An Interview with Gregory Funaro
Gregory Funaro is the author of Alistair Grim’s Odditorium, a fantasy novel which takes readers into a beguiling steampunk version of Victorian England, filled with magical beings and awe-inspiring mechanical creations. A drama professor at East Carolina University, Funaro lives with his family outside Raleigh, North Carolina, where he is busy working on the next book in the Odditorium series.
1) What led you into writing?
Reading. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and while on tour with a theatre company in the mid-90s, found myself on a long road trip with nothing to read. I began writing down ideas for stories in a notebook. These stories ended up being my first screenplay, which never sold. When I began teaching, I toyed with turning that screenplay into a novel. I started it a number of times but nothing seemed to work. Then, with encouragement from my wife, I buckled down and wrote my first thriller. That never sold either, but it led to other things that did.
2) What was your earliest career aspiration?
I remember wanting to be an architect when I was very young, but I’m not sure if it’s because I liked to build things or because I wanted to be like Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.
3) Can you describe your latest book Alistair Grim’s Odditorium and its inspiration in thirty words?
Inspired by the birth of my daughter, it is the story of a young chimney sweep who stumbles onto a flying house of magical and mechanical wonders.
4) Do you have any plans for your next book?
I am excited to announce that, here in the States, Disney-Hyperion is releasing Book 2 in the Odditoriumseries in January. I hope to write one more Odditorium book to wrap things up. This summer, I finished the first book in a different middle grade series, so I will wait until that goes out on submission before I start something else. My head feels as if will explode with this new idea, but I need to make sure I don’t have any other commitments before I embark on another project.
5) What has been the most exciting moment in your career?
The sale of Odditorium to Disney-Hyperion. It was a long and difficult journey to that moment, which made it all the sweeter.
6) What are you reading right now?
Lots of princess stories and fairytales to my daughter. In between those, I’m still trying to finish A Storm of Swords. Late to the party, as always, but at least I eventually arrive…
7) If you could have dinner with any three people, past or present, who would they be?
I never know how to answer these types of questions – off the top of my head, maybe Jesus, Shakespeare and Elvis Presley?
8) Which period in history would you most like to have lived through?
The Italian Renaissance.
9) If your house was on fire, which three books would you save from the flames?
If photo albums don’t count, then probably Watership Down and my leather-bound copies of The Lord of the Rings and The Alchemist.
10) What do you do to relax?
Beats me. It’s been so long since I’ve had time to relax that I don’t know how to do it anymore…
Find out more about Alistair Grim’s Odditorium here
Find out about Alistair Grim’s Odd Aquaticum here