Sound the alarm

Kiera Cass brings ‘The Siren’ to Books & Co

By Emma Jarman

Themes in young adult fiction have trended toward the otherworldly supernatural as of late, evidenced by the raging popularity of series such as Twilight, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. New York Times bestselling author Kiera Cass’s latest publication, “The Siren,” is another nod to the theme.

“‘The Siren’ follows Kahlen, a siren, as she lives her life in service to the sea,” Cass explains. “Sirens are girls rescued from the water and employed by the Ocean for 100 years, with their bodies temporarily freezing at that age and their voices becoming deadly. After that, they are free to live their own lives, with no memory of the ocean, their sisters or what they’d done all those years. Kahlen is 20 years away from the end of her sentence when she meets a boy … and everything gets complicated.”

“The Siren” was Cass’s first novel, self-published in 2009.

“I remember thinking, ‘That’d be fun to write about if they only had a reason to exist.’ And then it hit me! The Ocean eats people! That was why they existed! So I ran downstairs, scribbled down four paragraphs, and that was the beginning of everything,” Cass says. “[Publishing my first book was] very fulfilling and very strange. Seeing my book on a shelf was all I wanted, so it was very cool to walk into a store and have that happen. It was also a huge thing for me. But life kept going. I had no idea if people would even pick it up or not, so it was weird to watch it all unfold.”

A few changes have been made in the past six years, namely the dialogue, which Cass noted was one of the most difficult parts of writing the novel.

“In the first version, we never heard the Ocean speak: we got her words through the girls,” Cass points out. “Now, she has a voice, and making sure you understand her when she’s speaking was difficult. I hope putting that in the book rounds her out as a character—because for our story, she’s alive!—and explains her relationship with the sirens better.”

Cut to today: “The Siren” is being redistributed as a product of HarperTeen Publishing, the young adult division of HarperCollins Publishing Company. In the years following her original self-publish, Cass has penned The Selection series, which earned rave reviews and a loyal fan-base. Returning to the story of the sirens, Cass notes the experience of revisiting a world she created so many years ago.

“It was challenging because once a book is published, I never read it again,” she explains. “I know there’s too much I’d want to fix, writing-wise. But those characters never leave me, so it was kind of like walking into a party and seeing faces you hadn’t in a few years, but knowing you’d be able to pick up right where you left off.”

As is the case for many, Cass stumbled into writing quite on accident. What began as a therapeutic hobby has evolved into a lucrative career doing the thing she loves most. She now writes daily, be it making progress on a novel, curating her Tumblr page answering questions or making edits to works-in-progress. Free time is almost nonexistent for the 34-year-old mother of two. The South Carolina native now lives in Christiansburg, Virginia, and once dreamt of becoming a Broadway star. She doesn’t maintain many hobbies unrelated to her career but does enjoy journaling in her Illustrated Faith Bible and “making cute lunches for [her] kids, which [she] shamelessly Instagram[s] about (@partylikeawordstar).”

Cass is now touring her re-released book across the country and will make an appearance at Books & Co in The Greene, the fifth stop on a multi-city journey. Life on the road is tough for the self-proclaimed homebody, but the benefits of traveling to share experiences with her fans is worth the time away.

“It can be hard being on the road, but it’s a treat to see so much of the world (and the country),” she says. “I never ever get tired of meeting my readers.”

Kiera Cass will present her book “The Siren” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31 at Books & Co at the Greene, 4453 Walnut St. Line numbers will start at 1 p.m. after showing your Books & Co receipt for “The Siren.” For more information on Cass and her work, please visit She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. 

Reach DCP freelance writer Emma Jarman at 



Tags: ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Got an Opinion?


We are interested to hear what you think.  Please send us a message. [contact-form 4 “Opinion”]  

Springfield’s hidden gem


Referred to as an American Folk Art site, I didn’t know what I expected on my journey to Springfield’s Hartman […]

Debate 7/17: Flag on the Play


Q: Should persons with certain known behavioral tendencies such as suicide or violence be prohibited from owning guns? Legislatures across […]

Conspiracy Theorist 7/17: Hooray for Domino’s

Year after year, the same roads are torn up and road crews patch them. But they never really repair them. […]

On Your Marc 7/17: Good any day

First, a funny story. Larry Lee, the big tackle from Roth High School, for a number of reasons decided he […]

The Cult, Stone Temple Pilots, and Bush at Rose

CULT 2016 Tim Cadiente-2

“Rock and roll never forgets,” the classic rock song goes, and Billy Duffy, guitarist and founding member of the British […]