Posted by Literary Titan
Grotto of Chaos follows a group of friends who disappear into a world like none could have dreamed and set out on a wild adventure. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I remember visiting Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. Located there is the Marvel Cave which is said to be the 3rd largest cave system in North America. How it was discovered was a young Osage tribe member was running through the woods when he fell through a sinkhole into the earth several hundred feet. I could only imagine what was going through his mind. He must have thought that he was being swallowed up into some unknown world. It made me think of what would happen to my characters if they did the same but slide even further. And then I thought, what if nature evened the odds by providing a bioluminescent light for them? Could five young teens and a dog escape from such a deep pocket in the Earth while being hunted by unworldly creatures trying to catch them?
Clarence and his friends were all interesting and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
The kids in the book are like my offspring. They have many of my own traits as well as characteristics of people that are close to me. For example, we can take my character, Rasheed. One of his skills is that he is a sword fencer who dreams of one day being in the Olympics. I myself have been a fencer and did actually try out for the Olympics. Olivia is a dancer and martial artist. I too, have spent many years studying various martial arts, and my mother and daughters were dancers. Even the main protagonist, Clarence, was named after my fraternal grandfather, who passed away from brain cancer when I was very young. My grandfather Clarence was said to have been full of so much ingenuity, which you can see in Clarence in the book. Even the ethnic diversity of the circle of friends is based on people who have been very close to me throughout my life. So much of my own essence and the attributes of my loved ones are embedded into my characters. So for me, my characters are very personal, as if I have put part of my soul into this story.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
From start to finish, there is a lot of action in this story. But that does not mean that there is little dialog either. While the kids are being thrown into constant danger, they are constantly communicating to combine their efforts and skills to work their way out of trouble. Sometimes Clarence may rely on memories of the past to help the situation at hand. Aside from the characters, world-building was very important. Many mythological creatures are encountered, but also, a lot of science is embedded into this universe for believability. Creatures such as krakens and ghost might show up in only fiction, but the fact that you really don’t know what you would find miles into the earth, also make it feasible. According to many theories related to quantum physics, since there is an infinite number of universes, these creatures actually exist. Since the gang finds themselves in a system with somewhat of a Mandela Effect, that is where worlds collide, then all things are possible.
This is book one in The Exploits of Clarence Griffin series. What can readers expect in book two?
Without any spoilers, for those who have finished book one, we know that Clarence and his companions do not get out of this story unscathed and without debts. In book two, he will be asked to pay back that debt, thereby facing many more perils. The gang will need to stick together more than ever, and increasingly sharpen their skills for what lies ahead. Book two will also introduce new characters and foes, many of which are like none other ever featured in literature before.
Posted in Interviews
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Posted by Literary Titan
A camping trip sounded like such a wonderful idea–friends, family, and a bit of an adventure. Clarence Griffin and his friends are a unique group with talents and knowledge that, on an ordinary day, just make them interesting and fun. Today, however, their skills may just save their lives. When the group experiences what they all believe to be an earthquake, their plans to enjoy the trip are not thwarted–they soldier on. It’s when the ground opens up and they disappear into a world like none of them could ever have dreamed that they begin to believe this will be much more than their normal adventure.
Grotto of Chaos, by Christopher Knox, is a young adult thriller and the first in a series centered around Clarence Griffin. From cover to cover, the group of friends are met head-on with otherworldly challenges and use their wits and their talents to fight their way out of one predicament after another. The circle of friends is met head on by everything from a rat beast to a dinosaur, but their resourcefulness far outweighs anything that comes their way. Clarence and his crew are a fantastic bunch of young adult heroes.
As a teacher, I am always on the lookout for engaging books that are both readable, not overwhelming in length and of high-interest to my more avid readers. Knox more than meets all of these expectations with Grotto of Chaos. Clarence and his friends are all relatable, offer bits of humor that young readers will appreciate, and give all of us a cast of everyday superheroes that offer a new and refreshing take on the young adult genre.
One of the most appealing aspects of Knox’s work is the constant dialogue between the main characters. Young readers tend to gravitate toward books with characters who sound like them. The banter between Clarence and his sister, Penelope, makes for an entertaining read for children at this age. In addition, Knox does a fabulous job of representing a diverse friend group with different interests and talents, and each character is given his/her moment to shine.
I highly recommend Knox’s writing to anyone looking to introduce young readers to a new series of adventure stories. The main characters in Grotto of Chaos will appeal to all readers, and the constant action will keep readers coming back for more from Clarence and his pals.
Pages: 210 | ASIN: B08WVX48FY
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