Friday, August 31, 2012

The Caged Graves by Diane K. Salerni

Last week, my critique partner, Dianne K. Salerni, revealed her cover for her newest book, The Caged Graves.

I am in awe of this picture. They actually used a photo of the grave taken by Dianne's husband for the cover. And course, Verity Boone, the main character, is absolutely beautiful.

To celebrate her cover reveal, Dianne has granted me an interview.

The Caged Graves was inspired by two actual graves in Pennsylvania. When did you first learn about the graves and what made you want to write about them?

I was researching ghost stories on a site called Poconos/I-80 Haunts and History ( for a completely different project when I came across mention of a caged grave in Catawissa. The brief paragraph referenced a “Ghastly Ghosts” online article from 2002 which I tracked down. That article has since disappeared from the web, but it had a photograph of the caged grave. Once I’d seen it, I knew I had to visit it in person. My husband tracked down the cemetery using clues in the article and Google Earth and then drove me out to see it. Imagine our shock when we pulled the car up to the cemetery and saw TWO caged graves instead of one! 

What type of research went into writing this book? (ie location, clothing, language)

My starting point was an online article written by the local historical society about the two graves. Little was known about them, although the historian posed several theories about why the graves were caged. Besides making two visits to the actual cemetery, most of my research was done online. I researched the history of the region and the town, purchased books on details of life in the nineteenth century, and used various print and online word references to find and eliminate anachronistic language and details from the story.

You write a lot of historical fiction. What draws you to period pieces?

Believe it or not, I love the freedom and responsibility historical settings give to YA characters. They don’t have to spend 8 hours of the day in high school. They aren’t “teenagers” so much as young adults in the truest sense of the phrase. Verity Boone, the main character of The Caged Graves, is facing an arranged marriage to her father’s neighbor as part of a deal to merge their lands. This isn’t just about a date to the prom – this is the rest of her life!

Recently, you've been working on a contemporary piece. How has that differed from writing historical?

Well, I don’t have to look up words and phrases to find out if they were in use in 1867! (Thank heavens!) However, I do have to make sure the vocabulary I use is realistic for contemporary teens, and I also had to learn more about semi-automatic pistols than I ever wanted to know. But it was a lot of fun to be able to spew out modern references, and I got a trip to the Sun Pyramid of Mexico out of it!

We've discussed what you like to write. What types of books do you like to read?

I like gothic horror and ghost stories, science fiction, and historical fiction – especially with a bit of mystery/steampunk/paranormal to it.

Thank you so much, Dianne! Congratulations on your upcoming release!

Make sure to visit Dianne on her blog at


mshatch said...

Excellent interview, Krystalyn and Dianne and, having read this in it's unfinished form I can only imagine how awesome it will be when it comes out as an actual book! I can't wait to buy it :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Thanks for the interview, KB! And of course, all your help and feedback when I was working on this book!

Anonymous said...

I recently found out about the place your book was about. Today sept 9th at 730 pm I showed a friend of mine the graves. We took a total of 4 pics 3 from one phone and 1 from another. And well to say the least the lighting was low. The sun was gone and the pictures show something a little creepy. My friend took a pic on her phone of me by the two graves and there is a light in the pictures with me. So I took a pic of her on her phone and one on mine. There was no light present like there was in the pics of me. So needless to say I want to do a little more digging. Have you heard of this happening to anyone else?

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Well, THAT'S not creepy at all! LOL!

I've been to the cemetery with the caged graves twice, but never after sundown. I'd love to see the pic!

You can contact me through my website:

Anonymous said...

The pictures are on their way to your email. I hope you enjoy.

Heather Kelly said...

I want to see the pictures TOO!! That's so weird! Oh, and that cover is AWESOME Dianne!! LOVE IT. I have to make my way over to your blog to says so. :)

And, did I mention: I. CAN'T. WAIT. TO. READ. IT. :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

The spooky light pictures will be posted on Monday, 9/17 at my blog. Thanks, Bill!

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