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 (https://sites.google.com/site/hauntsandhistory/poconosi-80east) 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 http://diannesalerni.blogspot.com/