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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Writing for a 3 Book Deal with Dianne Salerni

I'm SUPER excited to have a very talented and extremely sweet guest here on Kidbits. Some know her as the amazing brain behind The Eighth Day, a fast-paced fantasy for middle graders.  And just a few days ago, the second book in the series was released!

This sequel to The Eighth Day, a fantasy adventure that VOYA called "unparalleled" and "absolutely necessary for middle grades," continues with higher stakes, greater world building, and more pulse-pounding action. With suspense, action, and intrigue at every corner, this fast-paced fantasy series will be a welcome addition for fans of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter.
After an all-out battle in Mexico, Jax, Riley, and Evangeline have gone into hiding. There are still rogue Transitioners and evil Kin lords on the hunt for Riley, a descendant of King Arthur, and Evangeline, a powerful wizard with bloodlines to Merlin, in order to gain control over the Eighth Day.
So when Finn Ambrose, a mysterious stranger, contacts Jax claiming to be his uncle, Jax's defenses go up—especially after Jax learns that he's holding Jax's best friend, Billy, hostage. To rescue Billy and keep Riley and Evangeline out of the fray, Jax sneaks off to New York City on his own. But once there, he discovers a surprising truth: Finn is his uncle and Jax comes from a long line of Dulacs—a notoriously corrupt and dangerous Transitioner clan who want Riley dead and Evangeline as their prisoner. And family or not, the Dulacs will stop at nothing to get what they want. (You can find it on Amazon here!)



Writing for a 3-Book Deal

When The Eighth Day launched in April 2014, many people asked me, “Are you excited about writing the other books in the series?”

What these people didn’t know – and what I hadn’t anticipated when I signed the 3-book contract -- was that most of the writing for all three books was already finished by the time the first book released. The second book had progressed through copy-editing and passed on to design, and I’d handed in a draft of Book 3 to my editor scant days before my launch. In fact, I was a walking, talking spoiler alert who already knew the events of the next two books while people were buying the first!

The pace of production was dizzying at times, but there was a purpose to it. As I was drafting each of the subsequent books in the series, I still had the ability to make small adjustments in the one that came before it. No major revisions were possible, but I could edit a line here or there, delete a sentence, add an important clue. It was incredibly helpful to know that everything wasn’t carved into stone just yet.

Book 3 ended up being the hardest to write for several reasons. First of all, although it was tricky to write The Inquisitor’s Mark (#2), blending the characters from the first book with new villains and allies, I pulled it off. With the third book, however, I had to bring in yet another new cast and still account for the characters in the two previous installments.

At that point, I began to wish I’d killed off more people in Books 1 and 2!

There was an additional factor that made Book 3 tricky. HarperCollins signed me for a 3-book series, but optioned a fourth and fifth book. This meant I had to write a story that would satisfy readers as the end of the series, but which could also serve as the midpoint.

For this little dilemma, I was lucky to get advice from a HarperCollins assistant editor who said, “You need to plant your own version of Tom Riddle’s diary in one of the books.”
Remember Tom Riddle’s diary from The Chamber of Secrets? That diary was defeated and destroyed in Harry Potter #2, and if the series had ended sooner, we would never have given it another thought. But in later books, the diary turned out to be one of Voldemort’s horcruxes and the seed of a new plot thread.

So I planted my own “horcrux” in The Inquisitor’s Mark, something that is resolved in the course of the book – but which can lead to a lot more trouble if I’m lucky enough to sell Books 4 and 5.

In the world of the 3-book deal, where am I now? I’m launching The Inquisitor’s Mark, revising the unnamed Book 3 (officially unnamed that is; I know what I called it), and plotting out potential Books 4 and 5 – the synopses of which I must submit for consideration in the spring of 2015.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

(If you read The Inquisitor’s Mark and spot the potential “horcrux” that could lead to complications in future books, please contact me!! If you’re right, I’ll send you a prize!)

In The Eighth Day, 13-year-old Jax Aubrey discovered a secret day of the week hidden between Wednesday and Thursday and a mysterious girl living in the house next door who existed only on that day.  Jax learned that his guardian, Riley, and the girl, Evangeline, were descendants of people out of legend, tasked with maintaining the Eighth Day Spell and keeping the world safe from the dangerous and powerful Kin race imprisoned in that day.

Now, in The Inquisitor’s Mark, the adventure continues … and Jax has a terrible choice to make.

After the battle on The Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico, Jax, Riley, and Evangeline have gone into hiding from rogue Transitioners and evil Kin lords who want to gain control over the eighth day.

So when Finn Ambrose, a mysterious stranger, contacts Jax claiming to be his uncle, Jax’s defenses go up—especially when Finn tells Jax that he’s holding Jax’s best friend, Billy, hostage. To rescue Billy and keep Riley and Evangeline out of danger, Jax sneaks off to New York City on his own. Once there, he discovers a surprising truth: Finn is his uncle and Jax is closely related to the Dulacs—a notoriously corrupt and dangerous Transitioner clan who want Riley dead and Evangeline as their prisoner. And family or not, these people will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Learn more about Dianne and her books at http://diannesalerni.com/

In this riveting fantasy adventure that VOYA called "absolutely necessary for middle grades," 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, 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.
There's a reason Evangeline's hiding. As the descendant of the powerful wizard Merlin, her magic is highly sought by corrupt Transitioners who want to use her to destroy the seven-day world. Torn between protecting his new friend and saving the human race from destruction, Jax is faced with an impossible choice. Even with an eighth day, time is running out.

You can find this on Amazon here!


  1. You were smart to have those three books completed early. Plus you planned on at least three. It's difficult when you don't plan past one - trust me!
    Congratulations, Dianne!

  2. Planning ahead is always a good thing. Best of luck Dianne!

  3. Thanks for having me here today, Tonja!
    As for planning ahead -- Alex and Elizabeth -- it wasn't a matter of planning ahead so much as being able to go back and make changes on the previous book if necessary. Planning ahead is not my strength!

  4. That's a very clever way around the 4th and 5th book problem, well done :)

  5. Gee, I don't have any kids to read these, may have to get them for me! Interesting plot(s).
    Congratulations to Dianne, and thanks to Tonja for today's feature post! (smile)

  6. I wish I would've had all the books written in my trilogy before my first novel released! Congrats! I'll order these for my middle school classroom when I have some extra money.


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