One of my favorite authors to work with contacted me and asked if I could feature her new book so I said OF COURSE. Kiera Gillett is such a sweet person and I really and truly hope that you read her books and support her (no she didn’t tell me to say this). Below is an interview mixed with author-written questions and questions of my own. The giveaway is mixed in with the answers, so make sure to read it! Check out the book here and enjoy!
The fourth book in Keira Gillett’s Zaria Fierce Series, Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well released earlier this month. It continues the story, set in the same magical world of Norway, but this time following Zaria’s changeling friend. Never fear though, the whole gang is back, a little older, and ready to navigate through new adventures, crushes, and teenage trolls. Today, I am pleased to bring Keira Gillett back to talk about her newest book. There’s also a giveaway at the end, so stay tuned!
About the Author: Keira Gillett
Hi everyone! I’m Keira Gillett and I am from Palm Bay, Florida. By day I am a technical publications librarian; by night I’m a children’s author. I own a dog, named Oskar, after a giant ruler in the Zaria Fierce Series I write. He’s my little foxy-baby, and has me wrapped around his little paw. We have lots of fun adventures together, which you can follow on Instagram with the hashtag #oskarpie.
Kathy: Keira, let’s get started by you telling us a little bit about yourself.
Keira: Thanks for having me back, Kathy! I’m so thrilled to be here. When I’m not writing books, I love to watch sci-fi shows, Korean TV dramas, rom-coms, Survivor, and heist movies. I also read a ton, but this year has been a slower year than most for me, mostly because I discovered Survivor and watched every season I could get my hands on. Oops. LOL I also got married this year to a wonderful man. The wedding itself was beautiful and Oskar got to be a part of the occasion. Every week or so my husband and I really enjoy getting together with friends. We cook dinner and play board games. Our newest obsession is escape rooms. We’ve done four so far, and a fifth one is happening very soon. Our current escape rate is 50%, though we like to say its 75% because we had a bum lock in one room and only got partial time back for it.
Keira: The post discussed why I thought authors should do them. It’s a great way to research how clues and teamwork help or hinder investigations and puzzle-solving. Many of my favorite books involve clever riddles and plot lines with many interacting pieces – clues and people. I play escape rooms for fun, but the benefit I can see for my writing is tremendous. I won’t say too much more, other than that puzzle-solving is particularly important for book five in the series.
Kathy: Tease! I can’t wait to see how that plays out. So what can you tell us about Aleks’ story?
Keira: One of the things I love about Aleks’ story is that it brings us full circle through the world. We visit the trolls and elves again, just like in book one, but these have changed. The kids are a little older and wiser, and they’ve traveled to these places before. They have established friends and enemies. A new dragon is on the loose and all that makes a difference on the plots and story woven.
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. I grew up on the Little Mermaid (which ties with Beauty and the Beast as my favorite Disney princess movie), and I always thought it was neat that Ariel wanted to be human. Most character plots involve ordinary people wanting to be extraordinary (and yes I am aware that being human to Ariel would be extraordinary to her, but you know what I mean).
Aleks’ internal struggle focuses on his heart’s deepest desire – to be human. It’s sometimes puts him at odds with his human friends, like Christoffer, who would love nothing more than to be magical. There’s also a deadline for turning human hanging over his head. If Aleks’ isn’t home for his sixteenth birthday, he will have missed his one and only chance. So to him there’s nothing worse than a dragon with bad timing making a move.
Kathy: What was your biggest challenge while writing this book?
Keira: There were a few. The first and foremost was defining limits to Zaria’s magic, because on the surface it sounds like she has it made. If she can think it up she can make it happen. In the previous book we established that her magic isn’t tied down and can’t be gagged because she doesn’t need – to paraphrase Professor Snape – “foolish wand-waving or silly incantations” – to make things happen. Hand motions and words aren’t how she produces magic, but this can’t get out or the dragons will come at her with guns blazing. It then became important to establish that just because she can’t be locked up, doesn’t mean she’s infallible, or the instant solution to problems the kids face along the way. Sometimes it requires good old-fashion teamwork and legwork.
Kathy: What advice do you have for new writers?
Keira: I find that there are three hurdles for new writers and I ran into all three. Some were easier for me to jump over, but others required me to be persistent and patient. The first hurdle new authors face is starting a book. You have an idea and you talk about it, but are reluctant to start. It could be because you have no idea how to start, or you think it’s going to turn out bad, but whatever the reason, roll up your sleeves and dig in. The second hurdle is getting past the opening sequences and chapters. You start second guessing everything you wrote before. Now the idea, which so excited you, may feel stupid or garbage. Ignore that. That’s just nerves. Keep plugging away. If you’re stuck at this hurdle, and it’s not that you’re worried your enthusiasm deflated, it could be because you’re not sure where to take the story next. In that case, make yourself write a little each day until you get past that slump. Analyze your favorite book or series and see how that author approached the middle section of their story. It may inspire you. The last hurdle is finishing the book. Don’t let the story languish and gather digital cobwebs. It deserves and ending and so do you. You’ve come this far, now is not the time to run out of steam. My advice for new writers is to just get in there, get up to your elbows in your story idea and just go for it. Lay it all out on the table and get her done. The first draft is for you. Go on tangents, take the road less traveled, do the obvious thing, whatever. Editing, polishing, fleshing out, tightening up, that all happens in drafts 2 through (insert number here), until you’re satisfied with the telling.
Kathy: Have you reflected any characteristics of yourself or people you know in your characters?
Keira: Oh goodness, yes! Zaria is my bookworm happy self. She and I could gab books all day long and be satisfied. Christoffer is my “I think I’m super funny” self. He also has a bit of my husband’s humor too. Merry is very much my mother – a cool, work from home, you can totally play hooky with me, always there for you kind of mom. Vingar takes after my dog Oskar when he’s being playful and silly. Nori in all her annoying traits is probably how my siblings see me LOL I promise I’m not that bad, she’s a bit of an exaggeration. For the most part though, the characters are themselves.
Kathy: You’ve written several books prior to this one, how has your writing process changed since then?
Keira: I’m more inclined to write sequences in the books out of order. I’m currently drafting book 6, but book 7 and book 9 in the series have called to me and I’ve taken the time to write those scenes out so I won’t forget them. Other than that I think the process is pretty much the same. I partially plot, and I leave enough blank to have the characters take me where they will. I know the ending I’m aiming for, but the journey is as much for the characters and reader as it is for me.
Kathy: Thank you Keira for dropping by. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us here at Novelty of Life. I’ll let you introduce the giveaway.
Keira: The pleasure is all mine! I hope everyone loves Aleks’ stories as much as they have loved Zaria’s.
To celebrate the release of Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well, I’m hosting a giveaway for interested readers. The winner will receive a dragon scale necklace (in the color of your choosing) that I will make for you, and a Dropcard containing a digital copy of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest and other goodies. Open internationally. Ends 8/6/2017.
To enter leave a comment on this blog asking me a question or sharing who your favorite Zaria Fierce character is and why. To get a bonus entry share this post on Twitter with the hashtag #zfgiveaway. For another share your favorite Zaria Fierce book cover on Instagram using the same hashtag #zfgiveaway. Good luck!
Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well by Keira Gillett
Book 4 in the Zaria Fierce Series
“It’s time for you to come home.”
Something strange is happening in Norway and Aleks Mickelsen is the only one to notice. It began innocently enough; his mom stuck the car keys in the fridge and couldn’t find them, and Christoffer forgot how to get to Aleks’ house – silly things like that. But what started out as minor idiosyncrasies in others became more disturbing as people began having accidents. Automobiles snarled traffic as people drove through red lights, a worker at a factory was hospitalized after he jumped the safety rails to dislodge a piece of metal, and Geirr nearly crashed his airplane into another after landing on the wrong runway. What was going on? All Aleks wanted was to get through the next few months in peace and quiet, because when he turned sixteen, he would finally be fully and completely human. The last thing he needed was another adventure.
Thanks again Kiera!
Have a Great Day,