Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Author Interview: Tricia Rayburn!!

In case you missed it, I gushed all about Siren by Tricia Rayburn in my review yesterday. And guess what! She accepted an interview here on Babbling Flow! Needless to say, I was totally floored!

I was lucky enough to meet Tricia this year at ALA. I seriously stalked her booth (there's even picture proof on my sidebar.) And let me tell you, Tricia is AWESOME! So sweet and personable. Even on my third time around the booth.

That's right.

Third time. And never once did she act like I was crazy.

So I already knew Tricia rocked--and then I read her book and it was confirmed for me all over again.

For those of you who don't know her (and dude, you so should) here's a little bit about Tricia:
Tricia Rayburn used to save her weekly allowance for two things: the Scholastic Book Club and her family’s bi-annual trip to the Smithaven Mall, where she loaded up on the latest Baby-Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley Twins books. Years later, Tricia discovered her love of writing for ‘tweens and teens while taking a children’s literature course in graduate school. Her first novel, The Melting of Maggie Bean, started as an assignment in that course, turned into her thesis, and was eventually published by Simon & Schuster as one of six launch titles for M!X, a line for tweens. Maggie Bean Stays Afloat and Maggie Bean in Love followed, and were joined by Ruby’s Slippers and Siren in July 2010. Tricia lives on eastern Long Island. Visit her online at www.triciarayburn.com and www.triciarayburn.blogspot.com.

Everyone welcome Tricia to the Babbling Flow!! And make sure you don't leave without entering to win a SIGNED copy of Siren!

I have to start off by saying—I loved Siren! You wrote such succinct characters and built a really fabulous mystery! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started, because I don’t know too, too much about siren mythology… So—how much of what’s in the book is traditional, and how much is your own creation?

I’m so happy you enjoyed Siren!  Thank you for taking the time to read it—and for inviting me to visit your blog!

To be honest, all I took from classic mythology was the idea that sirens were these beautiful women/creatures who lured sailors to their deaths.  I did some research beyond that, but I really wanted to write an original, contemporary story without relying too heavily on previous works.  So to break it down, I’d say 5% of the story is traditional and 95% is my own creation!

And man, let me just say: your creation is freaking awesome! So… I’ve read on your blog that you’re on to Siren book 2!! What is that like? Did you plan out the entire series first or are you building book 2 from the ground up, working with what you created with Siren? AND along those lines—what is your standard writing process? Do share :)

Yes, Siren 2 (title TBA soon!) is now in the editing stages, woohoo!  :)  It continues Vanessa’s story as she returns to Boston for her senior year, struggles with her body’s new abilities and challenges, and tries to make sense of everything she learned in the first book, including who she really is and how that will affect her future—and her relationship with Simon.

I had a pretty good idea of what book two would entail before I started writing it; when my agent and I submitted Siren to editors, we also submitted proposals for the next two books, so I had the basic outline down.  But as we know, nothing goes quite as planned once you’re actually in front of the computer, and it took some major brainstorming (and some minor freaking out!) to finally reach the conclusion I wanted.

As for my writing process, I usually know four things before starting a new project: the first and last scenes, the climax, and the title.  After that, the rest varies.  Sometimes I consistently outline ahead a few chapters as I go, other times I take it page by page, figuring out the plot as it comes.  But it always, always helps to have an end goal, because no matter how far off track I go, I know where I have to come back to. 

Oh man, don't even get me started about the freaking out part! I've been there myself recently... But I can't wait to read the next in the series!! On that note, Siren isn’t your first book—you’ve also written a three book series based on a character named Maggie Bean… Plus another one, Ruby’s Slippers! So far, which has been your favorite book to write? OR are books like children and you love them all equally?  Also—I noticed you had TWO books come out in July 2010!! How was that (asks the drooling not-yet-published girl)? Double the parties?

It’s pretty impossible to pick a favorite, but I do have an especially soft spot for my first book, The Melting of Maggie Bean.  That was actually my MFA thesis, and I wrote it without ever considering trying to get it published.  So when it was published, I let myself think that maybe writing was something I could do professionally—instead of something I did while trying to figure out what I was really supposed to be doing.  And that changed my life!

(That said, I also really love Siren.  It’s just so different from anything else I’ve written!)

Having two books out in one month was crazy.  We sold Ruby seven months before we sold Siren, so the fact that they ended up coming out at basically the same time was an unanticipated—and very exciting!—treat.  :)

What’s been the best part of the publication process for you? And, what’s been the hardest? Any tips about making it to the realm of published author for my readers who are also aspiring writers? (Oh, yeah—and for me too!)

The best part of the publication process has been receiving letters and emails from readers.  To know that ‘tweens, teens, and even a few adults not only connect with my stories but are compelled to take the time to write with comments and questions is an amazing thing. 

The hardest part is probably dealing with the (largely self-inflicted!) pressure that comes with being published.  I always want to make everyone—my agent, editor, publisher, family, friends, and most importantly, readers—happy.  And that can sometimes feel like a very tall order! 

The best tip I can give is to try to write your story without worrying about getting it published.  That’s SO hard, I know, but the publication process can be arduous long before it’s rewarding, and I think focusing on the fun helps you through the tough times!

That's really great advice--it's so much easier to write for pleasure without publication worries weight down those typing fingers :) Now, to be honest, my blog wouldn’t be my blog without a little silliness... So quick! Answer the next five questions with the FIRST answer that comes to mind!

1. Who’s been the hottest Bachelor (from ABC’s The Bachelor)?  Travis the doctor!
2. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?  Invisibility! 
3. What’s your favorite thing about the month October?  The annual reintroduction of pumpkin.  Pumpkin bread, lattes, candles, you name it.  If there’s pumpkin in it, I’m a fan! (yum me too!!)
4. What is the best all-time 80s rock song?  It’s a tie between Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and GNR’s “Sweet Child of Mine!”
5. Quick! What’s the first thing you see in this inkblot??  Kissing fish!

oooo nice one! I saw fighting dragons... I like kissing fish way better :)

Tricia, thanks for making this such a fabulous interview! I hope you'll come back :) Now go hurry up and get Siren 2 out there. I'm dying to read it!!

And to my fabulous readers: Do you want to win a SIGNED copy of Siren? (And I can answer that for you--YES, you do!) Leave a comment and let Tricia and me know what you see in the inkblot! (Make sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win.)

Thanks for stopping by!!


  1. I'd love to win! Siren looks like a really fun book.

    The inkblot, however, looks like a scary demon face breathing fire from his nose. Oh, and he has falming eyebrows too. Icky. Does this mean I'm crazy?

    (The answer is yes. Email: mesmerix AT gmail DOT com)

  2. I actually saw something of two cars/vans on fire, about to crash into each other...obviously the red at the bottom is more fire.

    I can't see the dragons... :(

    I have a copy of SIREN already, but *ahem* if I do win, well...I'd want a signed bookplate or something.

    cc932005 at hotmail dot com

  3. What an awesome contest! And I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Thank you Sara and Tricia.

    I saw two ferocious sheep involved in a headbutting brawl. Is that too weird? I love the picture though.

    Email: readingcouture(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. What a fun interview. Thanks for it. Love reading about other writers!
    As for the inkblot...
    I see the back of an angel whose wings are unfurling.

    Have a great day.
    LynnRush (at) cox (dot) net

  5. I see some kind of monster face.

    romancebookjunkiesdanielle at yahoo dot com

  6. Burning trees and a pool of blood. I wonder what that says about me... Thanks for the interview - I'm on my way to look up Siren =)

    sgardn (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. Great interview! I can't wait to read Siren!

    I saw a goblet on fire. I know cheesy;)


  8. Awesome interview!

    I see 2 evil poodles facing off in the inkblot!


  9. Oooh, you KNOW I cant wait to read Siren. I know her sirens are different than mine, but I'll prob love her take on it.

    In the ink blot I see 2 odd cartoon folk with fire for hair, standing back to back. :)

    Great interview. :) Um, you already have my email.

  10. Okay, I'm confused, Tricia. So, since Simon's not a common name, and I'm assuming you didn't name your character after the fellow who used to judge American Idol, I'm left wondering how you could possibly have used me as inspiration for that character before I even started blogging. Seriously, are you psychic, or what? I'm going to chalk it up to that, if you don't mind.

    And, y'know, since YA isn't my usual fare, I'll just offer my inkblot image for the fun of it: a seahorse smushed between the pages of a very large encyclopedia....

  11. Great interview--lots of fun! Thanks for doing this :) And I see two sea-horses in the ink-blot. Hmm, that's kinda boring, huh?

    mrs.which (@) gmail dot com

  12. I saw a bull in the inkblot, yes - I must be weird. Awesome interview, by the way!


  13. Awesome interview!

    I saw fire and water in the ink blot.
    It's rather pretty.


  14. Thanks for the giveaway, please enter me if it's international.

    I'm seeing two deers fighting against each other...

    judittten at gmail dot com

  15. I loved this interview...and would love to win this book. ::

    I saw kissing seahorses.

    (you have my email)

    Happy Tuesday!

  16. Oh, how I want to read that book! Yes, yes, yes! I saw fire dragons rising from smoke clouds. :-)

    mrso_d at yahoo dot com

  17. Great interview. Don't Stop Believin' is a great song! I see a burning city in the inkblot. Where'd you get dragons from?

  18. I see deers running on a blue cloud. I know kinda weird but thats just me.

  19. Loved the interview, as for the inkblot I saw two mermaids swimming down into the ocean. I've heard a lot about this book, I'm so excited!
    My email is nizmart at gmail dot com

  20. Great interview. I'm really looking forward to reading this! It's fun to read what other people see in the ink blot. I see a butterfly. Thanks for the giveaway!

    linaramz at yahoo dot com

  21. Thanks for the giveaway :D I wanna read this pretty badly! I see some kinda cup thing on a stool. Or its a table. But I see the dragon too! Not so much kissing fish.


  22. This was a great interview, I actually just started reading Siren and it is hard to put down!

  23. She seems so awesome! Great interview. I'm picking up a copy of Siren soon!

  24. I would love to win! Very interesting interview!

    I see a butterfly!

    Crazy Cat Lady

  25. Great interview. Siren is near the top of my reading list. There're just two books in front of it. Can't wait to read it!

  26. Cool interview! I've been wanting to read Siren for a while now.

    I see a butterfly in the ink blot....


  27. I keep seeing to monkeys facing each other great giveaway thank you.

    I hope it's ok I entered I can not if this giveaway is international.


  28. Love this interview!

    I see a sword...rising and the sides are the power yet to be tapped radiating from its core...

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

  29. I'm glad to hear there will be a sequel!
    I actually see two smurfs standing back-to-back in the inkblot. Weird huh?

  30. Two angry clowns giving each other an Eskimo kiss bwahaha(well first I saw the dragons, but I didn't want to sound like I was stealing yours so yeah 2nd look the clown thing I have an overactive imagination :)) renahe_90(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

  31. Is this international? I would love to enter if it is. THANK YOU!
    I see 2 sea horses face-to-face.


  32. I'd love to read this book! I've been wanting a chance for a while now!

    I'm scared to answer the inkblot question... (Did you know the Rochart Inkblots are used to diagnose Schizophrenia) Anyway, I don't see much- I see fighting people, fire and water...

    basicallyamazingbooks [at] gmail.com


Yay! I love when you have things to add :)