Monday, February 17, 2014

Part One of my interview with Dianne Salerni, author of THE EIGHTH DAY





Coming soon! 

The Eighth Day by Dianne K. Salerni (April 22, 2014, HarperCollins, for ages 9 to 13)

Source: ARC courtesy of the author 

Synopsis (from Dianne's website): In this riveting fantasy adventure, 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 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.
Why I loved it: Are you kidding? It's got everything! The most exciting premise ever. Action, adventure, fantasy, Arthurian legends, and both boy-appeal and girl-appeal. Plus it's fast-paced and grabs you right from the start. Bonus: it will be a series. 

And now for Part One of my interview with Dianne Salerni, Pennsylvania resident and the author of The Eighth Day:


Welcome to the blog, Dianne!  Even before I read The Eighth Day, I loved the premise. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea of an extra day between Wednesday and Thursday?

Thanks for having me here, Joanne! The idea came out of a family joke. My daughters would ask when they would get to do something, and my husband would respond, “Grunsday. We’ll do that on Grunsday.” One day, I said, “What if there really was a Grunsday in the middle of the week, but not everybody knew about it?”

The premise of a secret day hung around for a long time without a plot to go with it, although my family never let me forget the idea. It took maybe 18 months from the original inspiration to get a sense of what the story would be about. Even then, I pantstered the whole first draft. It ended up as a 98,000 word monstrosity that needed major taming and focusing and word slashing in the second draft.

Wow! That’s a lot of words. Good for you for taming that monster. Jax is a great character, so real and so likable. And I love his name, which is short for Jaxon. Do you choose names for their meanings or because they seem to fit the character?

I don’t choose the names, really. The characters choose them. They tell me what they want to be called. Jax, for instance, told me his name even before I had the plot nailed down.

I told him he couldn't have the name Jax. What kind of name was that for a boy? I wanted to set this story in contemporary America, and who names their kid Jax? I threw different names at him; he rejected them all. In the end, I did a little internet searching and discovered Jaxon as an alternative spelling for Jackson. So I let him have his name.

Since then, I’ve come across the name Jax, for a boy, twice on the internet. (So I guess people really do name their kid that! I grew to like it more and more as I used it.)

I love the way you incorporated Arthurian legends. Tell us a little about your research and how extensive it was. Did you do most of it on the internet or in the library?

First of all, I never intended to incorporate Arthurian legends into this story. That developed in the rambly first draft when I stumbled across stories about Merlin being imprisoned by his apprentice Niviane in “an eternal forest.” The description of where Merlin was trapped had some eerie similarities to the way I was describing Grunsday, or “the eighth day” in my draft.  Once the idea took hold, it wouldn’t let go.

I did most of my research over the internet. However when my family started planning a vacation in the U.K. this past summer, my husband hired a private tour guide to spend one day taking us to Arthur-related sites around Cardiff, Wales. (Our original reason for visiting Cardiff was to see the Doctor Who Museum. An Arthur-related tour was a happy bonus!)


Tune in next Monday for Part Two and the Giveaway!



35 comments:

  1. I love stumbling on things like the Merlin story Diane found and incorporating them in my stories. So excited to read Diane's book and to see the rest of the interview.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Natalie! That Merlin story is cool, isn't it?

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  2. Dianne I am so excited for this release (and what a happy coincidence- it's on my anniversary!) Love how you stumbled upon the Arthurian myth and added it in. And how sweet of your hubby!!

    Best of luck to you- looking forward to part 2 next week.

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  3. Yes, character names sometimes do surface as you mold their qualities into words. I'm looking forward to part 2 of the interview and in reading the book. Thanks for featuring.

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  4. I'll be reading this one!

    And I know a real-life teenage boy named Jax. :-)

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    1. Oh, that is so cool, Barbara! I had my doubts at first, but now I love the name Jax!

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    2. I love the name too. Especially because it fits the character so completely!

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  5. How exciting!!! I will not miss part two! :)

    ~Akoss

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  6. We must have met on a Grunsday, Joanne, and decided to put up interviews with Joanne on the very same day! How's that for a coincidence. It looks like you enjoyed THE EIGHTH DAY as much as I did!!!

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    1. Ah, that explains it, Michael! We're both secret Transitioners. How cool would that be? We could all use an eighth day, eh?

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  7. Joanne, thanks for hosting me here today! I am so glad you enjoyed the book!

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    1. You know I loved it, Dianne. I'll be telling everyone about this book and series.

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  8. Okay...I totally love how this book came about! Cannot wait to read this one.

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    1. Well, you'll have to wait until April unless you can snag an ARC, Deb. Come back next week for the giveaway.

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  9. Wow, this book sounds fantastic! I think this book would appeal to my MG sons, who love anything about Arthur and the middle ages. Looking forward to the rest of the interview!

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    1. Your sons would love it, then, Jenni! The book easily fulfills its exciting premise.

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  10. I won a copy of Eighth Day, and feel like the luckiest girl around! I can't wait to read it, and all of you aren't helping me wait! lol And I think the next time the kids ask when we'll do something--I'm answering 'Grunsday.' ;)

    Great interview!

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    1. Ah, do you have to wait for the hardcover? That would be difficult. And hey, maybe we can make Grunsday part of our vocabulary!

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  11. How funny you and Michael have the same book and author to interview! Definitely makes it sound like a winner!

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    1. It IS funny that we were thinking alike. But it's good publicity for Dianne's book.

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  12. This sounds like a terrific one! Thanks for telling me about it. I think this would be perfect for my grandkids (and me!).

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  13. The Eighth sounds like a book that is right up my alley. I love the description and the cover is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing it. I have it on my list now. Also, the first part of the interview is excellent! Fun to learn how the characters named themselves.

    Looking forward to part 2! :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jess! I appreciate your enthusiasm, and hope Part 2 lives up to Part 1.

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    1. Isn't that a great story, Erik? I love learning these tidbits from authors.

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  15. I love Arthurian legend and it's great she found inspiration from a family joke. It's interesting how certain ideas stick with us and we're compelled to write about them.

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    1. It certainly is, Medeia. I love Dianne's inspiration. And that's something her kids will still talk about years from now, I'm sure.

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  16. Fantastic premise! Love the idea of the secret day! And I love that the idea came from the author oking around with her family.

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    1. Oh yes, Susan. I fell head over heels in love with the premise before I ever read the ARC. And the book lives up to its fascinating premise.

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  17. I actually know a Jaxon -- he was on my son's soccer team for a season! And I'm totally looking forward to reading this book :)

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation!