Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

From Emerson to the Edgars: Erin Dionne ‘99

Graphic: Clara Faulkner

In the world of literature, authors frequently gravitate towards a specific genre or style of writing. Nevertheless, the allure of entirely new and different avenues can be irresistible.  

For Erin Dionne ’99, author of the new children’s series “Shiver by the Sea,” her journey into the realm of supernatural fiction was not just a leap of faith but a thrilling adventure that transformed her approach to storytelling for children. The two-installment “Shiver by the Sea” series was released on Aug. 1st to significant booksellers nationwide.

Dionne’s series effortlessly transports young readers into a world where imagination knows no bounds. “Shiver by the Sea” is not just another elementary seriesーit’s a magical odyssey inspired by Dionne’s own experiences growing up in Massachusetts. 

“I’ve always loved writing, but ‘Shiver by the Sea’ was the first time that I ever wrote anything that had any sort of real supernatural elements or magic,” Dionne said. “It was a really big change for me in terms of genre and approach to story, and that made it really fun.”

The story revolves around the resilient protagonist, Bella, as she embarks on a journey filled with mysteries, secrets, and the supernatural. Set in a picturesque Salem-inspired town, the series introduces readers to a world where the ordinary meets the extraordinary.

In the first installment, “Bella and the Vampire,” readers are introduced to Bella as she sets out on an adventure with new friendships and unexpected discoveries. As she and her newfound companion tackle cleaning out her mother’s movie theater, the duo stumble upon more than just dusty relics of the past. 

Their journey continues in the second book of the series, aptly titled “The Were-Woof.” Bella, an ardent animal lover, eagerly takes on the role of fostering a puppy. However, the charming facade of her furry companion conceals a bewitching twist, and Bella finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue and enchantment.

When questioned about the inspiration behind Bella, Dionne recognizes a reflection of her own childhood fascination with the natural world and a connection of her own personal experiences to her character’s journey. Regarding her approach to crafting compelling storylines, Dionne credits Emerson’s influence as a significant factor.

“Emerson was instrumental in my writing process,” Dionne said. “I really feel like I learned how to draft and how to revise and and take feedback during my time there. It really opened my eyes to the potential and the opportunities in writing for kids so I’m forever grateful, and I learned so much.”

Dionne believes it’s the power of a well-crafted storyline that has the potential to reel in readers and move them deeply. Her commitment to character development, intricate world-building, and relatable themes reveals her desire to connect with her audience profoundly. 

“I really made it my goal to incorporate that element into each book so that there is more to the story than just these fun, eerie tales,” Dionne explains. 

Dionne possesses a deep understanding of the dynamics at play in this genre. With nine books for young readers under her belt, Dionne and her work have garnered critical acclaim and recognition. 

Notably, “Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking” was a 2014 Edgar Award finalist, solidifying her position as a prominent figure in the world of children and young adult literature. Her versatility as an author is exemplified by her extensive body of work, which includes titles like “Balletball,” “Secrets of a Fangirl,” and “Captain’s Log Snowbound.”

Dionne’s “Shiver by the Sea” series is yet another testament to her talent and commitment to captivating young readers. With her books now readily accessible through both online retailers and local bookstores and an exciting author talk scheduled at Barnes and Noble, there has never been a better time for readers young and old to immerse themselves in the enchanting world of “Shiver by the Sea.” 

The series dons a cover with a distinctive and unmistakable design. Dionne eloquently articulated her interpretation of the illustrations.

 “Jen the illustrator, was able to incorporate it both in the postcard on the cover and the second book, If you look carefully, it looks like downtown Beverly MA “

Whether you’re embarking on this magical adventure for the first time or revisiting it as a longtime fan, Dionne’s stories will surely leave an indelible mark on your heart and imagination. What’s next for Dionne? Fans can expect another addition to the series. 

“I have another “Shiver by the Sea” book coming out in May of 2024.” Dionne shared.  “I’m super excited about that that one is going to be based on the creature from the Black Lagoon movie so and I’m hoping this series will continue beyond that.”

Fans can also anticipate a new side of Dionne’s writing, but this time in a unique way.

“I’m writing adult mysteries under the pseudonym Mina Allan.” She shared. “I’m working on those and I’m working on another mystery for tweens.”

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About the Contributor
Clara Faulkner, Managing Editor and Living Arts Editor
Clara Faulkner holds dual roles at the Beacon, serving as both the Business Director and the Living Arts Editor. Before taking up these positions, she showcased her expertise as an assistant editor, specializing in living arts—a field she is deeply passionate about, driven by her love for pop culture and entertainment. Aside from her editorial work, Clara actively engages in multiple campus organizations, including SPJ, CPLA, WECB, and AEPHI. Moreover, she takes on the role of marketing director at Emertainment. Beyond her writing endeavors, Clara delves into the realms of culinary exploration, cinematic indulgence, and language acquisition, constantly seeking new experiences and knowledge.

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