William Ritter's THE ODDMIRE (Book 1): THE CHANGELING and (Book 2): THE UNREADY QUEEN

I am beyond thrilled to have Will Ritter, author of the YA series JACKABY, here to talk about his wonderful new mid-grade series, THE ODDMIRE. It kicks off with THE CHANGELING and I had to say this about it in my reviews:
The Oddmire is one of the best mid-grade fantasies I have read in a long time. It strikes the perfect tone between humor and fear, with just the right amount of magic. But what truly makes it sing is the tight bond between the brothers and the mother and the newly made friends - the relationships. This will leave readers wishing they were magic beings, while valuing who they are and the people who make them strong. I can't speak highly enough about this book and am giving it a rare five stars!
So, I am honored to have Will here today to tell us more about it...
Hi. I’m Will Ritter. I’m an author, a teacher, and a dad—and this is the story behind my story.
      The Oddmire is a MG series about goblins and witches and monsters—but deeper than that, it’s a story about family. It’s about learning what family means and figuring out who we are—and who we can be—within a family. Secretly, even though it is fantastical fiction, it’s also a story about my family.
      The second book in the series, The Unready Queen, has just been released. I am so excited to send it out into the world—but to explain how it came to be, I need to go back a bit.
     A few years ago, while I was still in the middle of writing the Jackaby series, my wife and I found ourselves waiting for a phone call. We already had a son—but we were waiting to find out from an adoption committee if he was going to have a brother.
      Days passed. The phone did not ring.
      I found myself thinking about how it would feel to be in his shoes—this nine-year-old kid who had been in the system for half of his life. He had already lived in three different foster homes, and he was about to get thrown into yet another new family. I kept trying to wrap my head around what it must feel like to come into a new home and not know if you really belong yet… or worse—to feel like you do belong but not know if it will all be ripped away from you tomorrow. That’s a heavy emotional place for a kid to be stuck.
      With all that weighing on my thoughts and the phone still not ringing, a scene started growing in my mind. A goblin sneaks into a house and drops off a changeling, intent on stealing a baby, but somehow it screws the whole thing up. I had written about goblins before, but this time I found myself asking new questions. Would a changeling know how magical and marvelous he truly was on the inside? As he grew, would he even know that he was a goblin? Would it matter? Would a changeling raised by humans feel deep down like he did not belong? What if he really wanted to belong?
      When the idea wouldn’t go away, I finally gave in and wrote a few quick pages about a changeling and a human, raised as twins. That very same day, we got the call. A nine-year-old kid got his forever family, and we got our second son.
      Over the years that followed, my boys got bigger, and quickly proved themselves to be the sweetest brothers (and also the most mischievous little goblins) that any parents could ask for. The story I was writing grew and expanded, too, but those themes remained rooted to its emotional core.
      The first book in the series, Changeling, was released in 2019, and by then my eldest was the same age as the twins, and my youngest was old enough to see it featured in his school’s Scholastic catalogue. They read the book before anyone else, and gave it their stamp of approval. It had already been an emotional journey by the time it hit shelves.
      Now, in The Unready Queen, my changeling is learning how to feel comfortable in his own skin, just as my sons are gradually finding how to be comfortable in theirs. The focus in this volume shifts toward Fable, one of my absolute favorite characters to write. She is delightfully blunt and naive in many ways, but this story sees her taking her first steps toward independence, including the painful realization that adults don’t always get it right—and sometimes they get it terribly wrong. Like the parents in this book, I never stop worrying about my kids—but I also never cease to be impressed by them when I give them the chance to shine.
      The Oddmire is close to my heart in so many ways. The feelings in this series are so real to me, the heartaches so visceral and the happy endings so cathartic. These books are for my kids—and for kids like them who are navigating their own wild woods right now. It’s a reminder that the path can be deep and dark, but there is also joy and magic and love to be found along the way. Always.
[Attached Image: My office. My writing gets done in many places, but this is home base. I do the bulk of my work on a laptop, but when I’m drafting early scene studies, I love to use a manual typewriter... and I’ve collected several over that last few years.]

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