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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ten Tantalizing Questions for Tricia Rayburn, Author of Siren!

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite authors? Ten Tantalizing Questions is designed not only to showcase exciting books on the horizon, but to also provide a glimpse into the personalities of the authors behind them.

"There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes. ~William Makepeace Thackeray

Up this week:


Siren is a story about Vanessa Sands, a teenager whose world is shattered when her sister Justine tragically dies in a cliff-diving accident near the family’s seaside vacation home. Can you tell us a little more about the book, and perhaps share with us a favorite line, scene or passage from the book?

When Justine dies, everyone chalks it up to a tragic accident. Vanessa, on the other hand, knows her sister wouldn’t be so careless and returns to Winter Harbor to figure out what really happened. When she gets there she learns that Caleb Carmichael, Justine’s sort-of boyfriend, is missing. Vanessa and Caleb’s older brother, Simon, team up to look for him, and it’s not long before other bodies begin washing ashore, their mouths frozen in permanent smiles. As Vanessa and Simon work together to solve the small town’s mysteries, Vanessa faces some of her worst fears—including one she never dared to imagine. What she learns about herself threatens her new romance and changes her life forever.

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Vanessa and Simon find Caleb with a certain sneaky seductress in the woods. For a brief time, Caleb isn’t the only one under a siren’s spell, and Vanessa’s reaction to this helps her make sense of her confusing feelings for Simon.

Here’s an excerpt:


My head snapped toward Simon. He was still staring, transfixed, like Zara was a flawless, translucent pendulum swinging in front of him.

“She’s beautiful…isn’t she?”

I turned back, my face burning. How could he think that at a time like this? He wasn’t some random guy whose every thought careened around the same track. He was Simon. Mr. Weatherman. Mr. Science Guy. How could he of all people get caught up in hormones, emotions, or whatever, when Caleb sat only a few yards away?

And how could I suddenly wish I’d put more thought into my appearance that morning so that I had the same hypnotizing effect?

What three words best describe Siren?

Suspenseful, alluring, spooky.

Do you remember the first words of Siren you ever wrote? Are they still in the book today?

I do remember the first words of Siren I ever wrote. They were the first sentence of the book, which was: “My older sister Justine always said the best way to deal with your fear of something was to pretend it didn’t exist.” That changed slightly to: “My sister Justine always believed that the best way to deal with your fear of the dark is to pretend it’s really light.”

If Siren was to be made into a movie, do you have certain actors you envision in the lead roles of Vanessa and Simon or do you think unknowns would be best suited to play them?

I think Dakota Fanning would make an amazing Vanessa! I don’t have a particular actor in mind for Simon, but whoever played him would have to be tall and somewhat athletic-looking (because Simon’s on the Bates crew team), and have a serious yet endearing way about him. Kind of like Shia Labeouf—with glasses!

What types of feedback do you receive from readers of your books? Is there one comment in particular that really affected you?

I’ve received a few emails from readers who said that once they started reading Siren they couldn’t put it down. As a writer, this kind of engagement is the very best thing I could hope for! And I’ve heard from many Maggie Bean readers who said those books either helped them feel better about themselves or inspired them to be kinder to others, which is just what I hoped Maggie’s story would do!

What prompted you to use Maine as the backdrop for Siren? Did you visit specific locations for inspiration- if so, did you uncover any interesting local folklore along the way?

I love New England and really wanted to set Siren there. I chose Maine for its dramatic coastline and decided on the small town of Winter Harbor after learning that its namesake harbor never freezes, not even in the middle of winter. As you know, this plays a key role in Siren!

If you had to attach a musical score to Siren, what music do you picture playing during prominent scenes?

Something moody and dramatic, like music by Arcade Fire, Snow Patrol, Bon Iver, or Imogen Heap.

Siren is your first foray into young adult fiction. Looking back at how your story transformed from initial spark to full length novel, can you describe to us the most challenging aspects of writing the book?

Siren’s very different from anything I’d written before, so the most challenging aspect was probably pushing the plot—and my imagination! My previous books were very much based in reality, so writing about characters with supernatural abilities was a completely new experience. As creatively trying as it sometimes was, though, it was also VERY exciting when things came together.

If you could inhabit the life of one literary character and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why?

Hermione Granger! I’d love to experience all things Harry and Hogwarts from her perspective.

Your novel Ruby’s Slippers releases in July and there are also plans for a sequel to Siren. Can you give us any insider scoop on what we can look forward to in the next installment of Siren? Do you have any other projects in the works?

In Siren 2 Vanessa struggles with being back at school for senior year, dealing with new physical abilities and limitations, and figuring out her relationship with Simon. She’ll learn more about who she is and where she came from, and realize that sometimes you can’t escape the past—no matter how hard you try.

As for other projects, I’m currently working on a fun, new middle-grade idea. It’s in the very early stages so I can’t say much, but I’m very excited about it!

July 13th 2010 by EgmontUSA

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 tries to understand the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance—and will change her life. To learn more about Tricia Rayburn and her books, visit her online at www.triciarayburn.com and www.triciarayburn.blogspot.com.



Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Love it. I gotta read this.

Julie said...

I totally agree with her about Hermione Granger! That would be awesome! This was interesting, thanks for sharing!

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