I am so excited to have Keira Gillet on the blog today! Keira is the author of the Zaria Fierce trilogy, which I have talked about quite a few times on the blog. I love having her here, and I think she has a lot of interesting things to share with us today. So, I turn it over to you Keira!
Good day readers! My name is Keira Gillett and I’m the author behind the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. Emily has been absolutely wonderful over the past few years as I’ve written it. She invited me to talk about some things that inspired scenes in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. I thought I would share three things for each book.
Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest:
- On a trip to Europe, just before beginning Zaria’s tale as we would all come to know it, I came across some trolls over a door lintel in Bratislava, Slovakia. The expression on this one inspired Olaf.
- Once I knew Zaria would be set in Norway and that her antagonist would be a devious troll named Olaf, I began to look into John Bauer’s artwork. When I saw this piece, I knew I wanted Zaria to transverse the Norse landscape on a mysterious forest creature of her own.
- Zaria would meet Olaf in the same manner as the goats do in the folktale Three Billy Goats Gruff, but unlike the goats, Zaria wouldn’t escape unscathed from her encounter.
Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword:
- The Tall Ships Race is a real event and was actually held in Fredrikstad, Norway very recently. I watched videos and even stumbled upon the event brochure. I was wicked tempted to put Backstreet Boys into the story. Alas that little nugget didn’t make the cut.
- I ran across a picture of three foxes sticking their head through the same hole right around the time that I took the story to Niffleheim and that is why the fey could transform into foxes.
- I’m a huge fan of board games and I play regularly with friends all kinds of fabulous ones that you probably never heard of. I wanted to include one into the book so I invented my own! Here’s a picture of it with the book.
Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes:
- I came across a real location for an astronomy academy / castle, which had quatrefoil-shaped grounds. I was sold and quickly wrote that in for the Under Realm. A quatrefoil is one of my sorority’s symbols.
- The Gjallarbrú is a covered bridge in folklore with a gold roof. From my travels through Europe, I’ve actually crossed a delightful covered bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland. A lot of the descriptions for my bridge are pulled from my vacation photos.
- I listened to a lot of thematic music for the third book. Songs which said to me a battle is coming, a battle is coming, a battle is coming, beware, beware. You are welcome to peruse the playlist I listened to often while I wrote by going here.
Thank you Emily for having me today! Now over to you, dear readers:
What things inspire you to create? I’d love to hear about them! Share in a comment below.
Book Three in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy
Summary: “Nothing can save you now, Princess.”
How can anyone be tricked twice? Isn’t there even a saying about that? Zaria Fierce is determined to get things right this time and with the Drakeland Sword in her possession she’s ready to take on trolls, dragons, and whatever else may come… but first she and her friends are going to have to figure out just how much trouble they’re in at home.
Release Date: July 1, 2016
Praise for Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes (Book 3):
“That’s the great thing about the Zaria Fierce trilogy: adventure is fast, furious, and loaded with Norse mythology, but the friendship between Zaria and her group of friends is the heart that drives this story.” Rosemary, Mom Read It
“I think the Zaria Fierce series mixes together all the things that I love about reading fantasy books, there is a sense of good versus evil, strong friendships, dragons, gorgeous illustrations, a captivating world, a perfect middle-grade book for someone looking for an action packed story filled with Norse mythology.” – Brenda, Log Cabin Library
“Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes was a spectacular conclusion to a great trilogy (though the ending left the door open for more adventures). Filled with magic, a great story line, amazing and real characters, wonderful settings and beautifully explored themes, Keira Gillett created a trilogy that I will always cherish and will visit anytime. If you like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, The Spiderwick Chronicles or simply love a book filled with Norwegian folklore and fantasy, then this is the ultimate series for you to read, devour and lose yourselves in.” – Ner, A Cup of Coffee and a Book
Hector was right that the group wasn’t far from Malmdor. They reached the entrance before night fell, and in the gloomy dusk that slipped around them like a cloak, they reached the edge of the forest and stopped. Below them in a wide clearing was an abandoned quarry filled with water.
The lake was nestled at the bottom of a deep, steep pit. Its deep blue water was smooth and glassy, protected from wind by the rocky walls and surrounding forest. Zaria could see the lakebed in the shallower areas. Something large swam in the center, too deep to see clearly.
“What is that?” asked Filip, having spotted the creature at the same time.
Hector said, “It’s a water-wyvern.”
“Is that like the Loch Ness Monster?” asked Christoffer. “Cool. No wonder they can’t find it in Scotland.”
“You haven’t seen a winter-wyvern,” Zaria said. “I bet it’s more like Norwick.”
“The flying snow leopard-bear-bat thing you told me about? Even better,” Christoffer said, rubbing his hands together in glee. “Do we get to meet it?”
“Is it friendly?” worried Geirr.
“The beastie is not friendly,” said Hector, grimly. “And yes, we will be meeting it. Water-wyverns are wild, unpredictable creatures. This one is particularly nasty. It was captured and transported to this quarry lake over a century ago. It can’t escape – water-wyverns aren’t able to live out of water for very long. This makes it very angry. The lake is too small for him.”
“That’s what I was afraid of,” Geirr said, stuffing his hands into his pockets. “So, can it eat us?”
Hector nodded. “It once devoured an entire legion of dwarf handlers because they smelled bad. They’ve showered regularly ever since.”
Geirr looked at Zaria. “Why?” he moaned. “Why do we have to meet it?”
“Look on the bright side, mate,” Filip said, clapping Geirr on the back. “Maybe we get to ride it.”
Hector shook his head. “The water-wyvern is the guardian of Malmdor. Its job is to keep out all trespassers.”
Christoffer sighed, disappointed. “Too bad. I would have loved to ride him.”
“Will we have to feed it to get by it? What does a water-wyvern eat?” Aleks asked, readjusting his backpack and bow.
“It eats whatever it can catch,” Hector said forebodingly. “We’ll have to be careful as we near the shoreline. A water-wyvern might not have much in the way of limbs, being adapted to the water, but it has enough leg-power to propel itself onto the shore and attack.”
“At least it can’t fly,” said Geirr, relieved. “Small favors.”
Zaria and her friends gasped as it breached the surface, blowing out a large stream of air. The water-wyvern was magnificent with a gray-and-white pattern. It had a seahorse face, with a long snout, and no ears. The top of its head bore a wavy crest that trailed down its neck.
As the creature dove beneath the water, it flipped its body into the air. There were no scales anywhere on it, as far as she could see. Zaria half-expected a whale fluke, but its tail looked like an eel’s. The thing was massive, at least four times bigger than Norwick, and hideous.
They stood there, watching the shifting, undulating, shadow in the water. Aleks wore a pensive frown, his brown eyes narrowed. “Does it have a name?”
“The dwarves call it Vingar.”
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.