Kindle Author Interview: Dianne Greenlay

Dianne Greenlay, author of Quintspinner, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Quintspinner?

DIANNE GREENLAY: Quintspinner is a YA/cross-over novel that is set in the 1700s. As a witness to a murder in London, Tess Willoughby comes into possession of an ancient Spinner ring and uncovers a shocking family secret. Even so, she never imagines that as a result, that she will find herself on a merchant ship bound for the pirate- infested waters of the West Indies and forcibly betrothed to the murderer who covets her ring.

Torn from a sheltered life and thrust into one of brutal survival, headstrong Tess must make choices - heartbreaking and dangerous choices—as she confronts her Quintspinner legacy. A spin of her ring could result in her own freedom, or...her death. Longing to be with William, a press-ganged sailor, Tess soon realizes that her dangerous fiance is the only one who can secure her safety through the perilous journey. But at what price?

Quintspinner is a story of adventure and survival, love and betrayal, all bound together with a dash of magic.

It came about as an idea gained from a totally unrelated google search which listed "women pirates" in the search results. The most famous pirates lived in the West Indies during the Golden Age of Piracy. Life in the 1700s was so rich in fascinating details and gruesome occurances, that the story developing in my head would not let me rest.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

DIANNE GREENLAY: Both my main characters, Tess and William, as well as my secondary characters, grew and developed along with the plot. I have been blessed in real life to have met a wide variety of both wierd and wonderful people—I'm a people watcher—so the characters fleshed themselves out, mosaics from my mental stores of those "people details" I have come across. And of course, in order for a really good story to be birthed, there must be conflict, in both the events and the characters, so the characters all had defining traits. The more I thought about them, the more alive they became in the storyline.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

DIANNE GREENLAY: Pirates, I think, hold a universal fascination for us all. An editor that I worked with suggested that I present my protagonists's ages to be upper teens to capture the interest of both the upper YA market as well as an adult market, and this seems to have worked well. Teenagers as young as 12 and female readers of all ages have contacted me to plead for the next book in the series, but so have, much to my surprise, male readers, even those in middle age, proving that we all love a rip-roaring story that offers us escape from our real-life problems and stresses, if only for a short time.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

DIANNE GREENLAY: While I loved creative writing classes in school, I took a hiatus of several years away from writing, while I joined the work force and raised a blended family of six. My imagination, however, was never in "stall" mode, and the moment the last child roared off to university, I set about getting things done on my "Bucket List." Two of my top desires on that list were to write a novel and to learn to play the bagpipes. I chose to write. My husband is grateful.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

DIANNE GREENLAY: Because Quintspinner is set in an historical time, and spinner rings are fashioned after ancient Tibetan prayer rattles, I had to do A LOT of research first. I have binders of notes and details that I sorted and filed; I ordered so many historical reference books and texts from the library, that I was soon on a first name basis with all of the librarians. As far as the actual writing of the manuscript, I set a goal for myself that I would write 500 words per day on my work days, and a minimum of 1000 words per day on my days off. I also pushed myself with another rule: no quitting in the middle of a chapter—I would write until it was done, even if it was 3am, which, by the way, is the time that I find myself being the most creative. I did editing and rewrites in large chunks, and often asked my beta readers their opinions on the story lines. Although I thought I knew the plot and ending early on, my characters galloped madly off in other directions, taking me to places that I had not anticipated. It was a fun ride!

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

DIANNE GREENLAY: I love Michael Crichton's books. He blends fact with fiction in such an ingenious way that he has me, as a reader, believing the entire book's premise to be not only plausible but probable. Diana Gabaldon is another favorite, for her ability to develop such engaging characters, blending them with real history and making them come alive with wonderful humor and believeable sorrow.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

DIANNE GREENLAY: Where The Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls. During some family time a long time ago, I read this fabulous story aloud to my children when they ranged in age from 7 to 13 (pre-teens to the too-cool teens). We all laughed and sobbed together.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?


1. had in-bookstore book signings;
2. had a wildly successful pirate-themed book launch party;
3. given talks to writers' groups, library boards, public gatherings, high school and middle school english classes, book clubs;
4. given radio, online, and newspaper interviews;
5. gathered book reviews;
6. had Quintspinner articles published in West Magazine and a university alumni magazine;
7. entered book Award contests, and had Quintspinner earn First in Reader View Best Historical, Third in Reader Views Best YA, Third in Creative Art Council for Best 2011 Fiction, and it has been shortlisted for Best New Book in the Sask Book Awards, Best YA for ForeWord Reviews and Best Commercial Fiction for the Eric Hofer Award.;
8. a Quintspinner Group page on Facebook, a Twitter account, a web page ( and a blog, Write On the Way to Somewhere (, and I have a book trailer:

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

DIANNE GREENLAY: I have been following the changes in publishing over the past two years, and it's clear that e-readership is multiplying faster than anyone could have imagined, and Amazon is, by far, the biggest online retailer in the world.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

DIANNE GREENLAY: Pay for at least these two things: a professional cover for your book, and professional editing of your manuscript. Publishing is a business venture, and as such, the outlay of cash for these things should be considered necessary business expenses. If your computer skills are rudimentary, there are decently priced services available to do the uploading for you as well.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


Dianne Greenlay writes, "By day I save lives (physiotherapist and EMT), and by night I invent lies (writer/author and playwright/director of community theatre). When not traveling in search of adventures in exotic locales, I live with my husband on the Canadian prairies where we share our home with a consortium of cats."

Visit her website and read her blog.

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