Thursday, February 12, 2015

The WOVEN Blog Tour & Giveaway: Interview Swap With the Author of The Eighth Day, Dianne Salerni!

Today is a double interview stop, where Dianne Salerni, author of The Eighth Day and its newly released sequel The Inquisitor's mark, and myself ask each other the same questions and take over each others blogs with our answers. Be sure to visit Dianne's blog for my post.

But before you do that, take it away, Dianne! Feel free to click on the covers. They double as portals to where you can find the book:

Fun Fact: Woven and Inquisitor's Mark released on the same day! 

Which character surprised you most during the writing of the book? would be the MC’s best friend, Billy Ramirez. In the first book, Billy is Jax’s geeky friend who doesn’t know anything about Jax’s secret life in the eighth day. Billy suspects something’s going on, but he gets left behind when the action picks up. (Literally. He’s left standing on the street in his LOTR pajamas watching the bad guys kidnap Jax in a hearse.)

In The Inquisitor’s Mark, it's Billy that gets abducted by Jax’s long- lost, nefarious relatives. He’s bait, to entice Jax to meet them. To be honest, I didn’t know hat I was going to do with Billy’s character once his role as bait was fulfilled. But Billy had his own plans! Apparently, you can’t read all those SF/Fantasy books without picking up a few tricks for getting out of locked rooms, garbage chutes, and rescuing damsels in distress.

Explain the significance of your title to the story.

In the eighth day world, families descended from Arthurian times bear a tattoo of their family crest on their wrists. This is their “mark,” which is needed to fully access their magic. Jax is an inquisitor, which means he can compel people to answer his questions.

While writing the first book, I asked my teenage daughter to design Jax’s mark using a scroll, an eye, flames, and a bird of prey. I suggested a falcon, but she used an American bald eagle instead. This was problematic, since Jax’s family came from medieval Wales. I didn’t want to make my daughter mad (anyone with teenage girls will understand), so I wrote into the story that the tattoo artist changed the bird in Jax’s tattoo.

I had no idea at the time that my daughter’s inability to follow directions creativity was going to give me the premise for Book 2. Jax’s altered tattoo is essential to The Inquisitor’s Mark.

Some people like to write first drafts and hate revising. Others are the exact opposite. Where do you fall on this spectrum?

I hate first drafts with a passion!!!! My characters never follow instructions (much like my daughter). I usually have an ending in mind, but only the barest idea of how to get there. Usually, I don’t know what the story is really about until I type The End on the first draft. THEN, I can roll right into revisions.

When you hit a snag in your plot -- something you can't figure out -- how do you get yourself unstuck?

I make lists. Lists of things that could happen. Lists of things that cannot happen because they would derail the plot. I write out the motivation/goal of all my characters and how that would influence their actions. Sometimes, I explain the problem to my husband. He suggests things. While I’m explaining why none of his ideas will work, the solution will often present itself in my explanation!

Do you have any favorite stories that helped inspire yours?

Like Billy Ramirez, I’m influenced by many science fiction and fantasy books. Stories grounded in Arthurian legend played a part, since my book focuses on modern descendants of those people. My idea to have characters swear loyalty to a liege was influenced by Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan space opera series. And I play a little bit with time travel in The Inquisitor’s Mark, introducing tunnels that are literally chewed through time by magical vermin. That’s gotta be pure Doctor Who, right?

Do you do any research for your books? What is your process like?
For The Eighth Day, I climbed the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico as research for writing my climactic scene. I didn’t go anywhere quite as exotic for The Inquisitor’s Mark, but there’s a scene where the heroes are being chased through the Central Park Zoo in NYC. Originally, I had them hide in the polar bear exhibit – basing the scene on photographs I found online. Unfortunately, the real polar bear died around the time I turned the book in, and the future of the exhibit is uncertain. My editors suggested switching to the snow leopard exhibit, but that one is fenced in over the top. So, my family took a train ride into NYC to visit the Central Park Zoo – just so I could figure out how to break into the leopard pen.

What events led to deciding that writing is what you want to do?

When I was a kid, I only ever wanted to be two things – a teacher or an author. I started out as a teacher. After publishing my first book in 2010, I spent 4 years being both a teacher and an author, which was wonderful but exhausting. Sadly, recent changes in education caused me to decide it was time to leave the profession. So, starting last June, I jumped into the business of writing full time. (Eeek.)

Your cover is awesome! Can you say how it ties into your story?

Jax’s estranged relatives live in a luxury apartment building in Manhattan, but when Jax goes there to trade himself for his kidnapped friend, he discovers that the creepy basement of this building is the place where everything’s happening. There are secrets down there – jail cells with prisoners, research labs with trapped magical animals, and experiments with time itself. I don’t know if the basements in NYC buildings really look like the one on my cover, but that is some sinister-looking plumbing!

Giveaway Details:

Sign up for the giveaway in the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win what you see below: a free hardback copy of WOVEN signed by both authors, two cards and a stamped postcard for you to share, and a thimble, one of the many magical items you will soon read about.
This is the last week of the giveaway! It ends February 16th at midnight. Winners will be announced February 18th on this blog. Hurry and sign up now for your chance to win, and best of luck!

Help Nels and Tyra find the needle that can restore reality! Copies of WOVEN are available at major booksellers and these online sellers:

IndieBound   Amazon   Barnes&Noble   Books A MillioniTunes

If you'd like to help us spread the word at any time, feel free to email me and I will send you an info packet. Thank you for stopping by. Check back tomorrow for the next tour stop and other news. 

Doesn't Dianne's books sound exciting? Are first drafts super hard for you? Do you dare tamper with the plumping under New York City?

I'm David, andI sure hope they find Billy...


  1. Visited her first thing this morning!
    First drafts do suck. Give me something I can work with.
    And Dianne's covers are awesome.

  2. I didn't know that your daughter was the one who switched it to a bald eagle :) How funny! Also funny that you had to take a specific trip to see how to break into the exhibit!

  3. Tiana -- Yes, a major part of The Inquisitor's Mark stems from my daughter's inability to follow directions! LOL

    David -- Thanks so much for hosting me here today! This was a fun swap!

  4. I can attest to the fact that Dianne's book IS exciting. I adore this series and I can hardly wait to read Woven.

  5. LOVED this interview with Dianne... and am so happy to hear other writers have issues with their non-listening first draft characters, too :)

  6. I really don't like first drafts too. Awesome that your books released on the same day. Off to visit Dianne's blog.

  7. Great interview. Dianne's so fun and helpful besides. I love the sound of these books and really hope they'll be audiobooks someday.

  8. LOVED these Q&As. I'm already a fan of Dianne's books, but it's nice to get some new background info. Billy surprised me, too. And it's super cool that not-paying-attention-teenage-daughter's rendition of the mark played such an important role. (OY! Better not let HER know, though!)

  9. Loved these duel interviews. :)

    I loved hearing about Dianne's research for her books. Climbing a pyramid sounds cool! I also like that she visited Central Park to figure out how to break into the snow leopard exhibit.

    I have The Eighth Day to read and am planning to read it and The Inquisitor's Mark back to back. :)

  10. David ~ Entered your drawing! Yay!!!!

    Dianne ~ I finally understand what you mean about not knowing what your book is about until you finish the rough draft. Or, in my case, struggle with revisions. ::lightbulb now on::