I first interviewed Dianne K. Salerni back in 2016 about her Young Adult title The Caged Graves. When I first saw her newest Middle Grade book, JADIE IN FIVE DIMENSIONS, I completely fell in love with the premise. Have a look:
Jadie Martin was always told she was abandoned by her parents. Creatures from the 4th dimension rescued her and placed her with a loving adoptive family. Now, Jadie acts as an agent for the beings, also known as Seers. She uses the 4th dimension as a short-cut to travel anywhere on Earth, performing missions calculated to guide the world toward a brighter future.
But then Jadie discovers that her origin story is fake. In reality, her birth family has suffered multiple tragedies and disasters engineered from 4-space, including the devastating loss of their baby girl. Her!
Doubting the Seers, Jadie starts anonymously observing her long-lost family. Why are they so important? What are the true intentions of the Seers? And what will all-powerful four-dimensional beings do to a rebellious human girl when they realize she’s interfering with their plans?
In our last interview, you said, “I am an incurable pantser.” Is this still true?
Ummmm, I may be a slightly reformed pantser now. JADIE IN FIVE DIMENSIONS was utterly pantsed, but my last book, ELEANOR, ALICE, & THE ROOSEVELT GHOSTS, was outlined in great detail before I started drafting. My next book, THE CARREFOUR CURSE, was partly outlined – say, up to about three-quarters of the way through. But the end was written by the seat of my pants and introduced a surprising and delightful character I had to go back and add references to during revisions. My current WIP is similar. I have a rough outline that takes me about halfway through the story, but I’ll be flying blind after that point.
Fun! In JADIE IN FIVE DIMENSIONS, Jadie has to explore her own origin. What do you hope readers glean from Jadie’s multidimensional journey?
Jadie has been told she was an abandoned baby. Now she is an adopted daughter and is praised for being a valued Agent for the four-dimensional Seers. But as she discovers, some of these things aren’t true, and, in fact, it’s possible she may be viewed primarily as an obstacle. Where, then, can she find the truth about herself? Not in labels assigned by other people. Only Jadie can decide Jadie’s true purpose, and I hope that readers realize that this is also true for them.
I’m sure they will. What are some of your favorite books from today that you wished you’d had growing up?
I always struggle with the word favorite, because I read so many books. There’s always a stack from the library and several downloaded to my e-reader. What I can tell you about are some of the recently read books I would have loved as a child. I don’t remember coming across many science fiction books for kids when I was growing up, so I definitely would’ve loved STAR STRIKER: GAME ON by Mary Amato. I would also have loved the zany adventures in DOUBLE THE DANGER AND ZERO ZUCCHINI by Betsy Uhrig and SIX FEET BELOW ZERO by Ena Jones. Among YA novels, I absolutely loved Holly Jackson’s A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER series and CROWNCHASERS by Rebecca Coffindaffer. I’m currently re-reading that one before starting the sequel, THRONEBREAKERS. Finally, I was a big reader of fairy tales as a kid, so I would’ve loved original fairy tale retellings like SIX CRIMSON CRANES by Elizabeth Lim and THORNWOOD by Leah Cypress.
Those all sound amazing! If you could tell your younger author self one thing, what would it be and why?
I would counsel patience above all else. I started writing JADIE IN FIVE DIMENSIONS in 2014, and it has taken seven years and probably just as many drafts to make it to print. My next book, THE CARREFOUR CURSE, will be published by Holiday House in 2023, six years after I wrote the first draft in 2017. Some stories take time to mature, and no matter how much we wish things happened faster, patience and persistence wins out in the end.