Today I have author of We Hear The Dead, Dianne Salerni, on the blog!! I’ve gotten the chance to meet her in person and she is so wonderful and her book is amazing (look for my review soon)! So give a big welcome to her!
How did you get into writing?
I’ve been writing all my life. When I was in elementary school, I wrote stories in notebooks and passed them around for my friends to read. In fact, I was recently reminded of this because one of my fifth grade students this year is the son of an old classmate. When I was talking to my students about my lifetime writing habit, this boy raised his hand and called out, “I know! I know! My mom says she used to read your stories!” It was nice to know she remembered!
Where did you get inspiration for your book?
I was researching spiritualism because I wanted to write a story with a séance in it, when I stumbled across the Fox sisters. I’d heard of them before, but I always imagined they were old spinsters. I was shocked to discover they were only 14 and 11 when they became spirit mediums, and that these two adolescent girls fooled people all over the country. They were America’s first teenage celebrities! When I discovered that one of the sisters had a celebrity romance with a famous Arctic explorer -- AND that her romance caused a scandal because of her social class – I knew I had to write the story! (I wonder if the 1850’s press referred to Maggie and Elisha as Maglisha?)
Which of your character do you most relate to?
I relate most to Maggie Fox, who never intended for her little prank to turn into a national hoax. She was mischievous and clever, but she would not have chosen a life of deceit if her older sister Leah had not pushed her into it. Of course, she certainly loved all the attention once she became famous! There were a few scary situations that made her regret her lies, but it wasn’t until she fell in love with Elisha Kane that she considered turning her back on her sisters and leaving the spirit medium business forever.
If you could write a novel with any other author in the world who would it be?
I wracked my brains over this one. I’d love to write with a master of gothic fiction and ghostly mysteries, but I was trying to think of somebody still alive -- Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958) kept coming to mind, but she was dead before I was born! Then I heard a student talking about Mary Downing Hahn, and I thought “Bingo!” Hahn has written timeless ghost stories, as well as historical fiction, although mostly for the MG level. It would be really fun to write a Teen ghost/horror/mystery with someone as accomplished as Hahn!
So I hear you have plans for complete world domination. Do tell.
Well, there IS a movie in pre-production, but I’m not sure if I can achieve world domination unless we get the cast of Twilight involved. Just kidding! Seriously though, I‘ve been working on a screenplay version of the Fox sisters’ story for over a year now, in collaboration with Amy Green, producer and owner of One Eye Open Studio. We are close to having the screenplay finished, and Ms. Green plans to seek financial backing for the movie this fall. And with all due respect to Kristen, Robert, and Taylor – I’d rather see someone more livelily than Kristen play Maggie, and my pick for Elisha Kane would be that Prince of Persia guy, Jake Gyllenhaal!
(Me: Wow that is wonderful! So when your book becomes an epically famous movie with a bunch of awesome stars you’ll send me tickets to the premiere, right? XD)
What are some books you have recently read and/or recommend?
I can highly recommend Picture the Dead, by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown, another Sourcebooks Fire book that is historical and ghostly, as well as beautifully illustrated. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting is another book I recently enjoyed. Something a little less recent, and probably not as well known, is a steampunk trilogy written by Kenneth Oppel: Airborn, Skybreaker, and Starclimber. Thanks to these books, I am developing an interest in steampunk fiction, which combines a little science fiction with Victorian age society – win/win for me!
Describe your book in one sentence.
When a young girl pretends she can speak to the dead, she finds herself trapped in a life of lies --until a love affair with a dashing hero offers her a possible escape.
Hot or Cold? Cold! I would rather be skiing than sweating!
Tea or Coffee? Coffee. But I’m not a fan of Starbucks.
Angel or Demon? Definitely demon. Demons are more ornery and offer the potential for so much more mischief!
Fangs or No Fangs? I think no fangs. Too many other vampires out there right now. I plan on staying away from them for awhile. Same with werewolves!
Ghosts: Believer or not? I really WANT to believe in ghosts. The world would be so much more interesting if they were real! But I can’t shake my skeptic side.
Thank you so much for doing this interview Dianne! Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I’m just happy I got the chance to meet you at PAYA 2010 last month! I thought that was an amazing event – incredibly successful in its first year, all for a good cause, and organized by a Teen reader! Wow! I can’t wait to see what happens next year, and I hope to see you there again!