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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | The Not-So-Accidental Blog Tourist Hop

The Not-So-Accidental Blog Tourist Hop


aprillindner-photo2Welcome to this wandering tour of blogs by artists – writers, musicians, painters, photographers, and more. I was invited by April Lindner:

April Lindner is the author of two poetry collections, This Bed Our Bodies Shaped from Able Muse Press and Skin from Texas Tech University Press.  She also has written three young adult novels—JaneCatherine, and the forthcoming Love, Lucy, all published by Poppy. With R. S. Gwynn, she co-edited Contemporary American Poetry, in Longman’s Penguin Academics series.  A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, she lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania.

Please make your acquaintance with April at her blog: April Lindner Writes

Now, for my part in the tour …

1. What am I currently working on?

While I wait on an editorial letter for the third book in the Eighth Day series, I’m working on the (painful) first draft of a middle grade science fiction adventure that I keep referring to as “string theory for kids.” The working title is BRANEWORLD. I’m also reading a book called The Ancient Alien Question by Philip Coppens and making notes for a possible future project.  (So far, I’m pretty skeptical on the whole alien visitation thing, but I am convinced there were some extremely advanced ancient civilizations that history has  forgotten, ignored, and denied. Fascinating potential for story-making!)

 2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Is my work different? I don’t know, but I hope so. My previously published books, We Hear the Dead and The Caged Graves are YA historical – which I’m told over and over is a hard sell. (Yet, I keep trying!) They are both based on true historical events that have never been completely explained.

As for The Eighth Day series, I hope its combination of contemporary setting, Arthurian-legend-tie-in, pop culture, humor, and mix of MG and YA characters will make it stand out among other kids’ fantasy adventures. Recent status updates from a teenage reader on Goodreads gives me hope that the book will appeal across the MG/YA gap:

I LOVE RILEY SO MUCH Jax too but RILEY! I feel a little weird developing such a huge crush on one of the characters… I mean this is middle grade… but hey at least the dude is my age.


As for BRANEWORLD, I can think of other fiction that explores the same math and science – but not for this age group, and nothing recent.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

 I write what I want to read — what I want to read now as an adult, and what I wanted to read as a kid. People can say all they want that YA Contemporary is the hot ticket item right now. It’s not what I read, and I can’t quite imagining writing it.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

First there is a premise, and then there are characters. An inkling of plot comes to me, and I start writing the book WAY before I really have the plot pinned down. This leads to a lot of struggling and whining and hating my first draft – which is the point I’m at right now! When I finally get to the end of the first draft, I understand what the story was supposed to be about all along. Then I roll into the second draft with a plan and a purpose and revel in glorious revisions.

And yes, I have tried outlining before drafting. It doesn’t work for me. The story has to develop organically as I tell it, so in a way, the first draft is a really detailed outline itself.

Now I’m going to pass the blog hop torch to three more artists – who will participate next Monday, July 28. Please make note of (or possibly visit) …


Chris FriesCHRIS FRIES: Chris has been playing guitar since the age of 12 and writing since he could first put letters together. But so far, it’s been a labor of love rather than a means of obtaining fame and fortune (Not that he is opposed to them — he’s open to glowing accolades and financial enrichment should anyone want to lavish him with either). He has had several micro-fiction pieces published on various writing websites, and he plays on the worship team at his church. He is currently working on two science-fiction short stories and a historical mystery novel. He also records music that he shares on SoundCloud.comwikiloops.com, and on his blog. Visit him at StratPlayerCJF.blogspot.com.”


CrystalCRYSTAL COLLIER: Crystal is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.


C Lee McKenzieC. LEE McKENZIE: C. Lee McKenzie is a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains where she lives with her family and miscellaneous pets. She writes most of the time, gardens and hikes and does yoga a lot, and then travels whenever she can. She takes on modern issues that today’s teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. Her short story, Premeditated Cat, appears in the anthology, The First Time, and her Into the Sea of Dew is part of a collection, Two and Twenty Dark Tales. In 2012, her first middle grade novel,Alligators Overhead, came out. Double Negative is her third young adult novel. You can find her at C. Lee McKenzie Books.



16 Responses to The Not-So-Accidental Blog Tourist Hop

  1. Your historical novels fascinate me. I love stories about the unexplained. What’s interesting, too, is that you have a middle grade character named Riley. Guess what my MC’s name is in Alligators Overhead? Yep. Riley.

  2. That Goodreads review is awesome!!!

    I tend to start writing long before the idea has fully gelled as well. But I outline what I know and as I figure things out, I outline some more. I don’t think I’ve ever written two books in exactly the same way!

  3. You passed it off to three awesome writers!
    Braneworld – I like that title.
    I don’t think I could write contemporary anything…

  4. Chris Fries says:

    “String Theory for Kids???”

    OK — I’m sold! I applaud you for not thinking that “for kids” means it has to be inane and unintelligent. There are far too many authors who talk down to kids.

    And you keep ON trying that historical aspect, too! There’s no reason that the interesting periods of history can’t be as exciting and engaging as any distopian future or supernatural urban fantasy.

    And thank you very much for mention in the blog hop!

    But geeezzz — where’d you get that horrible picture!?!? Oh, wait…. Mental note: Never send any pic from my cell phone as a headshot for an article. 😉

  5. This >> “People can say all they want that YA Contemporary is the hot ticket item right now. It’s not what I read, and I can’t quite imagining writing it.” This is me too. I love YA historical fiction. It may not be a hot seller, but it’s my favorite. At least, we’ll never be accused of jumping on a trendy bandwagon.

  6. Southpaw says:

    It’s also so interesting to hear that something “doesn’t have market” or it’s a “hard sell”. Especially in YA. People in that age range tend to be more experimental.

  7. Interesting interview!

    Who cares what the so-called trends are? If you keep writing what you want to read, kids will keep wanting to read them, too. Even better yet, you make learning fun. Who’s to say you aren’t establishing the next trend?

  8. You’re spot on about YA contemp being huge right now. I don’t read much of it, though I did LOVE John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars. And I don’t see myself ever writing in that genre either, but I guess never say never! And I love Braneworld as a title. =)

  9. Joanne Fritz says:

    Loved hearing about what you’re currently working on, Dianne. Braneworld sounds cool to me! And that ancient alien stuff could be intriguing, especially in your capable hands.

    Have to agree about outlining. I resist it with every fiber of my being! My rough draft becomes my outline and I go from there.

  10. Loved hearing what you’re working on. And can’t wait to read the sequel to The Eighth Day.

  11. mshatch says:

    “…the first draft is a really detailed outline itself.” Boy, can I relate to that!

  12. Your latest MS sounds fascinating – even if it’s making you pull out your hair right now. I’m surprised that YA historical isn’t selling. I thought YA anything was hot, and yours are interesting. But you’re right not to follow the trends. We can’t catch up anyway, so better to try to start our own. 😉

  13. Hilary says:

    Hi Dianne .. your books sound a great read .. a mix of young adult with a definite pinch of grown up in there .. I’m sure you couldn’t not have bumped them up a little .. as Chris says .. String Theory for kids .. looking forward to your new ones ..

    The three next on the list – look fascinating .. Crystal and Lee I know .. and now I must meet Chris .. cheers to you all – Hilary

  14. Mina B. says:

    I would totally read YA historical, but I love historical so I guess that’s not a stretch for me.

    I like the title BRANEWORLD too. Very cool.

    I’m used to writing like that too–kind of going with the flow. But on one of my projects, I’ve written the whole story out which is different for me. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  15. Robin says:

    I think this is the first time I have seen the cover of the second book. Wow. It looks great. I cannot wait to read it. Are you sending out review ARCs again? If so, sign me up. I want to get my grubby little paws on this gem ASAP.

  16. Ooh! I’m still working on getting to The 8th Day with the kids. If only Shannon Hale wrote a little leaner. *sigh*

    Braneworld sounds awesome!