Friday, April 18, 2014

"The Eighth Day"

Dianne K. Salerni lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania with her husband Bob and two daughters, Gabrielle and Gina. She graduated from St. Mark's High School in Wilmington, Delaware and received her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Delaware. She subsequently earned a Master's in Language Arts Education at the University of Pennsylvania before taking a job teaching in the Avon Grove School District. She has now been teaching fourth and fifth grade at Avon Grove for over 20 years.

Salerni applied the Page 69 Test to The Eighth Day, her new novel, and reported the following:
On page 69 of The Eighth Day, readers will find 13 year-old Jax Aubrey helping a cute and popular girl clean up broken bits of pottery in the hallway of their middle school:
Jax picked up shards with one hand and piled them into the other. “Do you want to save the big pieces and glue them back together?”

“What’s the point?” Giana gingerly picked up pieces of pottery and cast a sideways glance at Jax’s arm. “I can’t believe you got a tattoo. Isn’t that illegal?”

“Not if your guardian says okay.” She was eyeing him like she couldn’t decide whether the tattoo made him cool or creepy, so he said, “My dad had a tattoo like this. It’s a way to honor him.”

“Oh.” Giana stood up. Jax could’ve kicked himself. Nobody wanted to hear about his orphanhood.
Jax Aubrey is an ordinary seventh grader – if you don’t count the fact that shortly after his father’s death an 18 year-old stranger claiming to be his legal guardian whisked him away from his only remaining family. This new guardian won’t answer any of Jax’s questions about who he really is or how he knew Jax’s dad.

But he does force Jax to get the same tattoo his father had: a family coat of arms on his left wrist.

Here, Jax is doing his best to make lemonade out of lemons. He can’t stand his guardian, and he doesn’t know what this family “mark” is all about – but hey, if the tattoo makes him look cool in the eyes of a cute girl, he’s got no problem showing it off! What follows is Jax’s painfully awkward attempt to impress the girl, during which he accidentally blunders into the secret reason for his tattoo.

Does page 69 pass the test by accurately representing my book? I think it does. This scene is a tipping point for Jax. He already knows about the secret eighth day of the week by now, but not his connection to legendary figures out of folklore and fantasy.

Jax is about to fall flat on his face in his attempt to win over the popular Giana, but everything changes for him starting on page 69.
Visit Dianne K. Salerni's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue