dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author
The Spirit Game

It’s a little more than a month until The Eighth Day releases, and lots of fun stuff is happening all at once! Reviews are coming in from professionals and advance readers, and I’m starting to schedule signing events. (Check the sidebar for places and dates! Most of them are local to me, but I’ve got one in Alexandria, Virginia. Any blogging buddies live out that way?)

Last Friday I got a sneak peek at what HarperCollins is brewing for the cover of The Inquisitor’s Mark. I can’t share it yet, but I can tell you I’m really impressed. It’s nothing like I had imagined for this book, but it’s thrilling and sinister and perfect.

This past weekend, I got word that The Spirit Game, the short film inspired by my book We Hear the Dead, is available to rent or own through Vimeo on Demand. You can find it HERE and watch it for $0.99 on your computer or other video-playing device.

Finally, I’m confident I’ll have my manuscript for Book 3 ready to turn in on time to my editor. I still have some issues to work out and revise in Draft 4, but I’m feeling SO MUCH BETTER about this book than I did back in January. And I know that when my editors gets their hands on it, they’ll help me take it to the next level.

I am currently entrenched in editorial revisions for THE EIGHTH DAY, due May 13 — the day before THE CAGED GRAVES releases — so I’m going to keep this update brief.

THE SPIRIT GAME will be showcased in the Not Short On Talent market screenings at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival (May 15 to 26, 2013). According to director Craig Goodwill, “Not Short On Talent is a collection of five 90-minute programs destined to screen at the Cannes Market and at the Festival’s Short Film Corner venue. The initiative is designed to increase the international exploitation of new short films and to promote short film talent to international buyers and festival programmers.”

Meanwhile, THE CAGED GRAVES was named a Junior Library Club selection, which is a pretty big thing. It’s one of the earliest awards given to a book — usually before the release — and is often considered a bellwether of success. This is pretty cool! I’ve also seen some early reviews: Kirkus said, “This unusual romantic mystery stands out” and Publisher’s Weekly called it “an absorbing, atmospheric, and dense work of historical fiction.” 

Dense is a compliment in this case, right?  I hope so!

I recently had the opportunity to view an almost-final cut of THE SPIRIT GAME, which will soon be making the 2013 film festival rounds. It was a strange and exhilarating experience, to see my characters come to life. I’d say “once in a lifetime,” but my husband would reply, “Of course, it’s not once in a lifetime!” Bob fully expects to see my other books on film, too.

What was it like? First of all, I have to point out that my book, WE HEAR THE DEAD, is a fictional interpretation of the real events surrounding the Fox sisters and the rise of Spiritualism in the 1850s. Consider then that a screenwriter interpreted my book. And a director interpreted the screenplay, and the individual actors interpreted their parts.  The end result may not be exactly what I pictured while writing, but fascinating and beautiful nevertheless. I was a contributor to this project, but only one of many. The story is no longer mine alone.
People have asked me, “How can a movie tell the story of your book in ten minutes?”  Well, of course, it can’t. This is just one episode. People then ask, “Oh, which episode in the book does the movie cover?” And the answer is – none.
The screenwriter had to write a ten minute film that gave a flavor of the whole story. It had to be complete enough to satisfy viewers of the short film and tantalizing enough to interest a studio in funding a feature film or television series.
From start to finish, the film shows the Fox sisters before, during, and after a single séance. It gives a quick portrait of each sister:
  • Leah — hungry for fame and wealth and mastermind of the fraud
  • Maggie — kind-hearted and the peace-keeper among her sisters, but morally conflicted
  • Kate — addicted to laudanum, tormented, and possibly afflicted with a real talent

Kate is probably the farthest removed from the character in my book because the film-makers decided to make her older than the young teen in my novel. But this Kate is a valid interpretation of the real one, who performed as a medium from the age of eleven until her death at fifty-five. She is exactly what my Kate is destined to become, even if she hasn’t reached that point by the time my novel ends.
And the séance participants have their own story, as well – one created by the screenwriter Lesley Krueger – and one totally in line with the time period and the type of clientele the Fox sisters used to service.
I am thrilled and honored to have been a part in this whole process and that my book was the inspiration for it (just as the historic events were inspiration for my book). My fingers are crossed that this leads to bigger things. 

Last week was pretty exciting. I got sneak peeks at the filming of The Spirit Game from afar, via Facebook – and I can finally tell you more and share some photos!

The Spirit Game is a short film directed by Craig Goodwilland based on my novel WE HEAR THE DEAD. It will be released in early 2013 and will make the rounds of film festivals next year. Filming was done at Melody Ranch Studios, the place where Deadwood was filmed.
This is a photo of the principal cast, seated around the séance table.
The lovely Katie Boland is a perfect Maggie Fox.
Katherine Isabelle plays her enigmatic younger sister Kate.
Their older sister Leah, the brains behind the séance business, is played by British model and actress Liberty Ross.
Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk plays the part of Mrs. Hopkins, a grieving mother who has come to the Fox sisters to speak to her dead daughter.

And I am thrilled that well known actor Charles Shaughnessy (The Nanny, Mad Men, etc.) is playing the part of Mr. Hopkins, a reluctant participant in the séance with a few skeletons in his closet.
You can “like” The Spirit Game on Facebook to see LOTS more production photos, and I finally broke down and created my own Facebook author page too, where I will post updates.
You know how when it rains, it pours? Yeah, it feels like that right now – with The Spirit Game in production, promotions for The Caged Graves soon to start, The Eighth Day #1 to revise and The Eighth Day #2 to write … But it’s a happy kind of downpour!