Guest Blog

Guest Blog – Keira Gilett: Character Casting for Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest – Meet the Johansen Family


Greetings! I’m super happy to be here at The Booklandia! Thank you Danissa for having me. My name is Keira Gillett and I’m the author of the brand new Zaria Fierce Trilogy, about an American girl who meets a troll in the middle of modern-day Norway. And not the nice kind! The first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest released on March 6, 2015. You can learn more about the book in this one-minute book trailer:

Aren’t the illustrations fabulous? Eoghan Kerrigan did a marvelous job. It was exciting to see the kids and characters come to life. What’s fun is that Eoghan based his illustrations off of my words and descriptions. Today I’m here to share another vision of some of these characters and talk about who I would cast to play the Johansen family in a movie adaptation of the book. Let’s meet Christoffer, Emma, Zhuang, and the twins!

Christopher Jung as Christoffer Johansen:


It’s purely coincidence that Christopher shares the same name, if not the same spelling as my character Christoffer. Christoffer’s a good kid who is a bit mischievous, but also loyal, smart, and athletic. He likes hanging out with friends and hates missing out on all the fun. Nothing sucks more than being kidnapped by a river-troll and forced to miss all the action.

Mi-suk Lee as Emma Johansen:


Mi-suk Lee is gorgeous and here in this picture looks very maternal. As soon as I saw her I knew she could be Emma, because she looked like she could handle teaching a bunch of preteens world history. She’s fair but strict. When Christoffer goes missing, Emma is out canvassing the neighborhood trying to find out if anybody saw him.

Ken Watanabe as Zhuang Johansen:

pic 3

I see Ken and I know by looking at him that he’d be a great fit for the role of Zhuang Johansen, Christoffer’s hardworking father. Zhuang doesn’t make a physical appearance in the book, but he is mentioned and he’ll appear briefly in book two.

The Twins:

I have no idea who these adorable twin girls are, but watch this video and tell me your heart wouldn’t melt if they were your siblings. That’s exactly how Christoffer feels about his kid sisters, although he’ll never admit it.

When you read a book or book series, do you develop a mental picture of the characters? If you’ve read mine, how do you picture the Johansen family? Do you have any favorites?

Book Blurb:

picla“Come here Princess, and let me eat you.”

On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.


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. 4 Stars – Jennifer Bardsley, The YA Gal

I really enjoyed Zaria’s story. It reminded me a lot of Percy Jackson series… Middle school children will absolutely like this one! 4 Stars – Anjie Basi, Love Thy Shelf

This book will have young listeners hooked right from the start. In fact, if parents are planning a driving holiday this summer, I highly recommend purchasing this audiobook. It will definitely keep the kids entertained while traveling. Michele Carpenter’s narration is terrific. 5 Stars – Amie Gaudet, Amie’s Book Reviews


Geirr stooped to pick up some decent-sized sticks, and Zaria bent to grab a few too. They talked amicably and walked, stretching their legs, until they were too burdened by their loads to keep going.

“My arms are going to collapse,” Zaria huffed. Her breath fogged around her face, covering and then revealing a well-pinked nose and cheeks. “Let’s head back to camp.”

“Sounds good to me,” Geirr said and turned around to do just that. Zaria followed and collided into him, dropping her load of kindling all over the ground.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, as she went to gather them. “Why did you stop?”

“I don’t think we’re going to find camp,” Geirr said, worrying his lip. He juggled his armful of wood and pointed haphazardly forward. “It’s like pea soup.”

Zaria looked up from playing fifty-two pickup and saw what worried Geirr. In front of them was a wall of fog, thick, viscous, and impossible to see through. She gulped and carefully set down the pile she’d been working to gather again. Was it her imagination or did the fog seem to be breathing? It crept closer in stages. Not fast enough that she saw it while looking directly at it, but if she looked away and back, it most definitely moved.

“Uh, Geirr,” Zaria said, slowly gaining her feet. “I think we should move and fast.”

Geirr looked at her puzzled. “I don’t think fast is an option here. Now if you pick up your stack and stick near me maybe we can Marco Polo our way back to the others.”

“Geirr,” Zaria hissed, her voice ratcheting higher. “The fog is moving.” He didn’t look impressed. The breathing sounds from within the fog grew louder, distressing Zaria. “No seriously, it’s moving like it’s alive.”

Geirr looked back again and stared hard, trying to penetrate the fog with his gaze alone. Zaria started to ease away, firewood forgotten.

“Come on, Geirr, we have to move. Can’t you hear the breathing?”

“That isn’t you?” he asked, alarmed.

“No!” Zaria shouted. “Run!”

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

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.


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


3 thoughts on “Guest Blog – Keira Gilett: Character Casting for Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest – Meet the Johansen Family

  1. Hi Danissa! Thank you so much having me today on your blog. What does everybody think of character casting? Do you love it/hate it? Does it help you envision the characters or mess up your vision of the characters?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s