Title: Wake the Hollow
Author: Gaby Triana
Genre: YA paranormal, retelling
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Published: August 2nd, 2016
I really enjoyed this book that was kind of a new take on the whole Headless Horseman and Sleepy Hollow story by Washington Irving. Also a look at the author, Irving, and his history. This is the kind of story that grabs me and makes me want to look more into the actual history and any of the theories that were put forth.
The main character is Mica Burgos. She spent the first 12 years of her life living in Sleepy Hollow with her parents. Her mother was kind of known as the crazy lady in the town, always researching crazy theories about Washington Irving, the author that the town claims as their most important figure. They even have two families that are said to be descended from branches of his family, and they are the ones that made Mica’s life miserable. When her father had the chance to move his family to Miami after becoming very successful, Mica’s mother chose to stay, and Mica left and didn’t ever really contact her mother again. Until one day she receives a cryptic note from her mother, and shortly after, her mother is found dead. Unable to get back until weeks after the funeral, Mica comes back to a mystery. Her father is out of the country on business, and he gets a condo/townhome set up for Mica and her nanny/family assistant to live there while she goes back to settle her mom’s affairs.
She is met by her best friend from back then, a boy named Bram. Bram was the only person who seemed to give her a chance, even going against his own family, one of the two descended families, to be her friend and support her. But he seems to have feelings that are more than just friendly, and Mica knows that she will leave Sleepy Hollow again as soon as she figures out just what the mess her mother left for her is. So many things are happening. First, Mica has always seen ghosts or heard voices, something her mother used to do. And when she gets to town, she immediately begins to feel like she is being followed. There are hints that maybe her mother’s death wasn’t a natural heart attack as she was told. A famous journal of Washington Irving was stolen, and everyone seems to blame Mica’s mother for it. But Mica doesn’t find the journal, although she does start finding pages that could belong to it. As well as finding a family tree/ancestry chart, that shows a possible link from Mica’s family to the whole big deal in the town. It all relates to a theory that the new student teacher in town, Dane Boracich brings up in his first lesson in class. And there is something else strange about this new teacher, he seems to be following Mica.
And things just get spookier from there. At one point, Mica thinks that she may actually see the headless horseman, although it seems he is after someone who is threatening her. There seem to be all different people around town who have some kind of reason or possibility of being the way that her mother possibly died. Then there are the journal pages that Mica’s mom has left all over for her. No matter how many times she tries to call, Mica can’t seem to get her father on the phone, and things get even weirder when her father’s assistant leaves her all alone. She goes to stay with her mom’s friend and their old neighbor. Trying to get into her old house is difficult when the realtor with the key won’t call her back. The police won’t answer any of her questions either. Mica will have to decide who to trust. Her old friend Bram, although he comes from a family that could be at fault with her mother’s death, not to mention his creepy roommate that comes from the other family, and had always been hateful to Mica since she turned him down years ago as well. And then there is the new teacher, Dane. When Mica finds out that maybe he isn’t exactly who he says he is, can she trust him? All of it will come to a head at the big annual HollowEve event where Bram will get to play the part of the Headless Horseman, and Mica will learn not only who she can trust, but what exactly her mother was trying to hide for her to find, and just how deadly finding it could be.
A great retelling/reimagining of both Sleepy Hollow, as well as possibly Washington Irving’s life. I’m now very intrigued to go learn more about Irving. I like how the author of this book included a reading guide at the end, as well as giving the steps she took for writing this. The ending is a good one, although in a way, there is a bit of an opening left, giving us a peek at what might be coming up for Mica in the future, or at least it made me want to know more!
When I signed up for this book with the publisher, they asked if I would be interested in working with the author to do anything else, and I was lucky enough to get to do an interview. Here is what she had to say:
1. What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start? Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)? If you plan it out, how do you do that? Outline, note cards, post-it notes, etc.?
I have to know which way I’m headed before I start. This means first, I’ll brainstorm by hand, usually in a notebook I’ve bought just for the book I’m working on. Then, since I need to know my beginning, ending, and a few events in the middle before I start, I’ll fill in about 1/3 of an outline before I start writing, creating the rest of the outline as I go. Late nights are best for me. It’s when my kids are all asleep, and I can think the best.
2. How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?
Ideas come in many ways. Sometimes I have an ending in mind before anything else, so I’ll work toward that ending. Sometimes I have a concept only, no characters or plot, just an idea to figure out, and sometimes I have a character in mind and work around that. Real life is a great source of inspiration, so I use a lot from my own dramatic life. 😛
3. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was in the 3rd grade. I always knew I wanted to be a writer! Oh, you meant professionally. 🙂 I’ve been writing and publishing since 2002, so 14 years writing young adult.
4. What tips do you have for aspiring writers?
Thinking your story has to be perfectly thought out before you start is a big mistake. Just write. Even if it’s terrible, even if it’s not exactly what you want it to be, just write. Play “what if” with a notebook—this is going somewhere comfy and brainstorming a list of all the things that could happen in your story. Before you know it, you’ll have a bunch of events to plug into an outline chronologically, and before you know it, you’ll have a completed novel.
Some fun questions
Books/authors/genres: I’m a big fan of horror—Stephen King, Joe Hill, Anne Rice
Movies/TV Shows: I don’t get to watch much TV because I’m always writing, but I love The Conjuring and Downton Abbey.
Music: I’m a child of the 70’s – 80’s, so anything from then. I also love anything you can dance to and anything that tells a story, including country music.
Food/writing snack: Oh, man. Chocolate! Also, strawberry Dole bars and Cheerios are easy to grab so I don’t have to stop writing.
Social Media Site: I use Facebook and Instagram most. Everytime I use Twitter, I feel like I’m alone in space with lots of meteors flying past. No one is listening, but there’s a lot of movement.
I love all the answers listed here! I got some great things for myself in writing tips, and the fact that the author loves some of my favorite horror authors, as well as one of my favorite scary movies, The Conjuring, tells me that I’ll be looking forward to more books by her!
Author bio: (taken from author’s website)
GABY TRIANA is the award-winning author of six YA novels—Wake the Hollow (Coming 2016), Summer of Yesterday, Riding the Universe, The Temptress Four, Cubanita, and Backstage Pass, as well as thirteen ghostwritten novels for best-selling authors. Originally a 4th grade teacher with a Master of Science in Elementary Education and ten years teaching experience, Gaby earned Teacher of the Year in 2000, wrote her first novel, Freddie and the Biltmore Ghost, then left teaching to launch a full-time writing career. She went on to publish young adult novels with HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, win an IRA Teen Choice Award, ALA Best Paperback Award, and Hispanic Magazine’s Good Reads of 2008. She spends her time obsessing about Halloween, Christmas, and Disney World, as well as hosting parties, designing mugs, making whimsical cakes, and winning costume contests. When she’s not writing, she might also be watching Jurassic Park movies with her boys, posting excessive food pics on social media, or helping run the Florida region of the SCBWI. Gaby lives in Miami with her three sons, Michael, Noah, and Murphy. She has one dog, Chloe, and two cats—Miss Daisy, and the reformed thug, shooting survivor, Bowie.