Author of thoughtful fantasy and wanderer of daydreams

Trudie Skies has been living inside fantasy worlds ever since she discovered that reality doesn’t quite live up to the hype. Through the magic of books, she wishes to share these worlds of hope and heroes with other weary souls. Living in North East England, Trudie spends most of her free time daydreaming about clouds, devouring whatever fantasy books or video games she can get her hands on, and chasing after her troublesome dogs, who would like to reassure you they are very good boys.

Her debut YA fantasy series, Sand Dancer, was published through Uproar Books. Trudie is now writing adult gaslamp fantasy with her new series, The Cruel Gods.

Author Q & A

Here are a few fun facts about me:

  • Fantasy is my favourite genre but I love fantasy sci-fi and a bit of romance too.
  • I’ve been playing video games since I was a kid and have owned most consoles at least once! My first console was a Master System, though these days I’m a PC gamer.
  • I have a degree in Computer and Video Games Design and Production.
  • I once cosplayed as Dr Robotnik from the Sonic the Hedgehog series and even shaved my head bald!
  • I’ve had many pets throughout my life but currently live with a Border Jack called Butchy and a Jack Russel called Benji.
  • I’m an INFP with Enneagram 4w4.
  • I’m an Aquarius.
  • My favourite season is Autumn.
  • Other than fiction, I like reading about philosophy, stoicism, introversion, and sociology.
  • I’m a pretty easy-going person that enjoys walks in nature and staring at clouds.
  • My favourite music genre is anything that fits under electronic, from synth pop to vaporwave to techno and also video game music. My favourite “mainstream” bands are Chvrches, Depeche Mode and Muse.
  • I’m British but I don’t drink tea!

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 potential six-book series. The first book launched in July 2019 and the sequel, Fire Walker, will be released early February 2021. Expect the third late 2021!

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 is 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 daydreamer in search of fantastical worlds and the weird and wonderful. I’m not one for epic battles, but instead want to forge meaningful character relationships whilst exploring human nature, both the light and dark sides.

From my books, you can expect an emphasis on secondary fantasy worlds and underdogs trying to gain control of their lives in unfair and oppressive systems.

Most of my favourite books are, unsurprisingly, 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 next Elder Scrolls. I LOVE 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.

If you want to ask me anything, contact me or ask me on Twitter!