In an exclusive, author Jennifer A. Nielsen goes behind the scenes of the trailer for EW

By David Canfield
February 16, 2018 at 01:08 PM EST

“What is The Traitor’s Game? Is it strategy or luck? A bit of both, perhaps.”

So says the beginning of the trailer for The Traitor’s Game, Jennifer A. Nielsen’s anticipated upcoming YA novel which is kicking off a new series. Set in the Kingdom of Antora, the book centers on Kestra Dallison, who’s spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields. Her father is the right-hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip — and which a group of rebels knows all too well. A thrilling saga of love and deceit ensues, with a beguiling new heroine at its center.

Fittingly for a book exploring family ties, Nielsen tells EW that the book’s trailer, which you can watch exclusively above, was a family-made affair. “My [19-year-old] daughter, Sierra, has a theater background, so she was a natural choice for the narrator; after 20 takes of exaggerated accents and celebrity imitations, she got serious and brought the words of the script alive,” Nielsen explains. “My husband, Jeff, has done computer animation for years and knows the right people to help with modeling the sword and the art on the King’s playing card — but my [21-year-old] son, Chase, is interested in the business, too, and wanted to prove himself.”

Father and son ended up working on the trailer with Nielsen for weeks. “I adore this trailer, but even more, I watched two months of my family cooperating, learning, and pushing each other into doing better work than they thought they could,” she tells EW. “The trailer became more than a book project — it brought my family closer together. What mom wouldn’t love that?”

Watch the haunting trailer above, and pre-order The Traitor’s Game here before it’s released on Feb. 27.

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