I had the opportunity to be on Brevard Notes again to talk about the newest book in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. I’m super excited to share it with you. I hope you enjoy the new TV interview!
Thank you everyone who came and joined me at the Melbourne Public Library for the author reading and book signing. I had so much fun sharing my book with you.
If you took pictures, I’d love to see them. You can e-mail your pictures to me at email@example.com.
Here are the highlights of the event:
Before the event started, I shared a little bit about Eoghan Kerrigan’s artwork in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy (incomplete).
Below is the video of the reading (incomplete, we ran out of space right at the very end):
Below is the audio (complete, includes Q&A) from the reading:
If you loved hearing the book read, you should check out Michele Carpenter’s narration of the Zaria Fierce books on Audible. She does an amazing job. She even gave me some tips for my reading today. I love her voices and you will too!
Transcript of the the Q&A Session
Q: When you wrote the book, did you imagine it in your head?
A: I definitely imagined it in my head. I imagine it when I read too. (Background: That’s what puts you there.) It’s like a movie. I can even picture some particular actresses and actors who could play the kids. That would be fun. Did you see it as a movie? (Background: Yes.)
Q: When you started writing it, did you – because you said it was like a movie – did you have advances like when you finished book one and you kind of knew where it was going? Or did that happen as you were writing it?
A: A bit of both. When I started the trilogy, I knew where I wanted to end the first book, I knew where the second book would end, and I knew how the trilogy would end, but all the steps in between, all the adventure part – how they get from point A to point B – was a total blank. It kind of came to me as I was writing.
Q: Were there some scenes that you had to rewrite several times before you liked them?
A: Yes. The one with Olaf at the bridge was one of those. I wanted to get it right.
Q: What about getting to a point where you may not be certain whether or not you want to go down one road or another? Would you stop and consider each one of them – options – and then decide whether or not that’s going to be best for the next book or the third book?
A: It really only happened once and that was while writing the second book. I got about halfway through book two and it occurred to me that I could end the book one way and have it be like how I originally planned, or I could end it another way and send the trilogy off into a series and have it be completely different. I did a little bit of exploratory writing for both, and I ended up sticking with my first gut instinct of where to end the second book, but it was fun to explore.
Q: What about writer’s block? Is that a reality for you like most writers?
A: Yes and no. A lot of time writer’s block for me is just a point where I’m kind of stuck. Since I don’t know the adventure – like what happens from point A and point B – I’ll get to midway between A and B, and I’ll be like where am I going to go next?
One of those places is in the first book. The kids are trapped in an underground troll city and they’re stuck in a prison and they have no way out. I kind of wrote myself into this big box and I was like, what am I going to do? They’re stuck in a prison cell. They don’t have any tools. They don’t have chains. It’s just rock and dirt and a door.
I put it aside for a day, I did my own thing, by the time I came back to it I knew the answer and without giving it away, it’s a pretty good answer. (Background: That’s awesome.)
Q: What about kids? How did you know kids would be the focal point of the book – of the product?
A: For writing it as a kids story? (Background: Yes, thank you.) I think I just knew that it was going to be that way because it’s just like what I loved to read going up was fantasy with Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and all my favorite book series like Half Magic. There’s just so much mystery and fantasy and stuff involved. And, at the core of all these stories is kids finding their way in these worlds and becoming heroes and heroines. I kind of liked that as an idea.
Your Pictures – Thanks for sharing with me!
Thanks for watching, listening, and reading! I had so much fun and I can’t wait for the next one. Happy Readings!
I’m over at Emily Reads Everything today sharing my favorite Norewegian magical kingdom. Will you guess right? Is it the mountain-trolls? Elves? Fairies? Giants? Dwarves? Join us and find out!
Q: How did you come up with the title of Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword?
I’ve said before that Zaria Fierce went through different plot ideas before she and I settled on the story arc we have today. (Yes, I do believe Zaria helped shape her story.) She was very stubborn and didn’t want to be in a Beauty and the Beast retelling or go to the Drakeland Institute for the Elite with other misfit fairy tale creatures. I kept all the original world-building documents on these ideas and as you can see Drakeland was a name I kept.
The title for the school plot line would have been Zaria Fierce and the Enchantment of the Drakeland Sword and with a small tweak it became the title for this book. I did for a brief time consider Zaria Fierce and the Acquisition of the Drakeland Sword, but that was a bit of a mouthful. I also considered just before publishing book one changing the title for book two to Drakelord Sword, but the connotation was different than I wanted and would have required changing Drakeland to Drakelord everywhere it was mentioned.
Q: Was the second book easier to write than the first book?
Yes and no. Yes, because a lot of the world, characters, and story arc had been defined in the first book. No, because I wanted to ensure the second book counted as much as the first and third in the trilogy. As a reader and blogger, I know a lot of trilogies and series fail to be as gripping in the second book as the first. I didn’t want the second book to fail readers’ expectations. I’m happy to say that if the reactions from my beta readers are any indication, then Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword is as good if not better than the first book.
Q: Where do your ideas come from?
I get them from everywhere! I save online articles about things that intrigue me, I follow tourism accounts on social media for settings I liked to place a story in, I research and dive into things various topics, and READING! It’s kind of like the rule of the internet – if you can think of it and can’t find it, make it… or in this case write it.
Q: Who has been your favorite character to write and why?
For the Zaria Fierce trilogy it’s Zaria of course. She came into being long before her story arc came to me. It’s been such a pleasure to go on this journey all over magical Norway with her. I think her message is special and important. Girls can be the heroines of their own stories and lives. It doesn’t mean you have to be alone and it doesn’t mean you have to be brave from the start. It’s about finding out that growing up happens when you take risks and when you keep true to yourself.
Q: Why did you decide to write?
I love reading and I’ve always been creative and had an outlet for that creativity. You could say it started in elementary school writing tons of little illustrated books, then in high school and college I focused on writing poetry, and then I turned to writing fanfic about my favorite stories… and then eventually my own stories. That was a pretty interesting leap for me and a difficult one, not because I couldn’t write, but because I was always second guessing the story ideas. In that way, Zaria Fierce has given me the courage I spoke about in the last question. It’s been thrilling to present my writing to the world.
Great news, readers! I have scheduled an author reading and book signing event at the Melbourne Public Library (on Fee Ave) on Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 1:30 PM. I will be reading from the first book in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest. After the reading there will be time for a Q&A session where you can ask me questions. Copies of both books will be on hand for purchase. I hope to see you there!
Details for Book Signing and Author Reading Event:
When: Sunday, November 15, 2015
Time: 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Where: Melbourne Public Library, Children’s Wing
540 E. Fee Ave
Melbourne, FL 32901
Hours of Operation:
Sunday | 1:00PM – 5:00PM
Cost of Books: $15 ea.
A: I set aside writing Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword to go over edits for the first book, which took several weeks. When I got back to the second book, I couldn’t remember what I’d been intending to do with the scene I was midway through, or where the story would go next. The idea had been plumb forgotten.
So I had to reread what I’d written. When I got to where I had stopped writing I still couldn’t remember. It felt like the story had stopped and the ideas for the world with it. My previous trick of giving it a day to come to me didn’t work this time. So each day I dabbled at the scene and added pitiful word counts to it. I spent too much time as I added, rewrote, and fleshed out the scene.
I started to wonder if my ending for the third book should be moved up in the timeline and happen in the second. Then I wondered if I did that, what would happen in book three? No es Bueno. I wanted the third book to keep its original ending. What to do?
Eventually, I sat down and pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote down the sequence of events that had already happened in the book. (It was not as detailed as the timeline I wrote for the first book which had a deadline to observe within the story.) Seeing it spelled out that way made it so easy to write down the next sequence of events… and the ones for book three.
I told you, I was both a plotter and a pantser. It takes both to create something magical.
Join me for the third part of my author interview series at ReinReads with Alysyn. Together we talk about collaboration, writing, inspiration, and book two. See you there! Thanks Alysyn for having me! 🙂
Check out part two in my interview series with Analee over at her blog Book Snacks. There I throw a friend under the bus, discuss Shakespeare and character names, and share tips about writer’s block.
Analee also gave Zaria Fierce an outstanding review. Here’s a quick sample:
A great book with vivid descriptions and relatable characters, I definitely recommend this for those of you who are looking for a middle-grade fantasy novel. 4 Stars
Thanks so much for hosting me, Analee! It’s been fun and I love the tour graphic you made for the post!
Check out my interview with Anjie over at her blog Love Thy Shelf in which I share my favorite children’s stories, talk about Zaria Fierce, and discuss writing.
Anjie also shared her thoughts on Zaria Fierce in this great review. Here’s a quick sample:
I really enjoyed Zaria’s story. It reminded me a lot of Percy Jackson series… Middle school children will absolutely like this one! 4 Stars
Thanks so much for having me Anjie!
I was browsing the web and came across a book marketing post with a fantastic idea. Create business cards for your book! So I did. Aren’t they lovely? I am really pleased by the brown border for the front of the card. It grounds the book cover and gives the card some weight. Also, it’s just a gorgeous cover! 🙂
I honestly can’t wait to hand these out to people that I meet.
Stranger: “What do you do?”
Me: “I’m an author! I just published my first book.”
Stranger: “That’s awesome, what’s it about?”
Me: “An American girl in Norway whose best friend is kidnapped by an ugly troll.”
Stranger: “That’s so creative. What’s the title?”
Me: “Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest. Here take my card.”
Stranger: “Wow! That’s the cover? It looks so good!”
Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest was mentioned in the Florida Today newspaper – online and offline! What a thrill!