Thursday, October 21, 2010

AUTHOR SKYPE SUCCESS: Or how Dianne Salerni rocked our socks

"In mid-nineteenth century America, mysterious knocking noises haunt Maggie and Kate Fox, two teenage girls who become famous for their apparent ability to communicate with the dead.
Do the sisters have a supernatural gift -- or is it a hoax?"

On Tuesday,  author Dianne Salerni, who wrote the CAPTIVATING novel WE HEAR THE DEAD, skyped with my high school creative writing classes.  It was a RESOUNDING SUCCESS!   Check out her blog about the experience here.

I met Dianne through a fabulous, free online writing conference this past August: WriteOnCon.  (I have blogged about it's awesomeness before).  This marks the first time that our school has ever skyped with an author- and now that we know how easy it is to set up, I can't wait to book more!

Dianne talked about how she got interested in the Fox sisters' story- how she researched, the primary sources she used while writing (Hooray Primary Sources!), and her journey through self publishing and then on to publishing with Sourcebooks.  She also tempted us with eerie facts about her newest manuscript CAGED GRAVES about... what else? Caged graves!!  Totally spooky right?

My students had wonderful questions for her ranging from how she stays focused while balancing a full time job/family life, to dealing with writer's block, to naming characters and finding a favorite writing spot.  Her best advice? "Never give up.  Never stop writing, and never throw anything away."  Well said Mrs. Salerni, well said.

So everyone- GO READ THIS BOOK NOW!  It is a riveting read about how two young girls inadvertently started the Spiritualism movement in America.  I didn't realize the historical scope of this novel until I came across social reformer Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and suffragette Amy Post, and New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, all people who interacted with the Fox sisters in real life! Of course, no story would be complete without a love interest.  Find out if the dashing Elisha Kane of Arctic Exploration fame gets the girl!  Salerni's storytelling doesn't disappoint.

ALSO: if you are a teacher, I HIGHLY recommend skyping with Dianne.  The students had a blast, and it was really very easy!  Email her, I know she'd love to hear from you!

*I had cool pictures, but then I realized that they were all of my students, and for privacy reasons I couldn't post them on my personal blog.  So- just imagine 2 classes of teenagers sitting in a media center- watching Dianne Salerni on the big screen projector- and using a Britney Spears microphone to ask her questions.

** yes, the students had a little too much fun trying to actually wear the microphone rather than just hold it while they were talking to her.  It was entertaining.
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I HAVE A PITCH- to be revised...

Yes, I know that I originally posted the pitch to my current work in progress, ELEMENTALS, here- but I am revising it.  I attended a webinar with the lovely agent Kristen Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency and she had quite a few FABULOUS comments about my pitch.

I promise that when I finish revising my pitch- I will repost the original, the one I sent to Kristen (including her comments) and the NEW pitch so everyone can hopefully learn as much from this experience as I did!