I have one winner to announce.
The winner of ACID is AKOSSIWA!
Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.
Medeia Sharif's new YA contemporary novel SNIP, SNIP REVENGE was released on April 25h. Here's
Tabby Karim has plans that include nabbing a role in the school play, making Michael hers, and keeping bigoted Heather at bay; but when a teacher’s lie and her father’s hastiness rob her of her beautiful hair, her dreams are dashed. She spearheads Operation Revenge, which proves satisfying until Tabby’s problems deepen.
You can find Medeia at:
Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon
Today I’m thrilled to have Dianne Salerni here to share about her new MG novel, THE EIGHTH DAY that released April 22, 2014. This is a fantastic fantasy about thirteen-year-old Jax, who discovers an eighth day between Wednesday and Thursday. This is a fast-paced story that never lags. I loved Jax and how he tries to help his mysterious neighbor Evangeline who is stuck in the eighth day. The story is filled with Arthurian legends, magic, danger and so much more that kept me turning the pages. I can’t wait to read the sequel.
Dianne is also the author of two YA novels, THE CAGED GRAVES (I loved this too and highly recommend it) and WE HEAR THE DEAD (Not read this one yet but I want to).
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
When Jax wakes up to a world without any people in it, 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.
And there's a reason Evangeline's hiding. She is a descendant of the powerful wizard Merlin, and there is a group of people who wish to use her in order to destroy the normal seven-day world and all who live in it. Torn between protecting his new friend and saving the entire human race from complete destruction, Jax is faced with an impossible choice. Even with an eighth day, time is running out.
Hi Dianne. Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us where you got the idea for your story.
Thanks for having me here, Natalie! The idea for a secret day of the week came from a family joke. When my daughters asked my husband when they were going to get to do something, he used to tease them by saying they could do it on Grunsday. The girls would groan in response, because he wasn’t giving them a real answer. One day I started wondering what it would be like if there really was a Grunsday, an extra day of the week that only certain people knew about.
2. What a fun way to get a story idea. I know from reading some interviews that THE EIGHTH DAY did not start out including Arthurian mythology. Share when you decided to include this in the story in relation to creating the story and why.
In my planning, I had already established certain physical characteristics for Grunsday and the people who lived only on that day. Because they lived one day out of eight, their lives would be extended compared to ours. The people who lived in all eight days had to be able to pass from the seven day world into the eighth day and back out again.
I was doing some research related to this when I stumbled across a story about Merlin and his apprentice, Niviane, the Lady of the Lake. When Niviane stole Merlin’s powers, she confined him in a cave (or a forest in some versions of the tale) outside of time. Merlin’s life was extended by this imprisonment, and Niviane visited him from time to time to learn more of his magic. I was struck by the similarities to what I already had in mind … and the Arthurian connection took off from there.
3. I love Merlin myths. Glad you could add them to the story. THE EIGHTH DAY is your first middle grade story. What made you decide to try writing MG and how have you found it different from writing YA?
I originally wrote the book as YA (and titled it Grunsday). It was my agent who told me the concept was
So I revised. The MG voice came easily to me – probably because I spend all day with kids. But I had to remove some dark, edgy elements and tone down the romance between two YA characters in the story.
4. Yes, I bet being a middle grade teacher helped. One of the things that I loved about THE EIGHTH DAY is how fast-paced it is. There are literally no wasted scenes. Share about your plotting process.
Thank you! My first draft was a bloated 100,000 words. There were plenty of wasted scenes, and literally thousands of unnecessary words! But I’ve come to accept that as part of my writing process. I had a few key plot points that never changed – no matter how I revised everything else – but in the first draft I did a lot of wandering to find my way between them.
Multiple successive revisions is how I cut down and refine a draft like that. I don’t try to make it perfect in the second draft. It’s only when I go back again and again and again that I can hack away the fat. In Draft 2, some of those extra scenes are still too precious to lose. By Draft 5, I’m not nearly as fond of them. Slash!
5. Glad I’m not the only one who needs multiple drafts to trim the unnecessary scenes. You made the interesting choice of switching the POV between Jax and Evangeline, who is more of a YA character. I haven’t really seen this type of POV change that is not another MG character. Why did you decide to do this and which character was more challenging for you?
Well, as I said, I originally wrote this as YA, and although Jax changed to a MG character (which fit him much better!), Evangeline and Riley, Jax’s guardian, remained YA.
I recently wrote a blog post on non-MG characters in popular MG books. I know there’s supposed to be a rule about that, but there are so many exceptions. In addition to the ones I mention in my post, there’s also Wonder, which has several YA POV characters.
In The Eighth Day, Evangeline was definitely the harder character to write, but not because she’s YA. Evangeline is trapped in the eighth day, living only one day a week. Her POV needed to convey what her existence is like, the essential loneliness of her situation, the story of how she came to be living next to Jax, and the history of her entire race. That’s a lot to cram into the viewpoint of one 16 year-old girl while still making her chapters lively and interesting.
6. You’re right that Wonder does that too. That’s a great story too. I know you’ve already drafted book 2 and 3 in the series and at some times it was really challenging. What did you learn from this process that would be helpful to the rest of us thinking of writing a series?
I wanted it to be different for books in a series. I wanted it to be easier. But I don’t think it ever will be.
7. Each of your books has been published by a different publisher. What’s it been like working with different publishers and what advice do you have for other authors in this situation?
I once thought (and I think a lot of other people think this, too) that when you find a publisher, you will stay with that publisher forever and they will publish everything you write, happily ever after. But that is not the case. Every new project goes through the same submission process as your first one, and if it’s not a fit, you move on.
Publishers all have their own style and procedures. Some do everything electronically. Others do everything on paper. (Seriously, I needed my bifocals and a magnifying glass to decipher the brown-penciled editing marks on one manuscript!) My advice to authors is to ask questions – of your agent, of your editor – so you know what’s expected of you no matter who you’re working with.
8. I used to think that about publishers too. Share your marketing plans and how this is different, if at all, from marketing your YA books.
Marketing a MG is going to be a little different than marketing a YA, but I’m excited about it. Middle grade readers are generally not on social media, and I’ve already noticed that there are WAY more bloggers reading/reviewing YA books than MG books. However, the gatekeepers to MG readers are out there – parents, librarians, teachers, etc. I’ll be trying to connect with those people.
Plus, never underestimate Amazon. A lot of middle grade readers have e-readers, and Amazon recommends titles to kids.
9. Yes, that’s true about bloggers. And I hadn’t thought about how important Amazon can be. What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m readying the 4th draft of the 3rd book in the Eighth Day series to send to my editor and researching string theory for a totally unrelated MG adventure story. That’s right. String theory for MG. I’m pretty psyched about the premise and can’t wait until I have enough plot points in my head to launch into a horrible, messy, spirit-sapping first draft. (See #4 and #7.)
Thanks for sharing your advice, Dianne. You can find Dianne at:
Dianne’s publisher Harper Collins generously donated an ARC for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through May 10th. I’ll announce the winner on May 12th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for US & Canada residents only.
You can find all the blogs participating in Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Shannon Messenger's blog HERE.
Here’s what’s coming up:
On Wednesday I’ll have a guest post by Holly Webb and a giveaway of ROSE AND THE LOST PRINCESS, her MG fantasy.
On Saturday I’ll be participating in the Amazing Book Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great choices for you.
Next Monday, I have an interview with friend, follower and now debut author Jessie Humphries and a giveaway of KILLING RUBY ROSE, her fantastic YA mystery/thriller.
Next Wednesday, I’ll be hosting a blog tour giveaway of SCAN by Walter Jury (writing under a pseudonym) who is one of the producers of the Divergent movie and Sarah Fine. It’s a YA fast-paced sci-fi story I hoped to read and review but couldn’t get to it with all that’s been going on.
Next Friday I have a guest post by debut author Elizabeth May and a giveaway of THE FALCONER, her YA fantasy. I hope to read it before I give it away as it’s gotten great reviews.
And don’t forget Casey’s Agent Spotlights.
Hope to see you on Wednesday!