Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Keira Gillett, the author behind the “Zaria Fierce Trilogy”, and Michele Carpenter, the narrator of the “Zaria Fierce Trilogy” here with us today. Thanks, Keira and Michele for dropping by!
Keira Gillett (Author): Thanks, Renee!
Hi, everyone! My name is Keira Gillett, and as Renee said, I’m the author behind the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. It’s about a young adopted American girl who finds out she’s a princess and has to save her best friend from an ugly river-troll. My second book – Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword – released on November 6, 2015, and continues the adventures Zaria has in Norway with her friends. Take a minute to watch the book trailer for the second book:
Didn’t Michele do a great job putting it together using the illustrations Eoghan Kerrigan did for the book? It looks awesome!
Hi Michele! This is your second time around for the Zaria Fierce trilogy. Were there any differences in how you approached the second book compared to the first?
Michele Carpenter (Narrator): Yes. The first time, I was discovering a whole new world and acquainting myself with these exciting personalities. The second time was more about reviewing and matching all the previous character voices and listening back through the adventures of book one to attempt to recapture the same essence that made the first audio book what it was.
Keira: What are some of the challenges of continuing a book series compared to starting a fresh story or series?
Michele: Keeping the old character’s voices true and sharp, while effectively crafting in the new personalities and voices can be tricky. A whole year has passed–After traveling through Gloomwood Forest with Zaria, I took a detour through a fairy-filled labyrinth with a girl named Letsi and fought malevolent beasts with a were-boy named Victus. So, catching back up to Zaria after a year, my memory wasn’t as clear as I would have liked. When you start a brand new book, there’s no “Memory Match-up” game required, lol!
Keira: I loved your character voices, old and new, for this second book and I think you did a really great job at matching the voices up to their original counterparts. What did you like best about returning to the Zaria Fierce world?
Michele: Her world has a beautiful, adventurous, and yet peaceful feel. To me, it feels rich, deep, and European… like eating gourmet Black Forest Cake instead of regular store bought chocolate cake. The journeys are so fun and creative. The creatures you meet along the way are fun and different.
Keira: Aw. Thanks, Michele! Who wouldn’t want Black Forest Cake fiction? That sounds yummy. What was your favorite scene to narrate in Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword?
Michele: Ah, I think the challenges against the fey, inside Niffleheim was my favorite sequence! It’s so fun! I love strategy board games and clever challenges. I also really appreciated the characters and the interesting twists. I was surprised by the outcome.
Keira: I had a lot of fun writing that part of the book. It’s not often one gets to invent a game. Was there anything unexpected in your experience with Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword?
Michele: This time around, there were a few special “VIP” hints I was given about characters in the second book having a special role to play in the third book, and that some consideration would need to be made in voicing them. I’m not 100% certain I aced them, but we’ll find out in less than a year’s time, when Zaria completes her quest. Author Keira Gillett is already hard at work producing another masterpiece.
Oh! The ending was unexpected too. It was quite a surprise, definitely. I was struck by the symbolism and deeper messages this book has to offer.
Keira: Thanks, Michele! I am hard at work completing the third book, and your VIP hints, as you put it, will definitely pay off big for book three as more twists and turns await Zaria and her friends. Thanks again, Renee for having us!
Book Two in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy
Summary: If Zaria Fierce had her say, being a princess would mean you’d never have to wait for news. In the eight months since Olaf tricked her, Zaria has felt a near constant mixture of restlessness, listlessness, and hopelessness. When the time comes to fix past mistakes, she is more than ready to climb aboard the ship sailing towards the giants. Summertime in Norway promises many more adventures, but also many more perils… something sinister lurks beneath the surface following her every move, haunting her, disturbing her dreams, and stealing her peace. Can Zaria figure out what it is and stop it before it’s too late?
Release Date: November 6, 2015
See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.
Audio Book Samples
Praise for Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest (Book 1):
“Are you in the mood for an old fashioned magical jaunt? Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett is a classic “perilous adventure” book for middle grade readers.” Jennifer Bardsley, The YA Gal
“A captivating blending of fantasy storytelling with today’s technology. At the base of this tale is deep, abiding friendship that stands the tests of time, adventure and even danger.” Kathy Haw, Goodreads Review
“A great book with a lovely story and amazing characters. It’s a fantasy and adventure book that will be the delight of Narnia fans and those looking for a bit of Norwegian folklore thrown into it.” Ner, A Cup of Coffee and a Book
“If you’re looking for an action-packed adventure dipped in fantasy, look no further. This book kept me on my toes with its many cliffhangers and plot twists; it was quite hard to put down at times.” Meredith, All ‘Bout Them Books and Stuff
“I love when a story jumps right in and hooks me like this one did. I highly recommend you look into it if you are in the mood for a fun adventure. I also recommend that you get it for any book loving middle schooler you know.” Emily, Midwestern Book Nerd
Filip slung his window open and tossed out his backpack. It landed in a thump in the hedgerow. Aleks pulled it out and slung it over his shoulder with his own bag.
“How’re you getting down?”
“Hopefully with your stargazer.”
“Then why toss down your bag?” Aleks asked, exasperated.
“Just in case,” Filip said with a wink at Zaria.
She suppressed a smile. She looked to the others, “Does anybody have rope?”
Aleks and Geirr both nodded. Then Geirr unzipped his bag and pulled out a neat coil from on top. He tossed it to Filip, who snatched it up as it sailed by the window. He disappeared into his bedroom and reappeared moments later slinging the coil out the window. It unraveled to the ground.
“Good,” Filip said briskly. “It’s long enough. Now let’s see if it holds.”
Filip quickly scaled the side of the house and they gathered their belongings preparing to dash. Without warning, Mrs. Storstrand stuck her head out of a bottom window and shrieked at the sight of them.
“Just what do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.
“Run!” Filip shouted, grabbing his friends’ sleeves and rushing for the street.
Aleks cursed and threw Filip his backpack while slinging his own around to the front and unzipping a pocket. He looked frazzled as he dug inside the opening. Mrs. Storstrand was quick. She was already out of the house and chasing after them. She threatened life and limb and the most terrible of all – letting Filip’s father know what he was about.
At last Aleks found the stargazer – a shiny purplish egg-shaped object perforated with stars – and almost dropped it in his haste. After a brief fumble, Aleks located the largest star, and hastily jabbed his finger into the hole. Just like that, Mrs. Storstrand froze mid-run. But so too did Christoffer, Filip, and Geirr.
Aleks looked at Zaria and to the others. “Damn,” he hissed. “Wait! How are you not frozen too?”
Author Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.
Narrator Bio: Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting. She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey. Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too. It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read. “We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”