|If you missed the midnight release party for Aleks Mickelsen and the Eighth Fox Throne War last month, you can watch the replay, which is now available on YouTube. Grab a friend and try your luck at some Seriously Fierce Trivia, and take a spin on book bingo.|
|One of the fun and new things about Aleks’ most recent adventure is that both Eoghan Kerrigan and I drew illustrations for it. Join me at Brenda’s blog, The Log Cabin Library, to learn more about my process and see examples. Drop a comment if there’s anything else you’d like to know about the books.|
Thanks for joining me today, I’m delighted to share with you the start of a new series of blog posts here on my author website.
In these Ask Me Anything posts I will answer questions you have submitted about Zaria, about myself, about writing, etc. The following questions were submitted by Tommy, Nate, Lizzy, and Michele.
Let’s dive in!
Q: Have you ever dreamed about your characters or their world?
A: I day dream about them all the time. I try to be good and write down these snippets as they come to me. I don’t always use them, but I like keeping a record of them. A lot of great ideas come when I am sitting down quietly somewhere and mull over the characters, world, and plots.
Q: If you could meet one of your characters, any one at all, which would you most like to meet and why?
A: I’m such an author when I say this – I’d love to meet any and all of them! If you’re going to force me to choose, I would say Zaria, Aleks, and Christoffer because they’re the leads in the different trilogies which make up the Zaria Fierce Series. I’d like the chance to hug them and tell them I’m not always a mean author. For pure fun: I’d pick Hector. For a pet: I would choose Norwick.
Q: If an evil Fey cast a spell on you that caused you to be able to say only one phrase for the rest of your life, what phrase would you choose? Would you be able to outsmart the evil fey with your phrase?
A: Since I can pick the phrase – I would pick, “I love you.” I think that phrase alone would eventually be able to break such a curse, if the person under its spell truly felt the words for everyone, even towards the curser.
Q: What was your favorite book when you were a kid?
A: So many! I read a bunch of the Sunshine State Award books, which is how I found Ella Enchanted (one of my all time favorite Cinderella stories) and a bunch of series. I read Nancy Drew, Animorphs, Harry Potter, and Encyclopedia Brown when I was younger and Twilight, Mrs. Murphy, Cat Who, Bernie Rhodenbarr, and Stephanie Plum when I was older. I love reading and I am very grateful that I can add my own worlds to those that I grew up on.
Q: Which of your book characters do you think you’re most like and why?
A: It’s a funny thing, being an author. I could pick any character and probably say – this or this about them is me. Zaria is my bookworm happy self. I always carry a book on me. She’s also many things I strive to be – kind, caring, warm, tenderhearted. Aleks is my more practical side that tries to see the big picture and look for the best route to proceed. Christoffer shares a lot of my humor and that of my husband’s as well. Hector is more how I see myself as an adult. Nori is how I think my younger sisters felt about me at times growing up (siblings always seem to pick on each other, don’t they?).
Q: What’s your typical day like?
A: Filled with work during the day, and lots of things in the evenings depending on the day of the week. Tuesdays and Saturdays I do ballet. Wednesdays I eat dinner with the folks and go to church. Thursdays and Fridays tend to be date nights with the hubby. Weekends I spend doing chores and errands. Sundays is church again, lunch with the folks, and evenings spent with friends playing board games. In between all that I slice out time each day to write. I have several word goals that are always active, which keep me motivated and help me track how far along I am in a book.
Q: What’s your biggest challenge while writing a book?
A: The beginning of a trilogy always seems to be the hardest for me, and while a trilogy ending isn’t necessarily a challenge to write down the first time, I always have to go back and think it through slowly as I strive to ensure it covers all the points necessary to wrap up and also leave readers satisfied.
Q: If you were president and could institute a system to help kids be better educated, what would you institute?
A: I think reading and literacy is key for a child – it’s creative, it’s informative, and it’s good to have the comprehension skills which are built from reading as an adult. I would probably build on existing intuitions which support these activities for kids. It’s not always about something new, but adapting what’s in place for the current needs.
Q: Who’s your biggest role model?
A: There’s a lot of people I admire in life. I tend to connect well with older women who fill roles of friend, mentor, aunt, mom, and/or grandma. I find these women to be some of the kindest, most generous people I know and they motivate and inspire me.
Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: Purple! Almost any shade. It’s hard to find a purple I don’t like.
Q: If Zaria were going to make a YouTube channel, what would it be about?
A: Zaria would have a booktube channel and a magic channel, although on her magic channel people wouldn’t realize it was actual magic.
Q: Have you ever seen a real deer or elk up close?
A: I have pet a doe in a zoo. I have seen elk and moose at national parks. I have yet to see them as close as the deer from the petting zoo though.
Q: From your experiences travelling the world, what’s your favorite food from any part of the world?
A: I remember these amazing raspberry popsicles from a trip to Finland when I was eleven. I wanted one every day. I remember dining on red chicken curry in France at the same age (and today it’s one of my all time favorite foods). I remember eating something like egg foo young/quiche in China at fifteen, but I couldn’t tell you what it was, only that I loved it. As I have gotten older, I’ve learned to try more things and over time my palette has expanded and I like a lot of things you couldn’t have paid me to eat as a kid – asparagus, macaroni, sushi, bacon, cheese (that isn’t cheddar), beans, fries, just to name a few.
Q: If you could do anything at all, job wise, what would it be?
A: Write books full time!
Q: What did you like about school, growing up?
A: I enjoyed learning a lot and making friends. Lunch time was always spent reconnecting with everyone from various periods. Favorite classes probably were English, French, and art, but I liked all the science and history and math ones too. I made the honor roll often.
Q: Can you name all the names of all the characters in your book without looking?
A: I’d come pretty close. The side characters that haven’t had a second appearance yet in the series, might be a touch problematic. If you asked me to name everyone who I’ve thought up but haven’t put in the books yet, that would almost be impossible. Luckily, I have an immense spreadsheet with all this detail, and another one with all their physical and personality descriptors. In between books, I generally read or listen to the whole series again so I don’t miss anything or anyone, and I look at all my notes to remind myself where I want to go next.
If you have a question that you would like to ask me, submit it to email@example.com or leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from you.
Did you miss the midnight party for Aleks Mickelsen and the Call of the White Raven? Now you can watch the replay. Thank you so much to everybody who came and participated and to my lovely and talented cohosts – Tommy and Michele Carpenter. You are all amazing and made my night. Happy book birthday to Aleks (again 😉)
Games are also posted here for your enjoyment. How many can you complete? They’re tough but doable! Good luck!!
Congratulations to Davita, Nate, Tommy, Gus for winning at book bingo. Thanks everyone for playing.
I can’t wait to meet up with everyone again at the next release. It is tentatively scheduled for late December 2018. What would you like to do or talk about? Let me know in the comments.
Don’t forget to leave reviews on the books! They help so much and mean the world.
I’m excited to share with you my first ever podcast interview. I had a blast hanging out with Jocqueline Protho of The Audio Flow for her podcast Bookin’ Around Town. Join us as we discuss the Zaria Fierce Series -> naming Zaria Fierce, diversity in the series, Aleks Mickelsen’s changeling status, illustrations, audio book creation, and more. Listen, like, and share!
Listen to “Bookin’ Around Town with Keira Gillett”
Until next time – happy readings/listenings!
Hi my fiercelings!
I got a fun video the other day from Nathan, in which he asked me questions about the Zaria Fierce Series. It’s been a blast to answer them! I hope you enjoy. 😀
P.S. – The dragon names are on page 291 of book 3: Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes.
If you have questions of your own that you’d like to submit, feel free to e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear from you!
Thank you everyone who came out last Saturday for my book reading at the Suntree Viera Library! It was so nice to run into new and longtime fans. Some fun things I got to try out this time was my new table display for my book business cards, my new banner, and my Seriously Fierce scale necklaces. What do you think? Aren’t they fabulous?
If you missed the event, here’s a recap and rewind. You can watch my reading of chapter two from the book here:
Highlights from the Q&A + Transcript:
Audience: Do you work with Eoghan Kerrigan, as if he was like a police artist, so that this is actually what you’re imagining when you’re writing?
Me: I wouldn’t say he works like he’s a police artist. He doesn’t pick my brain to quite that extent. He gets documents (and the book itself) that have all the characters pulled out so that he has their descriptions. For the especially important characters, we do a series of mock-ups, and I pick the ones that feel more like my character. In that way we do what you’re talking about.
So if it’s a hooked nose, or a sharp pointed nose… he knows the details of how they’re described. He’ll take the information and interpret it. It’s as fun for me to see how what I’m saying from my mind and how I’m picturing it to how he interprets it. Some of them are really close, and some are so much better than how I pictured. They’re fabulous and I love working with him.
Audience: Good, good, because when you’re reading you’re always picturing in your mind, and if you got the illustrations as a visual clue for what they look like, instead of us going off on a tangent. It’s nice to know what they look like.
Me: What’s also fun that gives you another dimension of how the characters look is if you hear the audio book and how Michele’s does it, because she interprets how the voices are going to sound. In this book, there’s a bunch of trolls, and she has to go back and remember how the returning trolls sound. They were described as having voices, deep, and guttural, and grumbling, and so she has a variety of voices.
Now we have teenage trolls this time, who are all about the same age as the kids. There’s older trolls, conniving trolls, silly trolls, so they all have a variety of sounds and when she whips them out one right after the other, “I’m like how do you do that?” because it’s hard enough for me to do even Nori’s voice, and she’s not a troll, but a high pitched female.
Audience: So you have to remember which voice you’re doing?
Me: Yes, but she does a fabulous job with them and I feel it gives you a different dimension to how you picture the characters too. If a troll talks like this (deep) you’re going to picture him very (muscular) versus talking like this “Hello” (higher pitched). She also does the brownie voices and they get very squeaky, so you kind of get an idea of height and breadth simply based on how she does the voices. It’s really cool actually.
Audience: Who is Svein?
Me: He’s… well, I don’t want to say a throwaway character, because you never know when someone comes back, but he’s a character who’s just hanging around by the airport, when the kids go up and fly, and he knew Geirr. So he’s kind of like a copilot and tour guide. He’s like the older representative to convey to the inspectors and everybody at the scene after the crash that Geirr is an excellent pilot and knows what he’s doing. He’s there to be a witness to say that the plane didn’t crash because Geirr is a bad pilot, but to say the plane crashed because of something else, which is important because otherwise poor Geirr might never fly again.
I’ll wrap up by saying thank you again to everyone for making it out to see me. I had a blast!
Join me for a reading from the fourth book in the Zaria Fierce Series at the Suntree Viera Public Library. Following the reading there will be time for a Q&A and a chance to get your books signed. There will be a limited number of books available for purchase at the event. I have a lot of fun planned and I hope to see you there!
When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Book: Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Where: Suntree Viera Public Library
Address: 902 Jordan Blass Dr.
Melbourne, FL 32940
Phone: (321) 255-4404
Hours: Sat. 9AM–5PM
Book Cost: $15 ea.
Zaria Fierce and Aleks Mickelsen are the perfect gifts for a reader in your life.
RSVP on Facebook: Direct Link
Hi Fiercelings! I’m over at Brenda’s blog, Log Cabin Library, dishing on my writing and Aleks’ first adventure as the MC in the Zaria Fierce Series. Here’s a sneak peek of what I revealed in the post:
Grandmothers: Hearing Michele narrate for Grizzle, I realized I really do love my grandmother figures in the series and have only one grandfather mentioned, and so far he’s been off-page, this is probably because I was super close to my own grandma. I didn’t really know my grandfathers, who passed away before I really was of age to remember them. In the series, we now have Ava, who’s hip and cool; Granny who’s sugary sweet and absent-minded; the witch in the woods, who’s a bit crazy, but sly as a fox; and Grizzle, who’s tough as nails so don’t cross her.
Earlier Brenda wrote an amazing review of Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well. Below is a quote from her review, and if you follow this link you can read it in full.
There’s just something so comforting about returning to Zaria and the gang, while also learning more about Aleks’ story. Gillett’s books always include plenty of action and I love the adventures that the gang has across Norway as they try to prevent Fritjof’s escape. I’m very curious about what the future has in store for Aleks.
Thanks so much, Brenda for your kind words and having me back on your blog! Be sure to head over and read my guest post revealing fun facts about the books because at the bottom is a chance for a fun giveaway. Ends 8/20/2017. Good luck!
In case you missed it, I did an author interview with book blogger Kathy of The Novelty of Life.
Here’s a sneak peek of what we talked about:
Kathy: Why did you decide to switch the main character from Zaria to Aleks?
Keira: Zaria fought her dragon. Plus, I knew there was a story to tell in Niffleheim, which brings me to Aleks. His character arc always intrigued me and I wanted to explore it more…
Read the rest of the interview here, be sure to leave a comment on her site because someone is going to win a Fierce Scale Necklace. The winner gets to choose their color – will you pick one that reminds you a dragon in the series like Koll, a winter-wyvern like Norwick, or a river-troll like Olaf?
Michele Carpenter and I had an absolute blast hosting the live event midnight release party on Facebook for Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well. We had lots of comments as we went which was so much fun! Thank you guys for making it so special. If you missed it you can watch the replay here:
There’s still some time to enter the scavenger hunt contest. Be sure you take the time to do so! The winner gets a signed copy of Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well. Contest closes 7/9/17 at 10 PM EST. This contest is open internationally, and your entry can be posted to Instagram or the Zaria Fierce FB page with the hashtag #zariafierceparty
It should look something like this:
Good luck! As for the other prize, the Zaria Fierce necklace, congratulations again to Megan for winning the Zaria Fierce book bingo!
The book is now available in e-book and print with the audio book soon to follow. Thank you again everyone who came out and joined Michele and I. We were so excited and thrilled to celebrate Aleks with you. I look forward to your thoughts on Aleks. Enjoy and happy readings!
I had a great time last Saturday at the grand opening of the Titusville Splash Park. I heard about the event through my friend Amy. She knew I was looking for opportunities to bring my books to the public and this community event was a perfect match. I even got to meet the mayor! The kids had a great time with the goodies provided by the various vendors and the splash park was a huge success.
Lots of wonderful people came by the tent to inquire about my books and I gave out lots of cards, encouraging them to look me up on Amazon and to check the books out from the county library system. Zaria and I made some new fans which is great. I couldn’t ask for better!
One thing I plan to get, and in fact have already ordered, is an official banner to put in front of my table for future events. It’s the only thing I would change. Thanks everyone for stopping by and saying hello. Here are some highlights of the day!