Saturday, April 24, 2010

Author Uncovered: Tricia Rayburn (Author Interview)

Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything—the dark, heights, the ocean—but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge. That is, until Justine goes cliff-diving one night near the family’s vacation house in Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day.

Though her parents hope that they’ll be able to find closure back in Boston, Vanessa can’t help feeling that her sister’s death wasn’t an accident. After discovering that Justine was keeping a lot of secrets, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor, hoping that Justine’s boyfriend might know more. But Caleb has been missing since Justine’s death.

Soon, it’s not just Vanessa who’s afraid. All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes host to a string of fatal, water-related accidents in which all the victims are found, horrifically, grinning from ear to ear.

Vanessa turns to Caleb’s brother, Simon, for help, and begins to find herself drawn to him. As the pair try to understand the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance—and will change her life forever.

Who is your favorite character from Siren?
I love them all, but Vanessa’s probably my favorite. I love how she struggles to be brave—how she HAS to be brave—despite fearing pretty much everything. I also really like Paige and Raina. Paige is so sweet and innocent and friendly, and Raina, her mother, is the exact opposite. I especially enjoyed writing their dialogue!

Why did you choose to contrast Justine and Vanessa in terms of fearlessness?
I liked the idea of Vanessa believing she could only survive scary situations with her fearless older sister by her side, and then learning the hard way that she could do it on her own. I also liked the idea that you can spend years thinking you know absolutely everything about a person…only to find out you don’t know nearly as much as you thought.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Besides Vanessa, whose fears were inspired by some of my own, not so much. This was a first for me, as almost every character in the Maggie Bean books is based on someone I know or knew growing up.

What part does the sea play in your life?
I’ve lived near water most of my life, except for the four years I spent surrounded by mountains in college. And during that time, I always loved going home for breaks so that I could go to the beach—even in the middle of winter! Now I’m lucky enough to live a short walk from a beautiful bay, and even have views of the water from our second-floor windows.

Are you as fearless as Justine? Or are you more like Vanessa?
I’m definitely more like Vanessa. I don’t like heights, I dread flying, and I slept with a nightlight until I was in high school. And despite having spent a LOT of time in and around water since childhood, I’ve developed a relatively new fear of creatures of the deep. This actually helped spark the idea for Siren.

Which character do you resonate most with, in Siren?
Vanessa, for all of the above reasons!

What was the message that you tried to get across to your readers with Siren?
I mostly want my readers to have a fun, gripping, exciting read, but if they come away with anything else, I hope it’s that sometimes, the only way to get over a fear is to face it head-on.

What would you have done if you were in Vanessa's place?
I hope I would’ve done exactly what Vanessa does! It’s hard to be sure, though…and I hope I never have to find out!

The cover is very beautiful. Did you have any input in it?
I’m so happy you like the cover! I do, too. That was all Egmont, my publisher. They had the idea of a watery face with silvery eyes from the day they bought the book, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

What's the most interesting thing a reader has ever said to you?
I’ve received several emails and letters from Maggie Bean readers who said that Maggie’s story (about an overachieving, overweight ‘tween who tries to shed pounds while preparing to try out for her school’s synchronized swim team) either helped them feel better about themselves OR realize that a little kindness goes a long way. Which is just what I hoped Maggie’s story would do!

What’s up next for you book-wise?
Ruby’s Slippers, about a sweet ‘tween' who moves from Kansas with her old-fashioned mother to live with her hipper grandmother in Coconut Grove, Florida, will be out right after Siren. And in the meantime, I’m working on the Siren sequel as well as a fun new middle-grade idea.

Book you're an evangelist for:
The Hunger Games! I read it in one sitting, and my personal copy continues to make the rounds among friends and family.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks so much for reading Siren—and for inviting me to participate in such a great interview!!!
my signature


Unknown April 24, 2010 at 9:22 PM  

Girl you gotta stop posting all these great things on Siren - you got me wanting to read it even more!

Great interview, I cant wait!

j April 24, 2010 at 10:47 PM  

This interview has got me itching to read Siren now. Great cover, great premise, and cool author. A triple threat! And how cute is that dog! I want to pet him through the computer screen! *loves cute dogs*

Anne April 24, 2010 at 10:47 PM  

It sounds even more amazing every time you post about Siren!
Why does July have to be so far away?!

Jason April 24, 2010 at 10:59 PM  

I think a fearless older sibling is a charming addition to a story. :)

Tere1494 April 24, 2010 at 10:59 PM an awesome book, and sirens seem to be in all the books I´ve seen.

Great Interview by the way I loved it, is amazing how the author has such a wide imagination to write a book like that

The Library Lurker April 25, 2010 at 12:44 AM  

I really like your review questions. They're very relevant to the story versus the usual boring ones. Great job!

Lale April 25, 2010 at 12:58 AM  

I love the cover too! Especially the purple-y eyes- reminds me of the Alanna series! :)

Unknown April 25, 2010 at 2:12 AM  

Fun interview! Can't wait to read Siren.

reedinglover April 25, 2010 at 4:11 AM  

Aw! Now I'm dying to read this book :) the sorry sounds amazing and I loved your interview because I got a small glimpse of Tricia's mind

Brianna Bruce April 25, 2010 at 4:24 AM  

This is great! I love stories that are about the sea, are taken place by/in the sea, and anything to do with that. Amazing!

Karla April 25, 2010 at 4:34 AM  

I think that this book has a very original premis and the characters sound great from what Tricia said. I can't wait to read this.

Lisa Richards/alterlisa April 25, 2010 at 4:57 AM  

I'm so looking forward to reading this. Glad to here that their is a sequel.I just love the cover.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

misskallie2000 April 25, 2010 at 6:43 AM  

Terrific interview. I am looking forward to the day I can read. This is going to be a great book..

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Jenni @ Falling Off The Shelf April 25, 2010 at 6:53 AM  

Great interview! I always get so flustered trying to think up interview questions, lol.

skyla11377 April 25, 2010 at 6:53 AM  

Great Interview Makes Me Want The Book Even More Than I Already Do. Love The Book Cover It Looks Really Kool.

Brent Taylor April 25, 2010 at 8:19 AM  

OOoh, great post! Loved it!

Aik April 25, 2010 at 10:19 AM  

I want to read this book, seriously! :)

bookaholic April 25, 2010 at 11:30 AM  

Nice interview Reggie!Siren is definitely a book that I am looking forward to with much anticipation.And I agree with you...the cover is beautiful!And I agree with Tricia too...I loved Hunger Games!

donnas April 25, 2010 at 12:08 PM  

Interesting interview. Very good questions.

Rheanna April 25, 2010 at 1:07 PM  

I think even though Tricia didn't base the characters on anyone. Vanessa and her seem to have a lot of similarities (based on your review and her interview.) I would love to read mor to see if my thoughts ring true?

Alice April 25, 2010 at 3:17 PM  

nice interview! really really looking forward to the release of this book!

Dwayne April 25, 2010 at 7:58 PM  

Tricia sounds cool and genuine. The fact that she loves the sea and would do as Vanessa did in the novel reflects very much the quality and theme of her writing. A passionate author who writes about what she oves always makes a great book. Wonderful!

ally April 26, 2010 at 7:04 AM  

She sounds so nice!!! And her puppy looks GORGEOUS!! I can't wait to read her book!!!!

Michelle Santiago April 26, 2010 at 10:19 AM  

interesting interview! makes me want to read siren all the more. :)

Bookish in a Box April 27, 2010 at 2:55 AM  

I'd be a Vanessa too, though I have my moments of Justine-ness. (And I think the cover is absolutely gorgeous!)

Little Miss Becky :) April 27, 2010 at 5:49 AM  

Tricia sounds like such a sweet person. I'm just counting the days to Siren's release!!

Jessy April 28, 2010 at 11:16 PM  

Can't wait to read this one. I hate that I don't know who or what she's referring to in some of her answers. I need to pick this up the first chance I get.

Mary not so Contrary April 29, 2010 at 12:46 AM  

Yay for The Hunger Games!! That was a great interview. I really enjoyed read it. Thanks!

Elise May 4, 2010 at 7:25 AM  

I think its interesting that parts of the author's real personality shines through in a character in her book, Vanessa.

Marg @ Clockwork Reverie May 6, 2010 at 1:36 AM  

Interesting interview. I've always loved the water as well. I had even planned to study marine biology at one point. Maybe one day I'll be able to live by the ocean/sea.

Anonymous,  May 9, 2010 at 10:13 AM  

Way to conquer your fears! I think it's great she used her fear of sea animals and made something of it. Great interview!

Natalie W May 9, 2010 at 10:41 PM  

Interesting interview! Sounds like a great read.

Anonymous,  May 15, 2010 at 4:15 AM  

This is Siren galore! I love it. Great interview. I will definitely be reading this book ASAP.

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