• Gaby Triana


Updated: Jul 3, 2018

What makes a young adult and romance author drop everything and write horror?

When I first began in traditional publishing in 2002, I'd written a ghostly middle grade novel called FREDDIE AND THE BILTMORE GHOST about a group of kids who break into a famous abandoned Miami hotel, wreak havoc, help the restless spirits find the ever-after, and learn deep dark secrets about their families. It didn't have much conflict, but it was a great first effort. Most importantly, it would encapsulate a repetitive theme for me--characters who love haunted locations, are a little witchy, seek out ghosts, and learn deep dark secrets about their families in the process. 

Freddie didn't sell, and the voices of YA novels were starting to appeal to me in my writing critique group, so I wrote BACKSTAGE PASS, a young adult tale about the daughter of a famous rockstar trying to remain incognito at her high school while her dad's band was in town recording a new album. It got Disney interest, we whipped up option paperwork, and the contract fell through. A year later, Disney came out with an eerily similar concept called HANNAH MONTANA about a young country star trying to remain incognito at her high school. I'll pause here while you groan...

*nods solemnly*

Fast forward 16 years. I've since written 7 YA novels, ghostwritten over 40 novels for private clients which include bestselling authors in all genres, published 4 romance novels under a pen name, and sat around doing a lot of thinking about what I really, truly want to be writing. And the answer is: ghost stories about characters lured to abandoned places, witches who help restless spirits and discover deep dark secrets about their families. 

Nothing has changed, y'all. Nothing. 

WAKE THE HOLLOW, my 6th YA novel, followed this theme. Even my YA time-travel romance, SUMMER OF YESTERDAY, followed a similar theme. My first love has always been and will always be...GHOST STORIES. Since I was little, I've loved creepy tales of things that go bump in the night, of moaning specters looking for closure or to drive the living insane, of family secrets blown wide open by curious protagonists, and of eerie, romantic Gothic settings. One thing I always had a hard time finding, however, were more Gothic paranormal tales set in Florida. I'd devoured all of Anne Rice's Southern Gothic books about witches, but I wanted more. I wanted Miami witches and ghosts, Key West witches and ghosts, the Everglades, the keys, and all the spaces in between. 

So I set out to write them myself. 

I present to you this 8th day of June, 2018 a dream come true--my Haunted Florida series! Book 1 is ISLAND OF BONES set in 1950s and modern-day Key West. It has all the elements I've always loved--the ghosts, the old abandoned house, a creepy innkeeper, modern-day pirates, lost treasure, secrets, secrets, and more secrets. And it's scary, you guys. And a little gory, too. 

Here's the blurb:

A haunted Key West resort. Ghosts off the Cuban coast. A deadly hurricane.

When Ellie Whitaker leaves her dead-end job and ex behind to spread her grandmother's ashes in tropical paradise, the last thing she expected was to face more ghosts of the past.

But darkness lurks inside her grandmother's former home turned resort. Ellie's presence stirs up its energies. As a hurricane creeps closer to the island, she must hurry to discover long-buried truths.

About her treasure-hunting grandfather's death in 1951. About the curse her grandmother left behind. About the innkeeper next door with an evil secret.

And the spectral visions she keeps having. Some there to help her. And some to make sure Ellie becomes a ghostly resident of haunted Key West forever.

This is only the beginning. I'm finally where I've always wanted to be. Book 2 in the Haunted Florida series will be RIVER OF GHOSTS, set deep in the Everglades featuring the Miccosukee tribe of South Florida, and Book 3 is CITY OF SPELLS, about my hometown of Miami featuring, you guessed it...some good ol' Cuban santería. 

Life's a journey, and mine has been a winding rollercoaster of one. I hope you enjoy ISLAND OF BONES!

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