Tuesday, September 13, 2016

INTERVIEW with Gaby Triana, Author of Wake the Hollow (A Sleepy Hollow-inspired Story)

Gaby Triana is the award winning-author of six YA novels, including her latest, Wake the Hollow, Summer of Yesterday, Riding the Universe, The Temptress Four, Cubanita and Backstage Pass, as well as sixteen ghost-written novels for best-selling authors.

Lynne Marie:  Are you a suspense/horror fan? If so, what is your favorite suspense/horror author? Your favorite suspense/horror movie or t.v. show?

Gaby Triana: I’ve always loved scary stories. I grew up reading Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Rice, Shirley Jackson, and anything with ghosts in it, so it’s a genre I’ve always enjoyed, both reading and writing. Other favorites are Joe Hill and Chuck Palahniuk.

LM: Is there a unifying thread between any of your six novels? If so, how would you describe that thread?

GT: No one is all good, no one is all bad. I’ve always tried to stay away from hero/villain stereotypes in my writing, so redemption is an underlying theme in a lot of my stories. What makes someone do the wrong thing? What dark secrets do good people have? We all have a little bit of lightness and darkness in our personalities.

LM:  I am especially intrigued by your latest book, Wake the Hollow. How did you come up with the initial concept for that book? Which came first, the concept or the title?

GT: Wake the Hollow is basically the book I’d want to read if I were browsing the shelves looking for something spooky. There was nothing out there that was a retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with lots of ghosts. And Halloween stuff. And a haunted house. And Hispanic characters. And, and, and… So I wrote it myself. When I looked at what I’d done, turns out I’d basically written a more YA/adult version of Freddie and the Biltmore Ghost!

LM: How did the title Wake the Hollow come about?

GT: The main character, Micaela Burgos, goes through a personal awakening. After living naively for so long, she finally opens her eyes to things that had been going on all around her without her realizing. The town of Sleepy Hollow itself also goes through an awakening from the moment Mica comes back to town. Things lying dormant awakening and coming to the surface is an underlying theme throughout.

LM: What was your job before you became a full-time author? How did this job inform your current profession?

GT: My Master’s is in Elementary Education. I began as a 4th grade teacher for 8 years, then I wrote full-time for 10 years, publishing 4 of my YA novels, then I went back to teaching for one year, then I ran a cake design studio for 2 years, then I went back to teaching for another year, and now I’ve been full-time writing and ghostwriting again for four years. Whew. Tired just reading that. 

LM: How many times did you submit your first book before receiving an acceptance? Please share the details of how you went from unpublished to published.

GT: Freddie and the Biltmore Ghost, still unpublished, was technically my first submission. Then I submitted Backstage Pass, and I got my agent immediately with that one and a 2-book contract with HarperCollins one month later. I had a very lucky start in the business, but subsequent books have been harder to sell.

LM:   What are your thoughts on being a member of SCBWI? Critique groups?

GT: SCBWI is a great starting point if you’ve never dealt with the publishing industry before. They help you find a critique group, learn the basics of the industry so you know what you’re doing, and they offergreat writing courses to help you improve your craft.

They’re indispensable to a newbie writer. Critique groups are super important if you’ve never shared your writing before. It helps to know what 10 people think before you submit your writing to the world.

LM:   I know that when you’re writing, you also make cakes. What is your favorite cake? Why?

GT: I don’t make cakes anymore, but I did for a long time (Cakes by Gaby on FB). My favorite type of cake was cinnamon vanilla with dulce de leche buttercream, but I’m gluten-free now (autoimmune disease), so feel like the cake years are now a lifetime away, since I don’t eat that way anymore, nor do I have time for it.

1.      If you were a color, what color would you be?  YELLOW
2.    If you were a sea creatures, which sea creature would you be? GIANT SQUID. So I could live at the bottom of the deepest ocean in solitude and nobody would bother me.
3.    If you were a character in Harry Potter, which one would you be? SNAPE. Nobody is all good, nor all bad. ;)
4.    If you were a literary character, which one would you be? POE’S RAVEN
5.     If you were a mythical creature, which one would you be? GARGOYLE
6.    Who is your favorite children’s author? ROALD DAHL

7.     If there is a book you wish you wrote, which one would it be? HARRY POTTER. Lol

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