Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Quintspinner - The Tale of the Doctor's Daughter


CONTEST ALERT! Dianne Greenlay will be giving away a Quintspinner T shirt and a  $10 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter during the blog tour.
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I spent Memorial Day on the beach in New Jersey, watching my daughter build sandcastles while I read Quintspinner. It was the perfect book for the beach, since it centered on a nautical theme and setting, and it was really well written and researched. (In fact, Quintspinner was just awarded Honorable Mention for Best Beach Read at the Beach Book Festival, so there you are.)
The main character in the book is a daughter of a doctor in the 18th century. Dianne Greenlay, the author, knows quite a bit about her subject, since she is a physiotherapist and an EMT. She lives on the Canadian prairies with her  husband and what she calls “a consortium of cats.”
I was lucky enough to be able to interview Dianne about her book and her writing in general. What she had to say about the book was just as interesting as the book itself. If you would like to learn more  about Ms Greenlay, you can check out her website and her blog. She is also on Facebook.


1. Quintspinner is about Tess, a 18th century doctor's daughter whose life changes suddenly. Did your background as an EMT help you write the book?
Having a medical background as an EMT and as a sole charge physiotherapist certainly was useful. Because of this occupational combination, I have a lot of knowledge and experience in both acute and rehab medicine and I have been an observer in the O.R. and have seen many procedures such as amputations and cardiac surgeries first hand. However, I had to research 18th century medicine to see what techniques they used, and to find out what level of knowledge they had with regards to disease and treatments. Some of their techniques were downright brutal.

2. There are many twists to the plot of Quintspinner, including the prophetic spinner ring. Can you explain the significance of this object to the novel?
Spinner rings are based on ancient Tibetan prayer wheels and rattles, whose spinning movements were thought to enhance a user's prayers or manifestation techniques, enabling healing and prophesy gifts to occur. Today, spinner rings are found throughout the tropical areas as tourist-y items, and they are also sold in North American stores. Sometimes they are called motion rings, and sometimes they are referred to as worry rings, meant to reduce the wearer's stress levels. As QUINTSPINNER is set in the age and world of pirates, which had an astounding amount of treasure - jewels, furs, precious metals, and spices - and since the sailors back then were a very superstitious bunch, I was inspired to include a spinner ring as a subtle reason for Tess to be endangered. The presence of a spinner ring and its supposed power is there, but in a way that neither the reader nor the characters are sure of whether to believe in it or not.
The number "five" was, and still is considered to be a powerful number by numerologists - There were five oceans, continents, senses, planets visible to the naked eye - so I chose it to be the number of spinner rings. "Quint" had a better ring to it than "five". (No pun intended!)

3. Which readers would love this book?
An editor that I worked with suggested that I drop Tess's age to 16 to capture both the YA and adult audiences. This seems to have worked very well as QUINTSPINNER has won awards in both historical and YA categories. Although I had assumed the readership would be female upper YA and adults, it is an adventure story, and quite descriptive in the lifestyle back then, and so it also appeals to male readers.

4. What was your favorite scene to write?
I had two favorite scenes. The first was the pirate attack on the ship. As I was writing, I was literally hearing the cannons roar, the men scream, the masts crashing down, and I swear I could smell the smoke in the air. (Turns out it was the neighbors' barbeque...)
The second scene was the one of the hurricane. Again I was totally immersed in the tons of cold sea water crashing down on the decks and the burn of its salt in my characters' eyes, the winds tearing at their hair and clothes, the ship tilting in a sickening slide. I think I was playing Dvorak's New World Symphony in the background as I wrote that scene.

5. This book is set in "The Gold Age of Piracy." Are most of the characters  pirates?
(Spoiler Alert!) Only one of the main characters is a pirate, and this is not revealed until the story is quite underway. The other, more obvious pirates are encountered when the ship is attacked and overtaken by the pirate ship, The Bloodhorn. At this point, the pirate captain takes a rather large role for a good portion of the book. Because pirates have a universal appeal to all ages, my book launch party was pirate themed. Many audience members came in costume, we served grog and hard tack goodies, and a scene from the book was acted out by a local theatre group. It really brought QUINTSPINNER to life!

You can watch the book trailer for Quintspinner here:

Dianne is available for interviews and guest blogs.

7 comments:

Jen said...

Oh fun! I like pirates :)

Josie Baker said...

very nice!

Johanna Garth said...

I love the symbolic use of jewelry. So interesting. Can't wait to read it!

Chelsea B. said...

Thank you for sharing about your book, Dianne! I can't wait to read it!

justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

LW said...

Sounds like a summer read, for sure. I'll put this on my list.

Dianne Greenlay said...

Thanks to you all for stopping by Fresh Pot of Tea. I am really happy to have been given the opportunity to be interviewed here and to have connected with you all. Good luck in the give away!

Alison said...

Thanks for stopping by, Dianne. I'll be posting a full review of your book next week.