Under the Cover: The Sound of a Rainbow

Author and former high-school principal Sharon Frayne shares with us how the teen protagonist of her YA novel The Sound of a Rainbow (Latitude 46 Publishing) was inspired by a talented, but troubled former student, and how she hopes her book is a supportive reminder to teens today.


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I was the principal at a big, busy school. One morning, a distraught student needed to talk to me. Privately, in my office, she shared that “Trina” (not her real name), had a box of “cutters” hidden in her locker. My heart lurched. Trina had a troubled past, and I’d spent lots of time trying to support her. She had an incredible singing voice and a charismatic personality, but was self-destructive. Unfortunately, through gossip and social media, her previous bad choices and troubles had gone viral. I found Trina and her dangerous box, then found more ways to help. It wasn’t easy, but through Trina’s love of the Arts and her openness to others with life challenges, we found a path.

My many years of working with diverse and exceptional students in the school system helped to create the characters and plot for The Sound of a Rainbow. I wanted to write about real teens with challenges in their lives—many different challenges—and provide a setting that was positive and inclusive, with people who cared to make a difference.

Raven Tantie, the main character in The Sound of a Rainbow, is like Trina—talented, but very troubled and a victim of destructive social media. Her desperate, divorcing parents send her to Camp Rainbow Wings, a performing arts camp on an island in Northern Ontario. In this remote setting, without internet access, Raven meets other teens with significant life challenges, including physical disabilities and autism. But even in this environment, Raven has difficult challenges and decisions. Can she run away? Is Grif, a handsome counsellor, interested in her, or just using her? Will the camp’s pristine natural environment be destroyed by business development? Can Raven cope with her parents’ changing relationships and new lifestyles?

The camp director is a former rock star musician who regularly asks the campers, “What sound does a rainbow make?” The campers answer him with jokes, but no one really knows. After a summer of new experiences, difficult decisions, and good choices, Raven discovers the sound of a rainbow.

I wrote The Sound of a Rainbow to recognize the difficulties teens face navigating our current complex times. I want readers to feel included on an adventurous journey, in a remarkable natural environment. I want readers to know that with the right supports, everyone can achieve their potential.

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Sharon Frayne is a retired principal, artist and author. She is the 2021 winner of the Best YA/Juvenile Manuscript in the Muskoka Novel Marathon. Her writing has appeared in the Eden Mills Writers Festival Chapter PublicationCommuterLitAgnes and TrueThe Ekphrastic ReviewUproarThe Local and The Lake Report. She spends her time in Niagara and Muskoka Lakes, Ontario with her family.

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The Sound of a Rainbow is available here on All Lit Up. For more Under the Cover, click here.