dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author

Okay, so last week I was excited about my pre-writing, brainstorming process, but as I started to do actual research, my confidence faltered. What was I thinking – venturing into the steampunk genre? I am the most mechanically disinclined person I know. I have never understood electricity or magnetism, or the relationship between them. How could I possibly grasp the concepts behind Tesla’s work – let alone weave that into the background of a story set in an alternate reality? If I don’t understand the actual technology, how can I conceive of alternate technology?

I was losing my nerve …

Sometimes, however, the cosmos will send you a sign. Maybe more than one. If you’re really dense (like I can be), it might even hit you over the head with multiple signs in a single week.

First, I was invited to attend and perform a reading from We Hear the Dead at Dorian’s Parlor, a steampunk ball which takes place in Philadelphia every month.


Secondly, my husband and I picked out some really cool lights for our “Let’s Brighten Up the Kitchen” project. Only afterwards did we discover these counterweight lights are very popular for people wanting to decorate their home in steampunk. (Are there a lot of those people?!)

Third, I received a nice little message on my Facebook Fan page for We Hear the Dead, and when I went to reply to the person, I discovered a “I Love Steampunk” slogan on her page.

Next, Word for Teens posted a steampunk reading list.

Then, I received an email out of the blue from someone who listened to a radio interview I did back in 2007 about the Fox sisters. In his signature line – a link to a website he maintains on Tesla-related products and articles.

Finally, I SKYPED with a class of high school writing students in Florida, and when they asked me about my current writing project, I admitted I was *considering* a steampunk novel focusing on Tesla’s work. The reaction was immediate and enthusiastic enough for me to see even on the computer screen. The teacher took the microphone to tell me; “They love steampunk. They love Tesla. They say go for it!”

What’s a writer to do when an idea slaps you in the face that many times? I’m digging into my research with fervor now. I don’t know if I’ll succeed, but it seems as if I’m meant to TRY.

Have you ever been hit over the head with a SIGN?