Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword by Keira Gillett – Author/Illustrator Interview + Giveaway

Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword - Ebook CoverZaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword by Keira Gillett
Illustrated by Eoghan Kerrigan
Second book in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy

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?

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Welcome to the enchanting world of Zaria Fierce, Norway, and trolls! Today I have the author, Keira Gillett, and the illustrator, Eoghan Kerrigan, on the blog to discuss the artwork in the books. Stay tuned at the end for a giveaway opportunity.

Watch the Book Trailer:

Keira Gillett (Author): Hi, my name is Keira Gillett and as Brooke said, I’m the author behind the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. The books are about an adopted American girl that moves to Norway with her folks. On her 13th birthday she meets a troll on her way to school. He appears from under a bridge and threatens to eat her. The first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, discovers which of them outsmarts the other. Will she trick him or will he trick her?

Today we’re going to talk about some of the fabulous artwork in the trilogy, and who better to talk about it than the illustrator himself! I found Eoghan Kerrigan when I was searching for troll art on the web. When you see his trolls, you’ll know why I wanted to work with him! I’m so glad he came back to work on the second book in the trilogy, Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword. Eoghan’s a great guy with a lot of talent, be sure to check out the other parts of this interview series to see more of his artwork. So Eoghan, let’s get started. What would you do if you met a troll?

Eoghan (Illustrator): I would probably consider myself very lucky and then try to befriend it. Or respect its space. You can never tell with some trolls….

Keira: It would depend on the troll, but as Zaria will tell you they don’t grant wishes. Maybe favors though, if you’re lucky. Who would you cast as Zaria Fierce in a movie? Any ideas for other characters?


Eoghan: The brief I got from Keira was that she might look like Amandla Stenberg and I have to agree that she would fit perfectly. I never really thought of actors in the roles while I was reading, just unique people that I thought up.

Keira: I do think Amandla would be perfect. She’s a great actress, and I loved her in the Hunger Games. She’s got great expressions. If there aren’t real people that inspire your human character illustrations, how do you develop the characters in your drawings from book to book?

Eoghan: I take note of all the little details Keira has written about them and try to incorporate them into the illustration. However, sometimes an illustrator’s job isn’t to be entirely accurate to the text, but instead present an interpretation. Maybe someday these books will be illustrated again and the characters will look entirely different!


Keira: Maybe for a translation of the books. That would be neat. I think you’ve done a marvellous job matching character descriptions in your illustrations. I’m excited for readers to see the new set. Do you read the book in full before you illustrate any of the chapters? Or did you read as you went?

Eoghan: I read a chapter and then do an illustration immediately after. I save a lot of time this way and it keeps the story fresh in my memory.

Keira: That’s really smart. I absolutely loved getting the drawings every couple of days as you read the book and drew. One of the highlights of my day would be to see your e-mails pop up across my phone. I couldn’t wait to see what was next. What has been your favorite part about this collaboration?

Eoghan: Keira is very generous in the amount of freedom she gives me with the illustrations, even letting me decide what I draw for each chapter. She has a lot of faith in me that I’ll come up with something good and I hope I haven’t disappointed.

Keira: Never! I don’t see how you could! More often than not, I want to use everything you send. Haha. Even the developmental artwork, which is why I was excited to see you share some of it recently on your blog so I could share it with fans. (If you click the link the last eight drawings are for Zaria Fierce.) I hope you dear readers are as excited about the second book as Eoghan and I are. Thanks for joining us today and thank you Brooke for hosting us! It’s been a pleasure.

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?”


Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor 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.


Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (zariafierce)

Eoghan Kerrigan IllustratorIllustrator Bio: Eoghan Kerrigan is an illustrator from Kildare, Ireland who draws primarily fantasy characters and creatures. He studied illustration in Ballyfermot College of Further Education and has produced work for various independent projects. He has two cats and a soft spot for trolls.


Social Media: Twitter (eoghankerrigan), Facebook (eoghankart)

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16 comments / Add your comment below

    1. LOL I would hope that, too! Sometimes even if you’re their favorite food, you might be able to convince them not the eat you, but you have to have a good trade!

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