Welcome to New Orleans- home of Mardi Gras, jazz music and voodoo. Eighth grader Melanie Belaforte is home for Spring break and itching for excitement. Late one night she discovers a hidden chamber and a secret journal in her deceased Aunt Florence’s bedroom.
The diary contains the writings of a mad woman, along with vague clues to the whereabouts of a ruby necklace that once belonged to Cleopatra. The ruby bestows upon the wearer the power to hear other people’s thoughts- even the thoughts of the dead!
And so the hunt begins. Melanie, her best friend Sybil, and a haunting specter unravel clues that take them from crumbling graveyards, to the busy streets of the French Quarter, and then into murky swamps, all to find the prize. But they need to watch out, because a murderous cult is matching them step for step, and they won’t give up, ever.
Me: Welcome once again, Dorine! Tell us, what was easier about writing the second book in the series?
Dorine: Well, the foundation was already laid and I knew where I wanted the story to go, so that was clear. Plus, I was invested deeply now. I needed this second book to succeed so that I could pull off a full series.
Me: What was harder?
Dorine: The Ruby Pendant is written almost like a stand alone, so I had to write it with a fresh eye and develop new characters. However, when I started writing I was so excited about the location, New Orleans, that things just flowed, almost like it was a character. In that way the first book was harder to write. The Emerald Ring takes place in a small town in Ohio. There was nothing fancy about it and it kinda hides in the background. I learned my lesson. The next books in the series take place in wonderful locations.
Me: Did you keep notes, a chart, anything to keep all the plot points and character traits organized?
Dorine: I have a spiral notebook that I write down my thoughts in. I don’t outline, but I do write down sentences about significant plot points. It is really in the rewrites that I make sure all the characters are in sync and the plot has no holes.
Me: Tea and crumpets or snails and coffee?
Dorine: Mint tea and strawberry crumpets with strawberry jelly.
My name is Dorine White. I am a children’s author and a book reviewer. I grew up back East in Maryland and attended BYU in Utah. I have a BA in Humanities with an interest in Art History and French. Currently I live in the beautiful, yet rainy Northwest with my husband and 6 children.
My first book in The Cleopatra’s Legacy series, The Emerald Ring, was published on May 14, 2013. It is a middle grade fantasy novel that involves Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra, and a magic emerald ring. The Ruby Pendant (Cleopatra’s Legacy 2) is due out March 2014 and takes place in the vibrant New Orleans.
Amie Borst writes twisted fairy tales with her 13 year old daughter, Bethanie. Cinderskella released in 2013 and Little Dead Riding Hood releases October 2014! Find Amie on her blog and see what they’re both up to on facebook!
From the Mixed-Up Files is the group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature—teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals— we offer regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children's book from writing to publishing to promoting.