Interviews

{Interview} Gaby Triana

 
 
CHHR: Please give a brief introduction here.
Heyyy. I’m Gaby Triana, author of ISLAND OF BONES and RIVER OF GRASS from the Haunted Florida series. In my previous life, I wrote young adult novels, WAKE THE HOLLOW, CAKESPELL, SUMMER OF YESTERDAY, and others. I’ve been in the business for 17 years now, but my horror readers are just getting to know me. I’ve also ghostwritten 40+ novels for bestselling authors in different genres: sci-fi, horror, young adult, romance, and erotica. 
CHHR: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been a writer and storyteller, but probably in the third grade. I wrote a story called “Skeeter Creek” that sounded Mark Twain-ish, and my teacher gave me an A+++++ all across the page and told me I would be an author. I believed her.
CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like? 
It revolves around my kids. So the days they’re in school, I’ll write a chapter in the afternoon and another one at night, around 4k words. On days when they’re not home, I’ll write 6k, maybe 8k words in 2-hour stints with breaks in between to take advantage of the quiet. J
CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?
Not really. I mean, besides grabbing coffee, twisting my hair into a clip, and putting on headphones to drown out ambient noise, not really. I can’t write listening to music like some people. I wish I could—it’d make it more fun. But I need total silence or white noise.
CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?
I’m a novel author, though my longest book, WAKE THE HOLLOW, is only 80k words. Most tend to be on the short side, between 50-70k words. My short stories were all written in high school for scary story contests, which I’d either win or get 2nd place to Neil Schneider who was a year older than me. Am I sore? NO.
 
CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?
I live in Miami, land of mojitos, beaches, and the Brazilian Butt Lift, which is both huge and horrific. But that wasn’t your question. There’s not much of a horror scene here, so I often feel displaced.  
CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?
I used to outline every friggin chapter, but nowadays, I leave room for organic writing. I’ll outline the first 4-5 chapters just to get things moving, maybe 3 plot points, and a generic ending. Along the way, I’ll usually end up thinking of something better and go in another direction that ends up serving the story better anyway. So, I guess a combo of both.
CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?
When I published my first young adult novel, BACKSTAGE PASS, I felt validated as a “real” author and began writing in a “real” way, meaning every day, as though it were a job, not a hobby. Because it was.
CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story? 
To me, it’s about the character. Once you know who they are, what they’re scared of, what they’re resisting or missing in life, then you put them in every situation that sucks to be them. Horror isn’t different from any other story, except fear is a bigger focus, and personally, I’m a nut for atmospheric gothic tales about old houses, ghosts, and what is there but you can’t see.
CHHR: What are you currently working on?
Finishing up RIVER OF GHOSTS, the 2nd book in the Haunted Florida series that’s now on pre-sale. My whole life, I wanted to read horror stories set in South Florida where I live, like what Anne Rice books are to New Orleans, but I couldn’t find many, so I figured I’d write them myself.
CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?
PROVIDENCE by Caroline Kepnes. I got it in my goody bag at the Horror Writers Association’s conference in March and have been slowly making my way towards it. It’s next in the TBR. I just finished KILL CREEK by Scott Thomas, TEETH OF THE SEA by Tim Waggoner, and THE CARROW HAUNT by Darcy Coates.
CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?
Any of them will scare me if it’s 2 am and I’m the only one awake.
CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?
THE WITCHING HOUR by Anne Rice and BAG OF BONES by Stephen King are two of my all-time favorites.
CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?
Oh, man. I’m not a “favorites” type person. I have a wide set of books and films I love, but The Shining remains one of my all-time favorites because of its slow-burn descent into madness. I also really love The Conjuring because of its old-school haunting elements but with modern pacing, and The Omen still freaks me out.
CHHR: What type of music do you listen to? What’s your favorite album?
I listen to literally everything. It all depends on my mood, of which I have many. J On one day, I might be listening to Loreena McKennitt if I’m feeling witchy, Dave Matthews Band on another if I’m feeling nostalgic for a bittersweet time in my life, Eminem if I’m feeling rebellious, Guns N’ Roses if I want to pretend I’m back in high school, or Celia Cruz if I’m feeling close to my Cuban roots. U2’s Unforgettable Fire is still one of my all-time favorite albums.
CHHR: What is your spirit animal?
Cat, without a doubt. Specifically my cat, Bowie. He’s a survivor who’s been shot, rehabilitated, and now lives his best life. I haven’t been shot but I’ve been through a lot in only 46 years and only now feel like I’m getting a hang of this. 
CHHR: What is your favorite beer?
Cherry Wheat by Sam Adams, which I can’t find ANYWHERE IN MIAMI. *grumbles* I also love an Aruba Red and Shock Top’s Blood Orange or Sunset Orange or whatever the fuck it’s called.
CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?
Washington Irving, author of my favorite short story ever—The Legend of Sleepy Hollow—on which my book WAKE THE HOLLOW is based. The man had a super interesting life, was one of the first American authors to win acclaim in Europe, served as Ambassador to Spain, and was rumored to have a brief romantic liaison with author Mary Shelley (a major plot point in my book). 
Thanks for having me! 
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Bio:

 

GABY TRIANA is the bestselling author of horror and YA novels, Island of Bones, Cakespell, Wake the Hollow, Summer of Yesterday, and many more, as well as 40+ ghostwritten novels for best-selling authors. Gaby has also published with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Entangled, won an IRA Teen Choice Award, ALA Best Paperback Award, and Hispanic Magazine’s Good Reads of 2008. She writes about ghosts, haunted places, and abandoned locations. When she’s not obsessing over Halloween, Christmas, or the paranormal, she’s taking her family to Disney World, the Grand Canyon, LA, New York, or Key West. Gaby dreams of living a witchy life in the forests of New England but for the meantime resides in sunny Miami with her boys, Michael, Noah, and Murphy, her husband Curtis, their dog, Chloe, and four cats—Daisy, Mickey Meows, Paris, and the reformed thug/shooting survivor, Bowie.

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