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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing


Susanne Drasic and Fiona Claire both invited me to participate in The Next Big Thing meme, but I’m breaking two of the rules. Sorry!
First of all, I thought it was a hop, so instead of tagging others, I rounded up a few people to participate on the same day. You’ll find their links below, and they are all posting today.
Secondly, I’m supposed to write about my WIP. But while I’d love to tell you about my most recently completed manuscript, I can’t do that right now. Maybe soon. (Fingers crossed.)  Instead, I’m going to write about the book that’s releasing next spring.
What is the title of your book?
The title is The Caged Graves, and you can see the beautiful cover on the side bar.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I saw a photograph of a grave surrounded by an iron cage on the internet. When I realized this unusual grave was located only an hour away from our house in the mountains, my husband tracked down the cemetery and took me to see it. Only there turned out to be two caged graves, not just one. They were the graves of two women, who died within days of one another. That’s where the story started.

What genre does your book fall under?

The Caged Graves is a romantic mystery in a historical setting.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This is a hard question for me. Searching the faces of current celebrities doesn’t do me any good, because I have to imagine them in historical dress. The fact that casting for the characters in my first book, We Hear the Dead, is actually going on right now boggles my mind. I’m going to pass on casting The Caged Graves, too!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Seventeen year old Verity Boone returns to her hometown — where “the dead don’t always stay where you put them” — to marry a young man she’s met only through letters, an unpromising engagement complicated by another suitor, her family’s entanglement with a legendary treasure, and the caged graves of her mother and aunt.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My book is represented by Sara Crowe and will be published by Clarion/HMH on May 14, 2013.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I first saw the graves in January of 2010. After mulling the story over for several months and researching various historical elements, I started the first draft in May of that year and finished it in September, five months later. I had a draft good enough to send to my agent by February of 2011, and after completing more editorial revisions with Sara, the book sold in August 2011 to Clarion/HMH.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown and The Agency series by Y.S. Lee are romantic mysteries in historical settings.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Most people seem intrigued by the caged graves, especially after seeing my photographs of the real ones. However, there’s also a romantic triangle, treasure, mysterious deaths, and dark family secrets that some people want to remain buried, even if it means silencing Verity forever.

These writers are also participating in The Next Big Thing today. Please visit and say hello!

16 Responses to The Next Big Thing

  1. Mary says:

    Oh! That sounds like it’s right up my alley. Can’t wait for May!

    Thanks for asking me to participate in this. I had a lot of fun with it.

  2. Linda G. says:

    I can’t wait for this book! The concept of caged graves fascinates–and horrifies–the claustrophobe in me.

  3. T. Drecker says:

    What an intriguing idea! Congratulations. Can’t wait until it hits the shelves.

  4. Can’t wait to read your book next year. The idea of the caged graves is so shivery.

  5. Enjoyed your post and learning more about your book.

  6. Until I read about it in one of your previous posts, Dianne, I’d never heard of caged graves. Makes me wonder what they are caging in. lol

    I didn’t know We Hear The Dead is being made into a movie!!!!

  7. SA Larsenッ says:

    You know I’m all about this story. And OMGosh, Dianne! I didn’t know you sold the film rights for WHTD!! Whoot!!!

  8. Sounds like a great story. I have to admit I’m REALLY intrigued by the story behind the caged graves. 🙂

  9. I’ve told several people about the premise of your new book and how interesting finding those graves must have been.

    So looking forward to it!

  10. mshatch says:

    Can’t wait to have that book in my hands 🙂

  11. Rachel says:

    This sounds AWWWWWESOME!!!! Can’t wait to pick it up in book stores, Dianne! I also am sad to hear I missed your SUPER EXCITING MOVIE NEWS! *snoopy dances* I’m so so excited and thrilled for you!!!

  12. What a cool book to be writing especially around Halloween! Your synopsis sounds fascinating!

  13. That is a beautiful cover, and a fascinating concept! Can’t wait to read it.

  14. The books sounds great! I can’t wait to read it.

    I’d have a hard time picking out people to play my characters as well.

  15. I absolutely love the sound of this book. You’ve pretty much sold me. I’ll be checking this out soon. 🙂

  16. Tonja says:

    It’s a great concept for a story.