Hello and welcome. Today I have special guest, Keira Gillett, author of the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, released 06 March 2015. Watch the book trailer to learn more:
Q: Why did you choose a girl as the main character?
Keira Gillett: I had a male friend once say to me that stories with girls as the main character aren’t as good as stories with boys as the main character. So, of course, I had to prove him wrong. Girls are just as great as boys and they have equally fascinating stories to tell, so move over Harry Potter. (Just kidding, I love Harry Potter. Let’s be friends!)
Q: How did you get the idea for Zaria Fierce?
Keira: It started with a name. As a fan of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Artemis Fowl, I knew I wanted to title my stories similarly and began to think up names for the main character. Shakespeare might say that a rose by any other name would be just as sweet, but a rose by any other name would not be the same. That’s why I think parents take time to choose names for their children that have significance, that they like, that they see having a wonderful future. Parents don’t pick names they hate after all. Neither do authors (or at least not this author!) Like with children, a name can shape a story, so it was doubly important to find the right name. Zaria Fierce as a character came to me before I knew her story. Then, once we met, we worked together to find out just what it was she had to say.
Q: How did you come up with the title for Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest?
Keira: When I was world building for Zaria Fierce, I started a document to contain all of my ideas such as titles, plot bunnies, characters, places, and more. This document was centered on a plot for Zaria that was eventually abandoned, but the titles within this document were gold to me. I kept returning to the titles again and again, tweaking them here and there. Eventually the titles spun little intricate webs until they gathered into a cohesive whole and inspired the current plot for the trilogy. Other possible titles that Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest could have been, include:
- Zaria Fierce and the Mystery of Gloomwood Forest
- Zaria Fierce and the Hart of Frostwood Forest
- Zaria Fierce and the Glasswood Quest
- Zaria Fierce and the Thornwood Torch
- Zaria Fierce and the Banished Knights of Banewood Forest
A forest setting was apparently calling, begging to be the host of this fabulous tale. 😉
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Keira: In first grade my teacher, Mrs. White, encouraged her class to use the computer to type our stories. They were usually short, frequently misspelled, and each page was a sentence long with room enough to spare for illustrations. I had fifty or more of these books which were bound in construction paper and lovingly stored away by my mother for many years. I think my hope of one day being a published writer started there.
Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?
Keira: There’s no right or wrong answer to this question because there are multiple ways to get unblocked. For me, with this book, I stopped writing and put the story away. Then for the rest of the day I would do something else. I wouldn’t try to force something out onto the page, or try to up my word count. I would walk away and get out and do stuff. The solution for what to do next would be revealed and I’d start writing again the next day feeling refreshed and inspired to keep going. The ability to just walk away for a short time took a lot of the pressure off and that helped with creativity too.
Thanks for having me here today! It’s been a pleasure!
Book Blurb: On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.
“With kids interested in “Frozen,” with Anna and Elsa, this would be a natural progression.” – Judi Oswald, Reference Librarian
See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.
Geirr stooped to pick up some decent-sized sticks, and Zaria bent to grab a few too. They talked amicably and walked, stretching their legs, until they were too burdened by their loads to keep going.
“My arms are going to collapse,” Zaria huffed. Her breath fogged around her face, covering and then revealing a well-pinked nose and cheeks. “Let’s head back to camp.”
“Sounds good to me,” Geirr said and turned around to do just that. Zaria followed and collided into him, dropping her load of kindling all over the ground.
“Hey!” she exclaimed, as she went to gather them. “Why did you stop?”
“I don’t think we’re going to find camp,” Geirr said, worrying his lip. He juggled his armful of wood and pointed haphazardly forward. “It’s like pea soup.”
Zaria looked up from playing fifty-two pickup and saw what worried Geirr. In front of them was a wall of fog, thick, viscous, and impossible to see through. She gulped and carefully set down the pile she’d been working to gather again. Was it her imagination or did the fog seem to be breathing? It crept closer in stages. Not fast enough that she saw it while looking directly at it, but if she looked away and back, it most definitely moved.
“Uh, Geirr,” Zaria said, slowly gaining her feet. “I think we should move and fast.”
Geirr looked at her puzzled. “I don’t think fast is an option here. Now if you pick up your stack and stick near me maybe we can Marco Polo our way back to the others.”
“Geirr,” Zaria hissed, her voice ratcheting higher. “The fog is moving.” He didn’t look impressed. The breathing sounds from within the fog grew louder, distressing Zaria. “No seriously, it’s moving like it’s alive.”
Geirr looked back again and stared hard, trying to penetrate the fog with his gaze alone. Zaria started to ease away, firewood forgotten.
“Come on, Geirr, we have to move. Can’t you hear the breathing?”
“That isn’t you?” he asked, alarmed.
“No!” Zaria shouted. “Run!”
See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.
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.