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Friday, November 15, 2013

The Eighth Day author Dianne Salerni

So there Dianne was, in a pretty good position as a new author, two books under her belt with the second one garnering some very favorable reviews. And then she got this idea about an eighth day...

In this riveting fantasy adventure, thirteen-year-old Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day with roots tracing back to Arthurian legend. Fans of Percy Jackson will devour this first book in a new series that combines exciting magic and pulse-pounding suspense.
When Jax wakes up to a world without any people in it, he assumes it's the zombie apocalypse. But when he runs into his eighteen-year-old guardian, Riley Pendare, he learns that he's really in the eighth day—an extra day sandwiched between Wednesday and Thursday. Some people—like Jax and Riley—are Transitioners, able to live in all eight days, while others, including Evangeline, the elusive teenage girl who's been hiding in the house next door, exist only on this special day.
And there's a reason Evangeline's hiding. She is a descendant of the powerful wizard Merlin, and there is a group of people who wish to use her in order to destroy the normal seven-day world and all who live in it. Torn between protecting his new friend and saving the entire human race from complete destruction, Jax is faced with an impossible choice. Even with an eighth day, time is running out.
Stay tuned for The Inquisitor's Mark, the spellbinding second novel in the Eighth Day series.


Tell us how you got the idea for The Eighth Day.

Well, the order of events is slightly different than you describe. I wrote The Eighth Day (originally titled Grunsday) in 2012, around the same time I was working on editorial revisions for The Caged Graves – so over a year before that book came out.
But I had the idea of the premise at least 18 months before that. It came out of a common household joke in my house. My daughters would ask when we were going to do something, and my husband would teasingly reply, “Grunsday. We’ll do it on Grunsday.” One night at dinner, I asked my family, “What if there really was a Grunsday in the middle of the week, but most people didn’t know about it?”
My husband and daughters enthusiastically said I should write a story about that, but it took months and months before I came up with a plot to go with the premise.

What did your agent think about it when she read it? Did she love it as much as I did?

When I sent Sara the pitch (a little self-consciously, because I’d only ever given her historical fiction before this), I got an enthusiastic response. Something along the lines of “Wow! Send it right away!” It only took her a few days to read it, and then she wanted to talk. She loved the idea and told me she’d already pitched it around the office and to an editor over a lunch meeting. Everybody was thrilled by the idea, but they all had the same comment: I’d written it as YA, but they thought it should be MG. And as soon as Sara said it, I knew she was right.

Tell us about the deal and how it came about.

First, I reduced the age of the protagonist and removed some YA elements. Then Sara put the manuscript on submission. Within a few days, Sara called me with two questions from HarperCollins. 1) Would I be willing to take out another element they considered unacceptable for MG? 2) Would I be willing to write more books in a series?
Uh … YES and YES, of course!
Then there was about a week of nail biting before the offer came in for a 3-book deal with an option for other books in the series. It was late on a Friday afternoon, and Sara warned me she might not be able to close the deal until the following week.
Half an hour later, while my husband and I were celebrating the “almost deal” with Prosecco, Sara called back to tell me she’d closed the deal in a pre-empt.  I screamed in her ear and probably deafened her, I think.

Most people would say you're in an enviable place but no matter where we are in our journey as writers and authors, there's always a hard part. What's the hardest part of where you are right now? What about something unexpected? 

The hardest part is worrying about meeting deadlines for contracted books – and worrying if my editor will like the next book I write for the series, or if it will disappoint her. I also have to juggle this writing with a full time teaching job that has gotten more stressful this year thanks to changes outside my control.
And the place I’m in might be enviable, but there’s no guarantee that this series will be a hit, that HarperCollins will pick up the option for additional books, or that I’ll ever have another deal like this again. I enjoy what I have right now, but I know there will probably be uncertainties in the future.
Something unexpected? The HarperCollins team. I worried that working with a big six publisher would mean a less responsive editor, unreturned emails, and feeling left in the dark all the time. That is NOT the case! I am very lucky to have landed where I am.

Finally, what advice would you offer those who would like to follow in your footsteps?

I know the standard advice is Don’t Give Up and Keep Writing.  Those two things are the biggies. But along with that, I’ll add Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket.
Write multiple manuscripts. Try more than one genre – and more than one audience. Don’t expect things to happen when you want them, or in the order you want them. My agent has sold two books for me – the second and fourth books I gave her. Numbers one and three have not found their home yet, but that doesn’t mean they never will. It just means their time hasn’t come. All writers need to have a diverse body of work, because they never know which one will be THE ONE.

A huge thank you to Dianne for coming by this week to inspire us all :)


Liz A. said...

Great advice. Thanks.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Loved this! Dianne is such an inspiration and I loved hearing more about her new book.