Monday, January 12, 2015

Guest Post from Dianne Salerni for The Inquisitor's Mark (coming soon!) - and a giveaway!




The Inquisitor's Mark (The Eighth Day, Book 2) by Dianne K Salerni (Harpercollins, January 27, 2015, for ages 8 to 12)

Source: advanced reading copy from publisher

Synopsis: When a mysterious man claiming to be Jax Aubrey's uncle kidnaps his best friend, Billy, Jax fears a trap. Before his father died, he never mentioned having a brother. Enemy Kin leaders and corrupt Transitioners are after Jax's guardian, Riley, the sought-after descendant of King Arthur, and his liege lady, Evangeline, a powerful magician descended from Merlin. To protect them Jax sneaks off to New York City by himself to rescue Billy. And it's a trap all right. Jax learns his real last name is Ambrose, not Aubrey. And his new-found relatives will stop at nothing to get what they want.


Crests designed by Dianne's daughter


Why I recommend it: As exciting as The Eighth Day was, this second book in the series ratchets up the tension even more. You'll be racing through the pages to find out what happens. Jax has to call on all his resources to handle not only his nasty new relatives, but an enormous and deadly creature he's never seen before.





And now here's Dianne herself to tell us what she enjoyed about writing the sequel:


When I sat down to plan and write The Inquisitor’s Mark, I remember feeling overwhelmed and nervous. It was the first time I’d ever had to write a book that was already sold, sight unseen, before it existed. HarperCollins had bought The Eighth Day and expected me to write at least two more books in the series. They believed I could, and I REALLY hoped their faith in me was well-founded!

As it turned out, this book was my favorite one to write in the series so far. (Writing Book 3 made me pull my hair out, but that’s another story …) What was fun about The Inquisitor’s Mark was that the personalities of the central characters were already established – at least up to the point where I left them in Book 1 – but since people change and grow in real life, I knew these characters would do the same.

For example, at the beginning of the first book, Jax loathed his 18-year-old guardian, Riley, but by the end, his opinion had changed. This is touched upon in several places, but with the whole We-Have-To-Save-The-World thing going on in the climax, there wasn’t a lot of time to fully explore it. Therefore, it was very rewarding to have the time in the early chapters of The Inquisitor’s Mark to play with this developing brotherly relationship, including the normal teasing and rough-housing one might expect between boys.

“I haven’t given up, you know,” Riley told Evangeline. “I have a trick or two up my sleeves.”

“I thought all you had up your sleeves were tattoos,” Jax said. Riley made sure Evangeline wasn’t looking, then smacked Jax in the back of the head.

Of course, you can’t keep up the tension if things are going great, so Jax overhears Riley planning to send him away for his own good and Mrs. Crandall urging Riley to break up the vassal-liege bond between Jax and Evangeline before Jax gets hurt … and suddenly Jax doesn’t know his place in the group anymore.

Enter the new characters – who were another favorite part of writing this sequel.

Jax has a family, as it turns out: an uncle, cousins, and grand-parents. Too bad they belong to the Dulac clan, the powerful and corrupt people who assassinated Riley’s family and would like to see Riley dead too!  The dynamics of meeting these people – blood relatives and also enemies – was massively fun to write as an author, while incredibly difficult for poor Jax. I particularly enjoyed the character of Jax’s uncle, Finn Ambrose. He’s the right-hand man of the evil Ursula Dulac and definitely a “bad guy,” but he loved his brother Rayne, and he sincerely wants to provide a home for his long-lost nephew. How does a 13-year-old boy deal with a man who, on one hand, wants him to betray his friends, but on the other hand, looks so much like his father?

Uncle Finn took Jax by the shoulder and steered him out of the apartment. “That was uncalled for.”

“You wanted to know if I had any talent,” Jax said smugly. “I just proved it.”

“It’s discourteous to use your talent to embarrass your clan members.”

“I don’t want those guys touching my tattoo.”

“It doesn’t seem necessary,” his uncle said. “You’re obviously an Ambrose.” Then he made a noise that caused Jax to glance at him in surprise. Jax couldn’t tell if it was a snort or a laugh or even a sob, but Uncle Finn was looking at him with strangely moist eyes. “Rayne would’ve done the same thing.”

Jax grinned. And his uncle grinned back.

I wrote The Inquisitor’s Mark in just eleven weeks, the fastest I’ve ever written any first draft in my life. And while there are many action scenes in the book that were wonderfully fun to write, what made this book my favorite (so far) was the character interactions. It was too long to make the tagline on the cover, but Jax is “Related to the enemy. Loyal to their targets.”


That provides a wealth of material for an author to work with!

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Thanks, Dianne! I'm truly impressed that you wrote the rough draft in eleven weeks.

Readers, The Inquisitor's Mark pubs on January 27, 2015.  And if you haven't read The Eighth Day yet (and why haven't you???) the paperback is now available!

For this giveaway, I will be purchasing a hardcover copy  of The Inquisitor's Mark for Dianne to sign in a few weeks. To enter simply be a follower and leave a comment on this post. If you tweet about the giveaway or mention on facebook, let me know and I'll give you extra entries. US and Canadian mailing addresses only. This giveaway ends at 10 pm on Sunday January 25, 2015. And the winner will be announced on Monday January 26.

32 comments:

  1. Wow! Dianne wrote this second book fast. I really enjoyed the new setting and meeting Jax's family. It was a real page turner for me too. Let someone win who hasn't read it yet.

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    1. I thought so too, Natalie. Eleven weeks is amazing. And glad to hear you liked the book too. Nice of you to let someone else win.

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    2. Thanks, Natalie! I look forward to your thoughts on the book!

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  2. Excellent interview, especially her thoughts on writing an expected sequel. Thanks for the heads-up on this one.

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    1. You're welcome, Greg. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. Thank you, Greg! After I got over my initial insecurity, it was a lot of fun.

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  3. 11 weeks?!?!? Wow -- I'm hoping to get a novel published before 11 years is up! ;)

    Great work, Dianne! It sounds wonderful! Really like the crests, too.

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    1. I'm with you, Chris. I'll be lucky if I get a novel published before that many years have passed.

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    2. Chris, It was a record for me, but hardly a novel in a month or anything. And thank you, I'm proud of my daughter's work on the family crests.

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  4. Congrats, Dianne! I'm with Chris, I can't imagine writing a novel in 11 weeks. But it sounds amazing, and it was great hearing how Dianne wrote the sequel.
    Thanks for the giveaway, Joanne!

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    1. Jenni, this one may have practically written itself, but the third one made up for it. What a bear it was to write that one!

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  5. Joanne, thank you for having me here today and for offering the giveaway!

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    1. It was my pleasure, Dianne. And thank you for your fascinating guest post.

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  6. Wow. Eleven weeks! Amazing. I think the cover on this book is spectacular. Kids will really be drawn in. Thanks for this interesting post and review. Please let someone else win, though. I am buried in books right now.

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    1. Rosi, Thank you! I get absolutely no say over the cover, so it's a really good thing that the cover designer is so awesome I just squeal in joy every time I see what he has done for me!

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    2. That's nice of you to let someone else win, Rosi. Thanks for letting me know.

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  7. Thanks for hosting Dianne--it was great reading her thoughts. I'd be so scared to write a sequel!

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    1. I feel the same way, Faith, but I bet you could do it.

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    2. Faith, it was a little scary going into it. What if my editor didn't like the story I chose? I've heard of that happening to some people, but in my case, I needn 't have worried. She loved it.

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  8. I would love to win a copy of this book! I have The 8th Day and will probably be reading it in January (it is 3 away from the book I am reading now). I can't wait to get to it! I have been wanting to read it since I first heard about it because I love the concept.

    It was wonderful to hear about Dianne's experience writing the 2nd book. I am amazed that she was able to write it in 11 weeks. I am working on my sequel and hope to finish in the next 5 months. I just need more time before or after work. :) Wishing Diane the best of luck!
    ~Jess
    old follower
    Google+d it
    tweeted: https://twitter.com/dmsfiles/status/555207500656824322

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    1. Jess, for some reason, this book practically wrote itself. Believe me, I don't usually write first drafts that fast (I've never even tried NaNo), and the third book took more like 6 months!

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    2. Extra chances duly noted, Jess! Thanks for spreading the word.

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  9. So fast! I can't even imagine 11 weeks. Nice work!

    Jpetroroy at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks! I wish I could write them all that fast!

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  10. I can't wait to read this book! No need to enter me in this - I'll be receiving my ARC soon! :D

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    1. You will -- unless the post office continues to conspire against me ...

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  11. I enjoyed The Eighth Day lots, and am looking forward to this one! Thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. Thanks for entering, Charlotte. Glad to hear you liked The Eighth Day!

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  12. So excited about Dianne's book. When you have that contest, I'm going to try to win it.

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    1. Well the contest is over tonight, Theresa, so you've entered just in time!

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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.