Thursday, June 9, 2011
My guest today is Dianne Greenlay, author of Quintspinner. Dianne, I'm so glad to meet you.
Thanks, Elaine for inviting me to visit with you today.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing.
I live in the middle of the Canadian prairies, and by day I work at my own physiotherapy clinic; by night I write novels and I direct community theatre productions. My husband and I raised 6 teenagers into adulthood (only two bathrooms) and we all survived. We now share our home with a consortium of cats, and travel somewhere exotic in the winters (research for the novel, ya' know?), and somewhere within Canada that we have not yet been to, in the summers.
My debut novel, QUINTSPINNER - A PIRATE'S QUEST is a historical novel and has been labelled by reviewers as a historical adventure, a historical romance, and a historical YA novel. (A little something for everyone I guess ...) I wrote it as a novel for an adult audience, but an editor that I worked with suggested that I lower my protagonist's age to 16, as he felt that it was a story that upper teens would enjoy as well as an adult readership. It seems to have worked as it has won awards in both historical and YA categories.
2. I can see why it won awards. I loved the excerpt. How much research did you have to do for the book?
Well, considering that I'm a prairie girl writing about a sea faring adventure, I had to research a LOT. I had had several experiences on the ocean before I started the story, including some near misses involving a shark beneath my Hobie cat, a spouting Orca swamping the inflatable Zodiac boat that I was in, being stung by a cloud of nearly invisible baby jelly fish, and attempting - and failing miserably - to haul sail on board a tall ship (not all on the same holiday, thank goodness.)
Because of my medical background (besides being both an acute care and rehab physiotherapist, I was also an EMT for 13 years), I did not have to research as much for the parts of the story that involved Tess, (my protagonist) and her physician father, other than to find out what stage medical knowledge and techniques were at in the 1700's.
The most indepth research for me was that that helped me to understand what life on a sailing ship was like 300 years ago. I toured Nova Scotia when it had a major pirate display visiting the province, and the land itself has many nautical museums and ruins of forts and dwellings, complete with actual artillery and ammunition. The curators of these places are amazing resources. They were more than willing to share their vast knowledge of sailing and pirate stories with me.
Back home, I utilized my local library and also developed my own personal collection of resource books on a variety of topics - sailing, pirates, everyday living in the 1700's, herbal medicine - and I still refer to these frequently, as I am writing the second book in the QUINTSPINNER trilogy.
Of course, the Internet is probably the greatest and easiest source of information available to writers today. Facts, descriptions, and even videos are all available at our fingertips. Not so much fun as rolling around in the actual surf, however ...
3.I love the hands-on part of your research! Who are some YA authors who have inspired you?
I loved S.E. Hinton's THE OUTSIDERS, Wilson Rawls' WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS, and Kenneth Oppel's SILVERWING series. I'm also a fan of the classics, THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, by Mark Twain and LORD OF THE FLIES, by William Golding.
4. What do you think makes a book a page turner?
As a reader, I am compelled to turn the page when the action is fast, the tension is high, and a chapter ends on an unexpected detail or in an unfinished situation. I also have to care about the characters and want to know what is going to happen to them.
5. Great criteria for a page turner. What are you most passionate about outside of writing?
I have many interests, but probably the thing that I devote the most amount of energy towards and derive pleasure from, after writing, would be live theater. I am a founding member of a community theater group and have been a part of all of its productions over the past 20 years. It is a powerful feeling to get people in the audience so involved in the story that they laugh out loud and they cry in front of their tablemates. Hmm ... maybe not so different from reading a wonderful book!
6. Would you share your links with us and maybe an excerpt?
I would be delighted to.
Web page www.diannegreenlay.com
Facebook Group http://on.fb.me/kFmjca
book trailer http://youtu.be/HPltUhH-b2w
available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters/Indigo
Blurb: 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.
"Are you alright?" Tess whispered into her sister's ear. "How have you been treated?" Even as the words left her mouth, Tess's hands slid down to her sister's shoulders and froze over top of a softly thickened weal on Cassie's right shoulder. Tess pulled her hand away and stared.
"Oh my God, Cass," she whispered hoarsely. "What has he done to you?"
Under the inquiring touch of Tess's fingertips, an angry raised mound of fresh and tender scar tissue stood out. Clearly it was a miniature form of the powder horn depicted on the pirates' flag.
"He- he branded you?" Tess gasped.
A brand. The pirate captain's brand.Burned deeply into the soft flesh of Cassie's shoulder, it marked Cassid forever as his own.
Tess swallowed hard as sudden waves of nausea threatened to expel a rush of bitter bile. Anger deeper than any she had ever known cascaded over her in a hot rush.Looking into Cassie's tear filled eyes, and seeing the intense anguish there, she clasped her sister hard to her chest. "He will pay for whatever he has done to you!" she seethed.
"No-o-o," Cassie moaned. "He'll kill you if you try anything." Her eyes pleaded with Tess. "Save yourself if you can." She laid her own hand gently over the branded tissue. Her voice was barely a whisper.
"I am doomed."
Readers, leave a comment to be entered in a contest for a Quintspinner tee shirt and a $10.00 gift certificate from Amazon. Follow the tour and comment more often for more chances to win. You can find the tour schedule at http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2011/04/virtual-book-tour-quintspinner-by.html.