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!
I was interviewed by Jackie Pantello about my book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest on Brevard Notes, a local television show last week. Below is a video of the interview. I hope you enjoy!