Monday, August 1, 2016

Interview with Gaby Triana

Today I have Interview with Gaby Triana, and tomorrow I will have a review of Wake The Hollow up on the blog!!!

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.


WAKE THE HOLLOW by Gaby Triana (YA Fiction):

Tragedy has brought Micaela Burgos back to her hometown of Sleepy Hollow. It's been six years since she chose to live with her affluent father in Miami instead of her history-obsessed eccentric mother. And now her mother is dead.
But while Sleepy Hollow was made immortal by literature, the town is real. So are its prejudices and hatred, targeting Mica's Cuban family and the secrets of their heritage that her mother obsessed over. But ghostly voices whisper in the wind, questioning whether her mother’s death might not have been an accident after all, and Mica knows there's a reason she's here.
With the help of two very different guys—who pull at her heart in very different ways—Micaela must uncover the hidden secret of Sleepy Hollow…before she meets her mother's fate.


I hear the laugh once again, calm and satisfied. A solid wave of rage starts between my forehead and the back of my head, overtaking my entire body. Teeth clenched so hard, I hear them grind. I scream, “What’s so funny, you sick bastard!”
            Then a new sound, so clear there’s no mistaking it. A horse’s neigh, followed by the woody, hollow sound of hooves galloping right toward me.
Thirsty leaves rustle on the ground like littered newspaper in the wind. I stand paralyzed over my mother’s grave, eyes roving, searching for the source of the sound. A horse in the cemetery? Seriously? But there’s no one here! Yet the galloping feels a blink away.
Run, Lela!
I break free of the invisible straitjacket immobilizing my upper body. I plunge through the woods, boots pounding the earth in time with my breath, eyes focused ahead, dodging grave markers, logs, rocks, and fallen limbs in my way. Who’s charging me on a horse? The Headless Horseman is only a character in a story. A legend.
Isn’t he?
I run straight for the bridge, my breath short and choppy. Isn’t the horseman supposed to stop chasing his victims once they cross the bridge? How ridiculous that I’m considering the logistics behind a work of fiction. Maybe it’s not a real spirit at all, but someone playing a trick on me.
It’s unnervingly dark inside the covered bridge, but I have no other choice. The galloping is right behind me. I’ll have to go through it if I don’t want to sense a horse’s hot breath prickling my neck. I avoid eye contact with whoever is chasing me, in case paralysis freezes my body again.
I charge through the bridge, my breath loud in my ears, panicked footsteps echoing against the siding, plowing along the musty planks until I blast out the other end, nearly tumbling onto the ground. I check over my shoulder. Nothing followed me through. But next to the bridge, a hazy mist hovers above the ground in the shape of what could be interpreted as a massive horse with a rider on top. It stands at the edge of the river, watching me escape.
That’s no trick.

Mini trailer:

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

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