Previously I was asked if I listened to music while writing. I do, and here is a playlist featuring songs I listened to while writing Zaria Fierce the Secret of Gloomwood Forest. What music came to mind for you when you read the book?
A: Starting. I had several rough starts for the first book in the Zaria Fierce trilogy. I believe this was because I wasn’t fully invested in those first few ideas. The best part of each rough start was the description of Zaria Fierce. I honed her as a character and abandoned those early drafts. I wrote the prologue that would start Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest in May 2014. I didn’t pick it up again until late September. When I did Zaria’s story was at my fingertips and the rest was easy.
A: 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 around a now abandoned plot for Zaria, but the titles within were gold to me. Even as I abandoned the overall plot I kept returning to the titles and the titles spun little intricate webs until they gathered into a cohesive whole and inspired the current plot for the trilogy. As pulled from this original world building document, 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
Do you have a favorite?
A: Yes, I do! Almost always. The music I listen to when I write is generally free of lyrics such as classical music or instrumentals. I like listening to lyric-free music because it is not distracting and can enhance a mood of a scene. I imagine sometimes that the track I’m listening to would play in the background of a movie-version of Zaria Fierce.
A: I have three. The first is when Zaria and Geirr meet Norwick for the first time. I like it because Zaria is undaunted by a ferocious mythical wild animal. The second is when the children escape from their cell in Trolgar. It’s a favorite because it was a part of the story where I felt blocked. The answer ending up being a fresh twist on a cliché. The third is Zaria’s escape on the elk through the forest. It’s magical to me.
A: In some respects. Zaria and I are both avid readers. She likes mythology and fantasy and so do I, but I also like many other genres of fiction. Like Zaria I had one friend at a time until suddenly I had many. Unlike Zaria, I’m not sure I would have been able to climb onto a wyvern and pull a spear from his back. In that respect she is a lot braver than me. I do not intend to get that close to wild animals.
This is how I imagined Zaria’s birthday outfit:
Stand Collar Long Wool Blend Coat (Petite) from Nordstrom’s
Lyssé Control Top Leggings from Nordstrom’s
A: A girl is usually considered in the role of damsel in distress. She’s not often considered to have the strength and courage it takes to save the day. Even Zaria doesn’t think she’s brave, or strong, or heroic at the start of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, but she is, and she’s about to find it out for herself.
A: I have a friend whose name is Zarabeth and I always thought it was cool that her name began with a ‘Z,’ so I started there. Obviously, I couldn’t just use her name so I thought of other ways to say ‘Sarah.’ There are a lot! I settled on Zaria because Zaria means princess which has significance in the story.
Her last name came to me very quickly. Zaria would be a girl who longed for adventure, but didn’t think she was capable of it because she was shy. Zaria Timid is silly, but Zaria Fierce is not. And, fierceness is the characteristic she will learn that she has had all along.