I wanted to kick things off with a fun question, so what is your favorite book of 2016 so far?
A Work of Art, by Melody Maysonet. Hauntingly disturbing and beautiful.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
In Wake the Hollow, the characters’ names are all derivative of the original Legend of Sleepy Hollow characters. Micaela Caterina is named after Katrina Van Tassel (Caterina = Katrina in Spanish). Bram is derivative of Abraham or Brom, the charming town hero in the original book, and Dane Boracich is derived from Ichabod Crane, but you’ll have to read the book to find out how.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I’ve always been a writer, ever since Kindergarten when I penned a dramatic letter telling my mother I was running away. In 3rd grade, I wrote a short story that sounded like Mark Twain, and all throughout school, I wrote stories and entered writing contests. My first published novel was in 2002, though, at the age of 31.
What inspires your writing?
The things I love inspire me. Ghost lore, Halloween, Disney, desserts, music, love triangles, strong snarky girls, and the list goes on. I love stories where unlikeable characters redeem themselves. If a writer can turn a villain into a hero in my eyes, I especially love that.
What was the hardest part writing “Wake the Hollow”?
The hardest part was getting the reader to connect with Micaela. In early drafts, editors kept saying they weren’t connecting with her, couldn’t feel for her or her problem, etc. It was tough, because she’s a jaded rich girl who hasn’t yet become the brave young woman she ends up turning into. Her return to Sleepy Hollow signals an awakening in her soul, and it isn’t until she begins learning about her mother’s life does she finally CARE about anything. So when she’s first arriving, she’s just like, “whatever, let’s get this over with,” but as she learns more, she becomes completely invested. It’s getting harder and harder to hold a reader’s attention, but I didn’t want to make her completely relatable right from the beginning. She had to grow into her skin first.
What is your favorite thing about writing “Wake the Hollow”?
Easy! Sleepy Hollow. Halloween. Headless Horseman, plus I got to include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in there as well. I grew up reading Stephen King and Anne Rice, so I finally got to write a YA novel that embodied the eeriness I so loved in books as a teen.
Do you have any habits while writing? For example: a specific snack food you have to have or maybe music playing in the background.
I’ve gone through stages where I’ve had to light a candle every time I write. Other times, I had to write only at night locked in my room. But one thing I absolutely can’t do is write with music on. In fact, I’m very jealous of people who can. Because for me, music is verbal—I sing along to all my favorite songs, so I can’t write and sing at the same time.
What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing?
I’m always writing. I wish I was kidding. Otherwise, I’m watching movies with my kids, which I both enjoy just for the sake of enjoyment, but I’m also learning about story structure and plotting my next story when I watch movies.
What or Who were your biggest inspirations for the characters in Wake the Hollow?
Wake the Hollow is a modern-day retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, so the main characters are straight parallels of the short story. Only in my book, they are dressed up with new purpose, new settings, new plotline. Micaela is the daughter of the richest “farmer in the county,” only here, her father is a businessman. Dane Boracich is Ichabod Crane, the schoolteacher who’s come to town, and Bram Derant is the local town hero. Even Betty Anne is one of Sleepy Hollow’s “old wives,” mentioned in the original story.
What is your next project?
Right now, I’m finishing an adult romance series, but I would love to write the sequel to Wake the Hollow. It’s been on my mind for a very long time. It would follow Micaela on her next adventure and would develop her romantic relationship with one of the boys too. But which one?
What do you think is the most special thing about this world you have created?
I didn’t create Sleepy Hollow, but I did find a way to make a Hispanic character relevant to this retelling. I also found a way to work classic authors, Washington Irving and Mary Shelley, into the plot somehow. So in essence, it’s a paranormal retelling with roots in historical fiction. I included enough of the original classic to appease hardcore enthusiasts while introducing new concepts for modern readers.
What is the one thing you want readers to walk away from Wake The Hollow with?
A love for suspense and well-built creepiness. Not all paranormal and horror stories need jump scares. Sometimes it’s scarier to wait and see what will happen. The scares are in what you’re NOT seeing, rather than in what you are seeing. The not knowing. The going forth in the dark to find out. That’s suspense. That’s what I love.
If could describe your book in five words, what five would you use?
Eerie. Clever. Intelligent. Modern. Classic.
GABY TRIANA is the award-winning author of six YA novels—Wake the Hollow (Coming 2016), Summer of Yesterday, Riding the Universe, The Temptress Four, Cubanita, and Backstage Pass, as well as thirteen ghostwritten novels for best-selling authors. Originally a 4th grade teacher with a Master of Science in Elementary Education and ten years teaching experience, Gaby earned Teacher of the Year in 2000, wrote her first novel, Freddie and the Biltmore Ghost, then left teaching to launch a full-time writing career. She went on to publish young adult novels with HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, win an IRA Teen Choice Award, ALA Best Paperback Award, and Hispanic Magazine’s Good Reads of 2008. She spends her time obsessing about Halloween, Christmas, and Disney World, as well as hosting parties, designing mugs, making whimsical cakes, and winning costume contests. When she’s not writing, she might also be watching Jurassic Park movies with her boys, posting excessive food pics on social media, or helping run the Florida region of the SCBWI. Gaby lives in Miami with her three sons, Michael, Noah, and Murphy. She has one dog, Chloe, and two cats—Miss Daisy, and the reformed thug, shooting survivor, Bowie. Visit her at www.GabyTriana.com.