August 6, 2010
Interview with Tricia Rayburn
Tricia Rayburn is the author of SIREN, which I reviewed here. This New York author also writes books for tweens, most notably the Maggie Bean series. Today her blog tour brings her to IBWB. Tomorrow she'll be at The Bookologist.
1.Caleb and Simon, the male leads of SIREN, are both involved in romances. What qualities do you think a romantic literary hero needs?
I think a romantic literary hero should be kind, attentive, perhaps a little confused as he goes back and forth between his feelings for the girl, and able to help her overcome some obstacle—preferably by either showing or reassuring her that she’s strong enough to do whatever needs doing!
2. Your sirens are a little different from the classical depictions. How did you decide what traits to give your creatures?
Most of their traits were inspired by the traits of mythological sirens, but I did give them others that helped propel the story. For example, my sirens are physically dependent on saltwater while those in mythology simply lived near the water. That constant need—and the struggle that results when it’s not met—adds to the tension.
3. When you began writing SIREN did you know it would be the beginning of a series or did you think it would be a standalone story?
When I began writing SIREN I didn’t even know if I’d make it through one book (!), but about halfway through, once I was sure of the ending I was working toward, ideas for what might happen AFTER the ending started to take shape. In fact, when we submitted SIREN to editors, we also submitted proposals for the next two books.
4. I loved the restaurant scenes in SIREN, featuring Vanessa, her friend Paige, and Paige's sister Zara. They felt very lived in and showed off the girls' characters. Did you draw on any restaurant work experiences of your own, or was that all extrapolated?
I’m so glad you liked those scenes! They’re some of my favorites, too. I didn’t have restaurant work experience of my own to draw on, so I relied on stories from family and friends as well as observations while visiting similar places. Those local seafood spots are always so popular—and great for people watching!
5. According to your "Real Life Scary Sea Creatures" blog posts, you won't swim in the ocean due to your fear of sea creatures. But while there are some scary things beneath the waves, there are also some beautiful and friendly ones. Which sea creatures would you most want to swim with? If you weren't scared of sea creatures, do you think you would've written SIREN?
To be honest, I’m as fascinated and awed by sea creatures as I am scared of them! And I would absolutely swim with dolphins if given the chance. If I wasn’t scared of sea creatures I still might’ve written Siren, but it probably would’ve been a very different story.
6. In addition to SIREN, you're new middle grade novel RUBY'S SLIPPERS came out in July. What would you consider the main differences in your approach to writing for young adults or tweens?
Because I need to be able to relate to my characters as I write them, I’m constantly thinking back to my ‘tween and teen years and how I felt about/reacted to certain scenarios. So generally speaking, my ‘tween characters are rather reactive to every little thing that happens to them while my older characters are a bit more reserved and thoughtful—unless, of course, circumstances don’t allow them time for reflection! Also, while romance (in the form of first crushes) is present in my ‘tween reads, it’s definitely a bigger factor in the older ones. Just as it was in my—and most girls’—‘tween and teen years!