"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Friday, June 10, 2011

GFP - Quintspinner:A Pirates Quest by Diane Greenlay

About Diane Greenlay:

Saving lives by day (physiotherapist, EMT) and spinning lies by night ( writer/author and playwright/director of Community Theatre), I live on the Canadian prairies with my husband in a lovely historical home that we share with a consortium of cats. Having raised a family of 6 kids ( and, amazingly, everyone lived through it!) , I have plenty of their escapades still fresh in my mind, to weave into my fiction. Whenever possible, I travel to exotic locales to research my novels and to seek out new adventures to fuel my already overactive imagination.

Welcome Diane. May I offer you a beverage?
Ooh, I'll have a Mystic Brew, thank you! I'm excited to be here visiting with you today.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a physiotherapist by day, and an author/writer and playwright/creative director of community theatre by night. My husband and I have raised a blended family of 6 kids (all teenagers at the same time - only two bathrooms in the house) and everybody got out alive. We share our home with a variety of cats, our own as well as their feral friends who seem attracted to our place. My yard has always had a mystical feeling to it for me, and the wild deer and a singular muskrat have taken to sleeping at night by our front door,even though we live in the middle of a town - who says paranormal is fictional?  
What inspired you to pen this novel?
 A google search gone wrong. I was looking up a medical condition and, in the search results, up came "women pirates". Not knowing that there were such people, my curiosity got the best of me and  I began to read about them. Once I did, the story idea grew like a dandelion on a fertilizer pile. Having already written a one act comedy titled, "The Camping Guy", I had been toying with the idea of writing a full length novel. My grown children's shocked reaction to my announcement that I wanted to learn to snowboard, hammered home the fact that I wasn't getting any younger and that time was marching on. I sat down and began to write, and write and write ...

How did you come up with the title?
Spinner rings are quite popular throughout tropical locales. They are fashioned after Tibetan prayer rattles and wheels; their spinning movements were thought to enhance the user's abilities to manifest health and the power to see into the future. Since sailors in the eighteenth centry were such a superstitious lot, and given the availability of vast amounts of jewels and treasures in the Golden Age of Piracy, I thought the inclusion of a Spinner ring (or five) would be a good fit. The number five was thought to be a powerful number - there were five senses, five continents, five oceans, and most religions attached mystical qualities to the number five. "Quint" had a nicer ring to it than "five".

Who is your favorite character?
I loved creating Tess, because she is a headstrong female, living in a time when such a trait was not always acceptable in society. She often thinks a thought and acts upon it, without considering the implications and dealing with the repercussions of her actions later.

Who would you most likely invite to dinner?
I think Mrs. Hanley would be the choice guest. She's folksy, engaging in conversation, and a good cook too!I have a feeling that she would really keep the conversation going around the dinner table.

How do you keep your writing different from all the other novels in this genre?
QUINTSPINNER is classed primarily historical (it has been labelled by readers as all of the following: historical fantasy, historical romance, historical YA, and historical adventure). Historical novels seem to have A LOT of historical detail and are therefore usually lengthy. I keep my descriptions brief, thanks to advice given to me by Diana Gabaldon, with whom I had the good fortune to have a one-on-one session with at the Surrey International Writers Conference. As well, unlike most historical novels, my novel has very short chapters - 3 to 5 pages - as a busy person, that's how I like to be able to read a book myself. I dislike starting to read a chapter if I cannot finish it in one sitting.
What is your favorite part about writing?
I love getting lost in the story and having the plot take me away on an unexpected twist - something that even I was not expecting. It's even better when that twist ties in nicely with some little detail that had previously seemed to be not that important. When the writing is going smoothly, and I don't have interruptions in my real life ( like telephone calls, hungry husband wanting supper - I'm the better cook!) I love having the story play out in my mind. I also enjoy researching the background information and stumbling upon some wierd fact.

Do you have a special place to write?
I have a small desk in a corner of my front room. There are several large windows and a fireplace there and it's a perfect  place to let my imagination go.

Did you find any particular challenges during the writing of this novel?
Going in to it, I had no idea of the amount of time it takes to research for a historical novel. Not only that, but Quintspinner largely takes place on a sailing ship - there was the life of a sailor to learn about as well. I also had to dig deep to find the self discipline to get into a writing schedule (I'm easily distracted by looking out the aforementioned windows by my desk, and I have a terrible time telling the difference between boredom and hunger, which produces repeat visits to the fridge.) Eventually I set small attainable goals for myself - 500 words per day on my work days, 1000 words per day on the weekends, and only one trek to the fridge per hour ...  
Are you currently working on any projects?
I wasn't very far into QUINTSPINNER when I realized that there was much more story to be told than would comfortably fit between the covers of a single book, so I am at work on the second novel in the series. It's a continuation of Tess's and William's adventures, and the quest to find another Spinner ring. Just as a bit of a preview, on my most recent trip to the Caribbean, I went cave spelunking (research, ya' know?) and learned about Cuban crocodiles which hunt in packs ...

Any special announcements you would like to share with readers today?
QUINTSPINNER has recently won the following awards: First Place Best Historical and Third Place Best YA (Reader Views); Montaigne Medal nominee; Third Place Best Genre Fiction (Creative Arts Council); Shortlist Selection for Best First Book (Sask Book Awards); Finalist Best YA (NIEA Book Awards); and Shortlist Selection for Book of the Year YA Fiction (ForeWord Reviews TBA June/11).

What is one thing that your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I play the African Djembe (hourglass shaped drum). Sometimes I play out on my patio, much to the amusement (irritation?) of my neighbors.

Just for fun:
Fantasy or Horror? Fantasy. I can't let go of horror and I lose sleep over it.
Favorite Drink? Ice cold Diet Pepsi
Favorite Movie?Braveheart
What is a must have to write? A cup of Earl Grey tea or glass of Diet Pepsi at my side.
Favorite Book(s)? Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls; Master of The Game by Sidney Sheldon
Favorite Saying? There's always somethin' what comes from somethin' - Mrs. Hanley, London, 1717
What is the craziest thing you've ever done? Completed the Vancouver Marathon without one step of preparation. Just signed up, showed up, walked/jogged the 26.4 miles and got the Tshirt (literally). Oh yeah!

In the year 1717, 16 year old Tess Willoughby witnesses a murder near a London marketplace and becomes the keeper of a legendary Spinner ring. Even so, she never imagines that she will find herself an unwilling passenger on a merchant ship bound for the pirate-infested waters of the West Indies and forcibly betrothed to the murderer.

Longing to be with William, a young press-ganged sailor, but unable to escape her dangerous fiance's clutches, Tess struggles to survive in her new set of circumstances. During a pirate attack, she unravels the legacy of her strange Spinner ring and its power, realizing that her own life and those of everyone she loves, are in jeopardy.

As a powerful hurricane overtakes the ship, a slim opportunity for her own escape presents itself, and she is forced to make the most chilling decision of her life.

Having won multiple Book Awards, (ReaderViews, ForeWord Connections, Creative Arts Council, Sask Book Award, Eric Hoffer Award) Quintspinner is a tale of pirates, secrets, betrayal, and romance on the seas of the West Indies, all bound together by a dash of ancient magic.

Diane is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions and by leaving a comment today you will be entered to win a Quintspinner T-shirt and a $10 Amazon Gift Card,  which will go to one lucky commentor from her entire tour.

Tess stepped forward out of the shadow of the ship's timber, and drew herself up as tall as she could. The nearness of her once again made William's breath harsh. He stared into her eyes. Even by the ship's lantern light, they were as deeply green as the ocean that they sailed upon. For a few powerful hearbeats they stood, their faces mere inches apart. Impetuously, he reached out, his fingertips resting lightly on the swell of her hip. Tess reached up and trailed her own fingertips along the stubble of his jaw.

Her touch was electrifying.

"What was it that you wanted to ask me?" William whispered softly, hopefully, as he lowered his lips to nuzzle her neck.

"Hmmm?" Tess exhaled. "I - I wanted to ask you ... to teach me to throw ... as you do. With a weapon of my own."

Her words sent an instant chill through William. 

Thank you so much for stopping in Diane and I wish you the best of luck in the future.

Goddess Fish Partner


In Julie's Opinion said...

Very cool review! I'm following the blog tour cuz I love me some pirate booty!
jwitt33 at live dot com

Chelsea B. said...

Your book sounds fabulous, Dianne! Great interview!

Dianne Greenlay said...

Thanks for following Julie and Chelsea! This tour has been a lot of fun.

And thank you, BK, for hosting my visit to your blog. Your site is amazing!Cheers! - Dianne