Author of the Sand Dancer Series
Trudie Skies was born in Nottingham—Robin Hood country, she says—and now lives in North East England, where she spends the majority of her free time imagining warmer climates and writing about them.
Her less-than-free time is also spent behind a computer keyboard as an IT administrator, and she promises not to bore you with the details. Previously, she worked as a mobile game designer and tester, as well as a professional writer for video game websites.
Trudie grew up on Tamora Pierce and has always wanted to be a swashbuckling knight with her own medieval castle. She has a thing for swords, and so all her characters also have a thing for swords. She loves to read Young Adult fantasy and in recent years has been inspired by desert kingdoms and cultures, which is clearly apparent in her upcoming debut novel Sand Dancer.
In January 2019, Trudie signed with Uproar Books, a new publisher of epic fantasy and science fiction novels.
Author Q & A
Learn more about Trudie and her book Sand Dancer.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a knight. I loved swords, and castles, and I used to sneak into the library at school just to read my favourite books – The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce. The main character Alanna was a girl who disguised herself as a boy so she could train to become a knight. She was a stubborn tomboy, like me, and these books inspired me to explore similar tropes on my own.
I started writing Sand Dancer in 2012 about a young girl who wanted to become a warrior and eschew the roles placed on her. The story was always about her rivalry with the evil prince, though over the years the focus shifted to the main character’s relationship with her family and the oppression of fire magic, which was partly inspired from my own life and injustice in the real world.
I took inspiration from desert settings and cultures through real world locations like Morocco, films such as Disney’s Aladdin, video games like Assassins Creed, Prince of Persia, and the sword-dancing-like fighting styles of Soul Calibur to create my old second-world and culture for what would become the Kingdom of Sandair. Sand Dancer evolved from these ideas and isn’t based on any real world mythology, history, or tale, but is simply the story of a girl who sets out on a journey of revenge and finds a family instead.
Yes! Sand Dancer is the first in a four-book quartet. The first book will be launching on July 1st for ebook and paperback. I’m currently hard at work writing the sequel which is expected for release in 2020. The sequel will follow the story of Mina and the Fire Walkers as they are called to war, and Mina must step-up to protect them from enemies both at home and from afar.
Future books will explore the Kingdom of Hartnor to the north, and the Isles of Neu Bosa to the west.
The amazing cover art for Sand Dancer was designed by French artist Edouard Noisette. Please visit his website to see more of his art.
The beautiful map design which will be featured in the published version of Sand Dancer was drawn by legendary cartographer Soraya Corcoran! Visit her website for a look at her intricate maps. You can find a full colour version of the map on the World of Sandair page.
I’m a big fantasy nerd so I love stories which are set in unique worlds of their own. I daydream and live in my own fantasy world, but I like to explore others too. I’m a tomboy, so I tend to write girl characters who ignore gender roles and are a bit scrappy, or who like to run around with swords. I tend to avoid stories that are too grim or dark, as I like to read and write stories of hope, adventure, and of young girls finding their own strength and path in life.
Most of my favourite books are, unsurprisingly, young adult fantasy! Here is a list of my absolute favourites:
- The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce and pretty much anything by Tamora Pierce, she’s my favourite author!
- The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
- An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir
- Eon/Eona Duology by Alison Goodman
- Rebel of the Sands Trilogy by Alwyn Hamilton
- The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
- His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
Here are more book recommendations! If you love these books, then you’ll enjoy Sand Dancer.
I grew up on SEGA, as my first ever console was a Master System and a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog. Whilst I’m still a big SEGA fan, I also love RPG’s! Some of my favourite games include the Final Fantasy series and Bethesda games such as Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. I will happily talk your ears off about Skyrim, and I’m excited for The Elder Scrolls 6. More recently, I’ve spent a lot of time playing Stardew Valley and the Subnautica games. I LOVE RPG’s and indie games!
Everyone has a book inside of them – the hard part is getting it out! Starting a book can feel a little scary but the truth is that no one writes the perfect book first time. Writing a book is a slow process, but the most important thing is to start. Don’t think you have to get the words perfect from page one. Nothing is written in stone and anything that is written can be re-written. Allow yourself to experiment and play around with your story as you write it. The first draft is about understanding what your story wants to be, and only after it is written can it be shaped into something amazing.