1. What is the significance of your title, Quintspinner?
Spinner rings, which are fashioned after Tibetan prayer wheels, figure predominantly in my books. The prayer wheels were used by Tibetan monks to induce prayer trances. Today's spinner rings are found throughout the Caribbean and tropical tourist belt. They are marketed as being manifestation enhancing, or often as stress-reducing items. In my books, there are five of them, and five has long been thought of as a powerful number--five oceans, five continents, five directions (with center being the fifth), five senses, five planets visible to the naked eye, and five holy books in most major religions. "Quint" had a more intriguing sound to it rather than "five".
2. Did you set out with the intention of writing YA readers, or did your work "become" a YA series because of the age of Tess, your heroine?
As I researched life in the 1700s, I became aware of the fact that people back then were much more independent and mature in their teens than we are today. Most were married by age 15 or 16, or had at least moved out of their parents' homes and had a vocation. It was not unusual for sailors, for instance, to be aged 12 and up. An editor that I worked with suggested that I make my protagonist's age 16, as her adventure would have been historically accurate for the time in the 1700s, and that would allow Quintspinner to be considered a "YA" novel as well as one whose content would entertain adults. This made it officially a "cross-over" novel, a term which exists, but is not often referred to.
3. How did you decide to write about the life of a pirate, and what are the challenges of writing in this particular genre of historical fiction?
It was a Google search gone wrong. I had entered a medical term, and in the search results, up came "women pirates." I didn't even know that there were such things! I was fascinated by the topic, and it didn't take much research at all to learn that not only were there such women, but that there had been several throughout known history, and the lives of most had been fairly well-documented. Two of them--Anne Bonny and Mary Read--were particularly infamous, and they lived, sailed, and died during the so-called Golden Age of Piracy in the 1700s in the Caribbean. Reading about them, I was totally hooked.
4. What is Wattpad, and how has it helped you grow your readership?
Wattpad is an online site that connects writers and readers, many of them in the YA age category. It has an enormous number of users, so I uploaded several chapters from Quintspinner there last fall, and was soon invited by its administrators to upload the entire story and become one of their featured authors. Within the first 4 months of being on Wattpad, Quintspinner had gathered over 300,000 reads, and I had received hundreds of compliments and messages from readers who loved the story and were begging for more. I have since uploaded several chapters from Deadly Misfortune there, as an introduction to part two of the continuing story.
5. What's your secret in being honored with so many different book awards?
Quintspinner has placed First or Honorable Mention in 14 different book awards, and in several different categories. I guess it breaks the rules, because it has gained fans and earned its awards in more that one genre. Because of its setting and the research that I did, it qualifies for the historical genre; the protagonists are 16 (yes, there is a young woman AND a young man!) so it falls into YA; it is a fast-paced adventure story with possibilities of marketing merchandise, so it falls into the commercial novel category; and fans have said that it is a good beach read as well! I am thrilled that it entertains such a wide variety of readers (and judges) and hope to be able to continue the interest throughout the trilogy.