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!
Publication date: January 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Middle Grade, Young Adult
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.
Gregory Funaro (Interview)
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.
Think of him as Merlin, Sherlock Holmes, Indiana Jones, and Victor Frankenstein all wrapped up in the body of Adrien Brody.
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.
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.
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.
Everything, really. It’s torture nearly always.
Cinque Terre, Italy. Either that or Edinburgh, Scotland–but only if I could have lunch with J.K. Rowling.
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.
The power to give myself any power that I wanted.
Gregory Funaro’s Biography