Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Author Interview: Dianne K. Salerni

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Good morning friends, and welcome to a spotlight for an awesome book! Looking for something to read in the month of October? Something to celebrate Halloween? Very Supertitious might just be your next book!


The stories are based on urban legends, myths, tribal tales and superstitions from around the world. A charity anthology to benefit SPCA International with stories by Shannon Delany, Jackie Morse Kessler, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jennifer Knight, Marianne Mancusi, Michelle E. Reed, Dianne Salerni and Pab Sungenis.

Anthologies are my favorite, and this one has some of the authors I love most! I'll definitely be adding Very Supertitious to my reading list. You should add it to yours as well!

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1) Hi Dianne and welcome to the blog! Let's start simple. What three words would you use to describe yourself and why?

Thanks for having me here! Three words, huh? Creative, persistent, and is there a word for “not completely inside my own head?” My husband likes to tell our daughters, “Mommy is only partly here with us. Half her brain is in a story somewhere.” I think that describes me perfectly. Even when I’m busy at work (I’m a fifth grade teacher) some part of my brain is entertaining itself by making up a story. 


2) I noticed that you write fiction for both Middle Grade readers and Young Adult readers! Do you have a favorite of the two? 

When I started working on my first Middle Grade novel last year, I was excited to be writing a story I could share with the students I teach. I’ve been having a lot of fun getting that book ready for publication and working on others in the series. I can definitely say that I love Middle Grade fiction, with all its adventure and energy and wonder.

But I really miss having a romance in the story, which was an important part of my Young Adult novels. The Middle Grade book does have a tiny bit of romance -- not for the main character, but for two teenage friends of his. However, the romance takes place “off stage.” Part of me is tempted to write some secret scenes about what those two teens-in-love say to each other when their young friend is not around rolling his eyes and making snarky comments!

I suppose I will continue to write for both age groups, to satisfy all that I love about both types of literature.


3) What is one book you've read lately that you'd absolutely recommend?

Just one?! This summer I read and loved both MG and YA books such as The Beyonders Series by Brandon Mull, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy, and The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats. 

But if I had to pick one to recommend to readers everywhere, it would be Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Even though I generally prefer speculative and historical fiction to contemporary realistic fiction, Wonder is a Must Read for Everybody Everywhere.

I want to read it to my class this year, but I know I will cry. I will probably cry a lot. But maybe it will be good for them to see their teacher cry.


4) What would you say to readers who are thinking about picking up a copy of Very Superstitious?

I would tell prospective readers that Very Superstitious is a deliciously chilling collection of stories full of shapeshifters, fey creatures, gods, mysterious hitchhikers, witchcraft, and more than one surprise along the way.


5) I always like to end my interviews with a fun challenge question, so let's go! You have the chance to live in any time period for one week. What time period do you choose, and why? Is there anyone you'd look forward to meeting?

Only one?! Okay, I said that already. But really!? I’m fascinated with SO MANY periods of history!

All right, if I have to pick one, I know which one it has to be. This summer, my family visited the U.K. and I took the opportunity to investigate sites presumably linked to King Arthur. Sadly, what I discovered was there’s no real evidence for a historical King Arthur anywhere in Wales or England. If there was an Arthur, there are no artifacts left from his reign, and if Arthur is a legend based on a real ruler – we don’t know which one.

So I’d like to visit ancient Briton during the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasion and meet Arthur himself if he really existed – and if not, I want to meet the ruler who inspired his legends.
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DIANNE K. SALERNI is a fifth grade teacher by day and a writer by night. She's the author of YA historical novels, We Hear the Dead (Sourcebooks) and The Caged Graves (Clarion/HMH), and a forthcoming MG fantasy series, The Eighth Day (HarperCollins 2014).

The Caged Graves is a Junior Library Guild Selection, and We Hear the Dead was the inspiration for a 10 minute short film, The Spirit Game, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.http://vimeo.com/64738099

In her spare time, Dianne is prone to hanging around creepy cemeteries and climbing 2000 year-old pyramids in the name of book research.

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