The Sirens of Suspense

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An Anthony Award-nominated website on all things mystery.

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Paige McKenzie is the teen star of the hit YouTube channel The Haunting of Sunshine Girl. What began as a simple "girl and her haunted house" story has grown to a multi-webisode network with stories of zombies, ghosts, Sasquatch and lots of Sunshine! Full of positivity, humor and plenty of scares, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl has allowed Paige to spread her unique brand of adorkableness to other teens (and many adults) all over the world! At the age of 16, Paige (along with her mother, actress Mercedes Rose and producing partner, Nick Hagen) co-founded the production company Coat Tale Productions. The Haunting of Sunshine Girl was recently optioned by The Weinstein Company for development into a book series with a film (or two) to follow! Paige is gluten free, vertically challenged and quotes movies as easily as breathing.


Find Paige on Facebook and Twitter


You started THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL as a YouTube series at 16, which garnered millions of viewers and resulted in this novel. Can you tell us a little bit about how the YouTube series came to be?

Sure! So yeah, way back when I was 16 my mom met with a local filmmaker friend who had an idea for a YouTube series about a family with a haunted house. After some talking the three of us decided it would be simpler if it was just about a girl and her mom and their haunted house. We knew we were in this for the long haul since it takes time to build up a YouTube channel and create a great story so we decided to all become partners in a production company we formed together. We've been making videos (and films) together ever since. 


What first drew you to the thriller genre? What were your influences on the show and the book? Can you tell us some of your favorite mystery/thriller novels, television or films? Do you still have the same taste, or has it changed over time? Who do you read now?

I just love to read scary stuff! Oddly enough, I am a total wuss about scary movies! My influences are those that cross the funny with scary: Scream and Cabin in the Woods and Buffy and even Veronica Mars. I am getting a bit braver in what I watch but I am still pretty easily freaked!


Tell us a little bit about how the experience of the show differs from the experience of writing the book. Do you prefer one over the other?

The show is fun because it's constantly going. I'm always needing to create new content to post so it forces me to keep coming up with stuff for people to watch. Writing the book was much different. I was able to take a step back and look at the favorite parts of the story I told on YouTube and tell it the way I really wanted. I was not limited by what I could or couldn't film when writing the book so it was much more freeing. 


For those who haven’t seen the show, can you tell us a little bit about the premise, and subsequently, what they can expect from the book?

At the most basic level it's about a girl who moves into a haunted house with her mom. But her mom doesn't believe it and Sunshine starts trying to prove to her that the haunting is real. That's the point of the videos. In the very first video she tells everyone watching that she's going to catch the ghost on video and prove to her mom that it's real. In the book I approached the story a little different as there's no YouTube. In both the YouTube and the book the story is about so much more than just a simple haunting. Sunshine learns that there's a reason her house is haunted and it very much has to do with her. 


Do you have any advice for authors who would like to cross media like you have done? Do you see similar cross-overs or stories told across different platforms being the way of the future?

I do see similar cross-over stories in the future. I think the internet gives aspiring writers, authors, and storytellers a lot of opportunity to get their work out there for people to see and if you can get enough people to fall in love with your work than it has value in the eyes of publishers and other people in "the biz". 


What’s coming next for you?

More of the YouTube of course! I'm always making videos for my channel. I've got a whole list of events coming up where I'm signing my book. You can see the whole list on That will keep me pretty busy this spring. And then of course I'm working on the next book which will be out in March of 2016. And you may have heard, Weinstein and Dimension are adapting the novel for the screen and I'll be playing Sunshine in that lots of fun stuff!





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Book she wishes shecould read again for the first time: ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell.

Book or eReader: I have both but I prefer real books.

Period in history she'd like to visit: 50's or 60's, the fashion is just too great!

Favorite independent bookstore: Powell's in Portland, it's a magical wonderland of the written word.

If she could meet one of her characters: Sunshine, then you could see the real similarities and differences between us.

If she could meet any author: Chris Priestly, he's just so damn dark.

If she could invite four people to a dinner party: Audrey Hepburn, Dame Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, and Betty White. We would have the style, the wisdom, charm, and wit. And me.