew embark on a perilous adventure to find the legendary sword Excalibur: the only weapon capable of penetrating Nightshade’s magical suit of armor. As expected, their quest turns out to be anything but ordinary. Not only can the Odditorium fly, but it can also swim! And so the crew battens down the hatches and sets off on an underwater voyage to the otherworldly realm of Avalon, home to Excalibur. Along the way, they must battle a banshee assassin, sea monsters, and a witch who seeks revenge on Alistair Grim for stealing her magical objects.

But that’s not all. Unbeknownst to Grubb and the others, their fate has been written in an ancient Avalonian prophecy—a prophecy that holds the key to a destiny not even Alistair Grim could have possibly imagined.

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Gregory Funaro (Interview)
1. Alistair Grim’s Odditorium seems like such a fantastically magical book. How did you come up with the concept?
I actually got the idea while driving home from the hospital after the birth of my daughter. Mr. Grim’s right-hand man, Nigel, was originally going to be the focus of the book. Without giving too much away, I wondered what it’d be like if Frankenstein’s monster had a daughter–not sure why that thought came to me at that point–but once I began to write, somehow, the monster’s daughter became Grubb, and his story at the Odditorium became the main focus and Nigel’s became one of the subplots.


2. How would you describe Alistair to someone who hasn’t read Alistair Grim’s Odditorium? 
Think of him as Merlin, Sherlock Holmes, Indiana Jones, and Victor Frankenstein all wrapped up in the body of Adrien Brody.


3. I get the feeling that Prince Nightshade, the villain in the Odditorium series will be just as interesting as the heroes. Could you tell us a little about him?
Oooo, that’s a bit tricky without venturing into spoiler land. Obviously, at least from the first book, Nightshade is Alistair Grim’s foil in many ways. He too is a sorcerer (albeit an evil one) and collector of Odditoria, but he has many secrets which hopefully will catch the reader by surprise (they certainly will Alistair and Grubb!). Nightshade, of course, has a secret identity which is revealed in Odd Aquaticum, but there are even more secrets that will (hopefully) be revealed in subsequent sequels.
4. Who is one of your favorite characters in the Odditorium series and why? 
I’ve been asked this before and it’s always such a tough question! I love all of them, really, but other than Grubb, I think Cleona is one of my favorites because she is perhaps the most complex character in the series. She is fiercely brave, but sensitive and selfless. She can be arrogant and proud, but at the same time desperately lonely and vulnerable. We learn much more about her in Aquaticum, but her banshee origins and strict moral code have opened up so many unexpected opportunities for me in developing the arc of the story. I also love McClintock the pocket watch–but that’s mainly because I love talking in a salty Scottish brogue while writing his dialogue.


5. Have you already decided how many books are going to be in the series?
I originally envisioned the series as a trilogy, but if Disney wants more books, I can easily expand the story. They have yet to contract me for a third, so keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?

6. What can you tell us about the Odditorium?
On the surface, the Odditorium is a flying house of mechanical wonders, full of secrets and magical objects. Beyond that, however, it is a home for that which doesn’t belong in the “normal world; a place where the lost, the outcast find acceptance, and in turn, their inner magic.
7. What’s the most difficult part of the writing process?
Everything, really. It’s torture nearly always.


8. What’s the most rewarding part of the writing process?
Those twists in the story that you don’t see coming, but nevertheless bring everything together.
9. Before you go, will you please tell us about the newest book in the Odditorium series, Alistair Grim’s Odd Aquaticum?It centers around a quest to find the legendary sword Excalibur, the only weapon capable of penetrating Prince Nightshade’s armor. The Odditorium ends up traveling underwater, and along the way, Grubb and his friends must battle a bunch of new foes. However, the heart of the story lies in the burgeoning relationship between Grubb and Alistair Grim, as well as a deeper exploration into the characters’ backgrounds. I don’t want to reveal too much, but everyone (and everything) is more connected than you might think.


Time for the lightning round!


A. Where is your favorite place to read?
In a lounge chair on Bonnet Shores Beach, Rhode Island.
B. If you could hop on a plane tomorrow and go anywhere in the world, Where would it be?
Cinque Terre, Italy. Either that or Edinburgh, Scotland–but only if I could have lunch with J.K. Rowling.


C. What is your favorite song today?
I am so fickle when it comes to music. Today, at this precise moment? Well, I am in the process of finding musical inspiration for a show I’m directing in the fall, so right now, at this particular second, I would say it’s the entire soundtrack from the French film Tous les Matins du Monde. Ask me again in an hour, and it will probably be whatever is on the CD player in my car.


D. If you could have any super/magical power, what would it be?
The power to give myself any power that I wanted.


E. What was the last really good movie that you’ve watched?
Seriously, don’t judge, but I think Paddington could quite possibly be the best movie I’ve seen all year. Yep. That’s right. Paddington.
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Gregory Funaro’s Biography

About Gregory Funaro

Gregory Funaro grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island, and wrote his first story, The Ghost in the Window, in the fourth grade. He considers this to be his finest work, but unfortunately it has been lost to time. Following high school Greg majored in theatre at the University of New Hampshire, and after various acting gigs, received his AM in Theatre Arts from Brown University and an MFA in Acting from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. Greg teaches drama at East Carolina University, and is busy working on the next book in the Odditorium series.

Follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@GregoryFunaro)

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