Jan. 31 book launch for 'The Inquisitor's Mark'
● By Steven Hoffman
Author Dianne Salerni will be marking the publication of her fourth book, “The Inquisitor's Mark,” with a launch party and open house at the Hockessin Book Shelf at 4 p.m. on Jan. 31.
“The Inquisitor's Mark” is the second book in Salerni's “The Eighth Day” middle-grade fantasy series that is being published by HarperCollins. She also previously published two young adult historical books, “We Hear the Dead” and “The Caged Graves.”
“The Inquisitor’s Mark' is my fourth book, but also my first sequel, which makes launching it different from any of my other books so far,” Salerni said. “I know there will be kids coming to the release party who have already read 'The Eighth Day' and are anxious for more adventures with Jax, his teenage guardian, Riley, and his liege lady, Evangeline.”
“The Eighth Day” was released to critical acclaim in 2014. In that story, 13-year-old Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day with roots tracing back to the Arthurian legend. Jax and his 18-year-old guardian, Riley Pendare, are transioners who are able to live in all eight days. Evangeline, the girl who has been living next door, exists only on the eighth day.
According to Salerni, writing the sequel was in some ways a lot easier than writing “The Eighth Day.”
“I already knew the characters extremely well, and the 'rules' of the secret eighth day of the week – hidden between Wednesday and Thursday – were already established,” she explained. “I had the fun of expanding the eighth day world while putting my main character, Jax, in an impossible situation. What does an orphan want more than family, right?
"In 'The Inquisitor’s Mark,' Jax finds out that he has an uncle, cousins, and grandparents who want to give him a home. Unfortunately, they’re members of a corrupt clan Jax’s father fled long ago – and they would really like to see Riley dead and Evangeline as their prisoner.”
Kirkus Reviews called the book “an exciting blend of Arthurian legend and organized crime,” much to the delight of the author.
“I think that might be the first ever use of those two phrases in the same sentence,” Salerni said.
The author strongly recommends reading the first book in the series before reading “The Inquisitor’s Mark,” because the two stories are so interrelated.
The publication of a series of books is a dream come true for Salerni, who had two ambitions growing up: To teach and to be a writer. She graduated from St. Mark's High School in Wilmington, Del., and then earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in language arts education from the University of Pennsylvania. She taught fourth and fifth grade in the Avon Grove School District for 25 years. She was constantly writing stories when she found the time, completing at least three novel-length manuscripts before she published “High Spirits” in 2007. She would often share her stories with her students, even incorporating some of her own manuscripts into the lesson plans as she taught students about the writing process.
Salerni retired from teaching last year and is focusing more on her writing. She said that she really enjoyed writing “The Inquisitor’s Mark.”
“The scenes where Jax meets his nefarious relatives were, hands down, my favorite parts of the book to write – plus there’s betrayals, chase scenes, magical vermin, and a monster, all set in a luxury apartment building in New York City,” she explained. “I hope that readers will find this second adventure entertaining and satisfying and look forward to book three, 'The Morrigan’s Curse,' in 2016."
Salerni lives in the Avon Grove School District with her husband, Bob, and their two daughters, Gabrielle and Gina.
The book launch at the Hockessin Book Shelf includes a meet-and-greet with Salerni, refreshments, a book-signing session, and door prizes. The Hockessin Book Shelf is at 7179 Lancaster Pike in Hockessin.