Tuesday, July 13, 2010

HoLlYwOoD and Hearing the Dead

I've made it!!! I'm officially awesome!!!

Would you like to know why??

Well besides the obvious intellegence, beauty, and of course kindness, I've gotten another InTeRvIeW!!! So please visit Pitch Slapped where my awesomeness will continue to BLOW YOUR MIND!!!

Hey even Mikey likes it!!!!

BEFORE YOU GO!!!! I have an awesome writer/author who has graciously accepted my invitation to be interviewed! Dianne Salerni wrote Hear the Dead, so without further ado here she is!!!

Could you give us a run-down of what your storyWe Hear the Deadis all about?

We Hear the Dead is a historical fiction novel based on the real life spirit medium, Maggie Fox. In 1848, Maggie and her younger sister Kate convince their family, and then their neighbors, and then the whole nation that they have the ability to pass messages to and from the dead. It starts out as a prank, which Maggie admits in the opening pages of the book. But Maggie’s older sister, Leah, sees the money-making potential in the trick and turns it into a profitable business, raising the entire family out of poverty. Spiritualism catches on so fast, it becomes a religion, but Maggie is forced into a crisis of conscience when she falls in love with a famous Arctic explorer, Elisha Kane. In the typical fashion of a 19th Century man, Kane forces Maggie to choose between respectability and lies – and between him and her family.

1. Now your book is based on true events and all about spirits and talking to those who have passed, are you the one who has experienced these true events? If not do you believe in spirits and the ability to talk to those who have passed?

No, these true events are all historical. Almost all the events and characters in We Hear the Dead are real. You can Google any of the main characters: Maggie and Kate Fox and Elisha Kane, the ambitious sister Leah Fish Brown Underhill (she was married 3 times), as well as some of their most famous believers, feminist Amy Post, newspaper man Horace Greeley, and First Lady Jane Appleton Pierce. Events in the novel are taken from the historical record and published writings of the time, and I even used lines from Maggie’s and Elisha’s real love letters to write some of the dialogue between them.

Do I believe in spirits and the ability to communicate with them? I would like to believe. Like Elisha Kane in the book, I might attend a séance looking for answers or comfort, but in the end I would be as skeptical as he was.

2. Does this book stand on its own or will it have a sequel? Are you currently working on any other novels at the moment?

This book stands alone. It tells a real story, and when it concludes, there is not much more to tell. I hope I’m not finished writing about spiritualism, however. I have another completed manuscript under consideration which addresses spiritualism (as investigated by scientists in the 1880’s). It is loosely based on real events, but contains a lot more fiction than We Hear the Dead. I also have a work in progress that is a historical mystery surrounding some strange graves in Catawissa, PA. This story may have some paranormal elements, but it’s still very much a work-

I am also involved in writing a screenplay for We Hear the Dead as part of a film option deal. I recently sent off the seventh (!) draft of the screenplay to my collaborator, an independent producer in Hollywood, and I’m waiting for feedback. We are hoping to get the screenplay finished this summer and ready for shopping around to financial backers.

3. Does being an elementary school teacher give you an edge on other books you’re working on?

I teach 5th grade, which is younger than the age I write for. However, my students are very interested in my writing, and I often bounce ideas off them or share a chapter with them.

My students have been my biggest fan club. In March, they watched me leave the classroom mid-day when I headed up to New York City for the Sourcebooks Fire Launch Party. They knew I was nervous as heck, and they applauded me as I turned over the class to the sub and walked out. They reduced me to tears!

They are also mini-promoters. When the novel hit the bookstore shelves in May, they not only went out to buy it – almost every one of them came back with a business card from the store manager! (ie: They bragged that their teacher wrote the book and asked if I could have a signing in the store!)

4. Any advice to aspiring writers?

Write constantly – blogs, reviews, short stories, poems, novels. Every bit of writing that you do improves your skill. Do not ever give up! There is more to one path to a published novel, as I certainly proved, and your path may not start where you think it should or head in the direction you expect.

Fun & Random Facts (We are going to be different here, I want you to put down the first thing that comes to your mind… No.Matter.What)

Author: Kimberly Derting
Book: The Body Finder (my current read)
Movie: Sense and Sensibility (watched it last night)
Ice Cream: Cookie Dough
Pizza: With feta cheese and spinach and black olives
Hot or Cold: Cold (thinking of having a martini)
Black Bear or Panda Bear: Black Bear (can’t explain)
Barbie’s or Polly Pockets: Barbie (I used to have the old kind with holes in their feet for stands, but my sister bit off all their feet, so by the time they were worth something … they were worth nothing.)

Thank you for having me as a guest, Jen! Great questions!

Okay isn't she awesome??? Aren't her students like the cutest!!!! Also I think it's hilarious that her sister bit the holes off of the Barbies feet, very random (Which is why I love Dianne!!) So how do you find out more about this wonderful woman???

FIND HER HERE (Please check her out you won't regret it!!)


Nomes said...

such a cool interview - and a movie deal - how totally awesome . And, I really love the cover :)

Diana Mieczan said...

Such a great interview...That cover looks amazing:)
Have a wonderful day,sweetie

Anne Gallagher said...

Oh this sounds like such a great book AND a movie deal!!!!! Kudo's to you!

Great interview Jen! Keep'em coming.

Mason Canyon said...

Great interview and WE HEAR THE DEAD sound intriguing.

Thoughts in Progress

Candyland said...


Summer Frey said...

Great interview, Jen. And I also used to chew the feet off my Barbies :-D

Dianne K. Salerni said...


Thanks for having me here! It was a fun interview! (hugs)

Joanne said...

Great interview, Jen and Dianne. I love Dianne's advice to keep writing, all the time, anything. We learn from all of it, thanks for the inspiration!

Jillian said...

Hahaha I love your confidence. These interviews are so great. It is refreshing to hear form such great authors.

Lenny Lee said...

hi miss jen! you did a real neat interview.

hi miss dianne. i like hearing stuff on people who are doing great with their writing cause its like a push for me to keep writing so some day i could be great too. i like scary stuff so i like the sound of that book and that next one too.

Laura S. said...

That's awesome Dianne's students are so supportive and excited for her! It must be terrific having free built-in promoters, haha.

Her book sounds fantastic. Thanks for the interview! Heading over to yours now, Jen! :)

Christina Lee said...

This book has gotten great buzz and I can't wait to read it! So I was so happy to hear more about Dianne! THANKS!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Another good interview. I loved the synopsis for We Hear the Dead, and it's exciting that the author is trying to get a film deal out of it! Best of luck with it!

Matthew MacNish said...

You are so cool! Great interview. Heading over to pitch slapped now.

Janet Johnson said...

Fun interview. How awesome about her class coming back with business cards. :)

And congrats on your own interview!

Theresa Milstein said...

Jen, I'll check out your interview.

Dianne, your students sounds awesome. I worked with fifth-graders for years. It's a great age.

Congratulations on your book.

Tahereh said...

super cool interview! i think i need to go get this book.


Jackee said...

GREAT interview! Thanks, ladies! And Dianne's book sounds so interesting. I've been interested in this craze in history ever since I read Charles Darwin's family even got into it. Definitely one to put on my TBR.

Thanks for sharing. Now I'm off to read your interview, Jen!

Crystal Cook said...

Very cool interview!! I'm loving all of these :) Now I'll go read your interview!

Alyson Greene said...

Great Interview!
Thanks for introducing me to Green Willow Books, I'll have to check it out.

Kenda Turner said...

Whoa, I'm totally hooked. I want to read this book. Thanks for the interview, Jen, and the heads up. I'm adding the title to my list!

Erica Mitchell said...

Great interview to the both of ya. You had me at talkin to spirits. That's really all it takes for me haha! Can't wait to read it and the interview is so cute and fun.
I'm off to see your awesome interview now ;) I alredy knew you were awesome but...I'll take further proof :)
PS crazy day but I'm trying to get around to everyting and will email you here in a bit

Terry Stonecrop said...

Two great interviews here and at Pitch Slapped!

Love the spirits going on. Sounds like something I can get into.

The Urban Cowboy said...

Very awesome interview...you rock!

Kristin Rae said...

Oooo I haven't heard of this book!

Carolyn V. said...

Great interview! Although I have heard of the book, I didn't know it was taken from real life. So cool! =)

The Words Crafter said...

This was a great post. Loved her encouragement and her class is so sweet! Thanks for posting it-I'm gonna go check out the book...

Kimberly Franklin said...

Great interview. I love the premise of this book and must add it to my list immediately.

Bonnie said...

You have an award on my blog!

Guinevere said...

Great interview! And aww, what awesome students!

Sara B. Larson said...

FUn interview! Thanks! :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wonderful interview! I love historical fiction!!!! Thanks, Jen...I'm off to check out Dianne's blog etc...

Shannon O'Donnell said...

This one's already on my TBR and I can't wait to read it!! Even more so now! :-)

Jo Schaffer Layton said...

Awesome interview.
Thanks for checkin' out my blog! (=

Tianna said...

Great interview! Very creative. Dianne sounds like a wonderful author. I may have to dabble in her book. It sounds interesting.

Also, thank you again for visiting my blog!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Great interview Jen! Thanks for sharing so much about the book Dianne! Can't wait to read it and its SO awesome about the screenplay!