Today I’m hosting an interview with author, Keira Gillett. Keira is self-published and the second book in her Zaria Fierce Trilogy, released November 6, 2015. The last time Keira was on the blog she discussed her writing playlist for Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest. You can see my review for the book here.
Q: Hi Keira and welcome. What drew you to Norwegian mythology and folklore?
Keira: Thanks, Liberty! I’m happy to be here. Zaria Fierce was always going to take place in the north. I bounced her story all over the globe from Russia to Canada. I even considered a completely different world. Like Goldilocks trying out the different beds, chairs, and porridges, it was simply finding what was just right. When I picked Norway and started writing, Olaf appeared and I knew it was a perfect match.
You see, I had been waiting for the villain to make himself known to me. Previous plots for Zaria were abandoned because the villain wouldn’t take shape. Without an agenda there wasn’t a story to pursue. I enjoy Scandinavian and European mythology and folklore because they have many parallels and crossovers. I take from both to suit the story, and sometimes I make it up entirely. It’s been lots of fun adding in new creatures and beings for Zaria and the gang to meet and interact with as they quest for a magic sword.
Q: Do you have beta readers? How have they helped you write Zaria Fierce?
Keira: I do! Think of a book like having dinner. I can easily write the meat and potatoes. I’m told I’m very good at providing all the pertinent information in a timely and easily digestible manner. My beta readers tell me where I should consider adding side dishes and dessert to the menu. Their insights help me tremendously, and both improve the story and the reading experience.
Q: Do you feel that there is more pressure when starting a new series/sequel?
Keira: I’m going to say writing a sequel has more on the line than the first book in a series. It’s generally considered that the sequel to the first book in a series or trilogy is the worst book when compared to the rest of work. It’s like book one is about being interesting and setting up the story, book two builds on it but doesn’t go anywhere, and three concludes the story with a big finale. My beta readers have told me they think book two is even better than the first book. Whew!
Q: What’s one of your favorite/funniest things someone has said to you about your books?
Keira: This falls under both a favorite and funny. I really enjoyed my sister’s comment when she was halfway through the first book. She said, “Keira, don’t get mad, okay? But you’re spelling heart wrong. You might want to fix that before you publish.”
Q: As a writer how do you keep from being discouraged?
Keira: Discouragement is around every corner for anything you do. It doesn’t matter if you’re an author, artist, actor, or any other avocation or occupation. There were times I had to pick myself up in the process, but it wasn’t the writing that discouraged me. I have a very healthy attitude about writer’s block – e.g. put it aside to ruminate about it for a day and/or keep pressing forward and write a little each day until I can break through to the next wave of inspiration.
Where I sometimes needed a pep-talk was in the promoting of the first book. I’m a one-woman show so it’s important to put effort where there’s a healthy return on investment. My attitude these days is that the worse anyone can say to me is no and if they do say no then I move on and keep pressing forward. If you don’t let setbacks faze you, you’ll realize every step you took (no matter how small) helped you reach the summit of success. You’ll never reach the top unless you take a little action every day.
Thanks again for having me on the blog!
Book Two in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy
Summary: If Zaria Fierce had her say, being a princess would mean you’d never have to wait for news. In the eight months since Olaf tricked her, Zaria has felt a near constant mixture of restlessness, listlessness, and hopelessness. When the time comes to fix past mistakes, she is more than ready to climb aboard the ship sailing towards the giants. Summertime in Norway promises many more adventures, but also many more perils… something sinister lurks beneath the surface following her every move, haunting her, disturbing her dreams, and stealing her peace. Can Zaria figure out what it is and stop it before it’s too late?
Release Date: November 6, 2015
Praise for Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest (Book 1):
“Are you in the mood for an old fashioned magical jaunt? Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett is a classic “perilous adventure” book for middle grade readers.” Jennifer Bardsley, The YA Gal
“A captivating blending of fantasy storytelling with today’s technology. At the base of this tale is deep, abiding friendship that stands the tests of time, adventure and even danger.” Kathy Haw, Goodreads Review
“A great book with a lovely story and amazing characters. It’s a fantasy and adventure book that will be the delight of Narnia fans and those looking for a bit of Norwegian folklore thrown into it.” Ner, A Cup of Coffee and a Book
“If you’re looking for an action-packed adventure dipped in fantasy, look no further. This book kept me on my toes with its many cliffhangers and plot twists; it was quite hard to put down at times.” Meredith, All ‘Bout Them Books and Stuff
“I love when a story jumps right in and hooks me like this one did. I highly recommend you look into it if you are in the mood for a fun adventure. I also recommend that you get it for any book loving middle schooler you know.” Emily, Midwestern Book Nerd
Filip slung his window open and tossed out his backpack. It landed in a thump in the hedgerow. Aleks pulled it out and slung it over his shoulder with his own bag.
“How’re you getting down?”
“Hopefully with your stargazer.”
“Then why toss down your bag?” Aleks asked, exasperated.
“Just in case,” Filip said with a wink at Zaria.
She suppressed a smile. She looked to the others, “Does anybody have rope?”
Aleks and Geirr both nodded. Then Geirr unzipped his bag and pulled out a neat coil from on top. He tossed it to Filip, who snatched it up as it sailed by the window. He disappeared into his bedroom and reappeared moments later slinging the coil out the window. It unraveled to the ground.
“Good,” Filip said briskly. “It’s long enough. Now let’s see if it holds.”
Filip quickly scaled the side of the house and they gathered their belongings preparing to dash. Without warning, Mrs. Storstrand stuck her head out of a bottom window and shrieked at the sight of them.
“Just what do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.
“Run!” Filip shouted, grabbing his friends’ sleeves and rushing for the street.
Aleks cursed and threw Filip his backpack while slinging his own around to the front and unzipping a pocket. He looked frazzled as he dug inside the opening. Mrs. Storstrand was quick. She was already out of the house and chasing after them. She threatened life and limb and the most terrible of all – letting Filip’s father know what he was about.
At last Aleks found the stargazer – a shiny purplish egg-shaped object perforated with stars – and almost dropped it in his haste. After a brief fumble, Aleks located the largest star, and hastily jabbed his finger into the hole. Just like that, Mrs. Storstrand froze mid-run. But so too did Christoffer, Filip, and Geirr.
Aleks looked at Zaria and to the others. “Damn,” he hissed. “Wait! How are you not frozen too?”
Author Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.