Keira Gillett (Author): Greetings everyone! The second book in the trilogy, Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword features some amazing artwork from Eoghan Kerrigan. Be sure to check out the other parts of this interview series to see more of his artwork. We’ve been having a lot of fun talking about the book and the artwork. So Eoghan, what is the hardest part of illustrating a story?
Eoghan Kerrigan (Illustrator): The hardest part is challenging yourself to draw things out of your comfort zone if the story demands it of you. These drawings take a bit longer because you need to gather reference material to make the drawing more convincing.
Keira: I laughed when I saw your Twitter status on drawing ships. I knew you were referencing Zaria’s adventures in book two. So what is the easiest? The most fun?
Eoghan: The easiest and most fun are the same thing – drawing fun and visually interesting characters and creatures.
— Eoghan Kerrigan (@EoghanKerrigan) August 31, 2015
Keira: I really love your characters and creatures. They have such life to them. It’s been a lot of fun to see what you’ll come up with for each chapter. Do you ever experience a creative block similar to what authors call writer’s block?
Eoghan: All the time! I don’t think there is a single creative person who doesn’t experience this at some point.
Keira: How do you get past it and what do you do to stay motivated and fresh?
Eoghan: Various things can knock me out of it. Some fresh air, listening to music, seeing a piece of art I really admire. But the most effective way I think is just to take a break. Forcing yourself to do something doesn’t always help, but the desire will always return eventually.
— Eoghan Kerrigan (@EoghanKerrigan) April 6, 2016
Keira: I did something similar when I was stuck on a scene in the first book. I’d stop writing for the day and focus on other things so I could start fresh the next day. For book two when I was stuck, I sat down and plotted pieces of the story that I wanted to see. Not all of it stuck, but it did help to unstick me. What type of drawing tools do you use to create your illustrations?
Eoghan: Pencils! That’s really it. A blue or orange pencil for the rough under drawing and a 2B graphite pencil for the finished lines. I’m very comfortable with traditional media.
Keira: I can tell! You could knock me over with a feather if readers aren’t as thrilled as I am about the work you’ve done. Thanks for joining us today! Eoghan and I look forward to seeing readers’ reactions to the new illustrations.
Watch the Book Trailer:
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.
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.
Illustrator 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.