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Author says background helps with character development

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Author says background helps with character development

“Christmas on Ocracoke” by Christina Sinisi.

Shari Stauch, owner Summerville’s Main Street Reads indie bookstore, referred me to Christian Romance writer Christina Sinisi.

It is that time of year when many of us watch movies on stations like The Hallmark Channel.

Sinisi, who lives in Goose Creek, has been writing since she first wrote poetry way back in third grade. Her current book, which was released in November, is “Christmas on Ocracoke” (An Anaiah Christmas Novella) as her publisher is Anaiah Press.

Her first book was “Christmas Confusion” published a year ago. By day, Christina is a professor and Chair of Psychology at Charleston Southern University. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers

Regan: Did you ever dream you would be a romance writer? Given your psychology background, do you weave psychological themes in your books?

Sinisi: I have simply always wanted to write. Right out of college, I wrote fantasy/science fiction and got close as I was a finalist in the Romantic Times American Title competition and the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, but those manuscripts were eventually rejected. My mentor, Eloisa James, then asked me why I was not writing inspirational fiction since my faith is such a large part of my life. I had no answer and started down this road. One of the reasons I majored in psychology was to learn more about people and their characteristics. I do incorporate this knowledge when developing characters—each of them has quirks, flaws, and maybe even struggles with mental health issues.

R: Why are both of your books centered on Christmas?

S: On June 6, 2019, I saw a call for Christmas novellas from Anaiah. The deadline was the end of the month—I thought, why not? I wrote “Christmas Confusion” in three and a half weeks. Finally, I got a yes. Then, my mentor (and others) asked for the other sister’s stories from that book. I wrote the youngest sister’s story and submitted it, but my editor said they could not publish it in 2020. Not wanting to wait more than a year to publish again, I wrote another Christmas novella—and got that in by June of this year. Do not get me wrong—I do love Christmas, but I am only following where I am led.

R: Do you believe a person needs to have a balanced view between one’s head and heart about “romance” & “love”? Do you think that one’s “spark” for another eventually fades, or do you feel it can always be kept alive with their significant other?

S: Yes—one needs to be intelligent in all decisions—romance or otherwise. My husband and I have been married 34 years. I do think love can be nurtured and kept alive, but it does take different forms at various stages. I also think it is a decision you make—I am going to love this person for the rest of my life, despite the ups and downs.

R: Is there a particular author you admire in this genre of Christian Romance?

S: I love Rachel Hauck and Karen Kingsbury, both of whom have been New York Times best-selling authors.

R: Are you a big Hallmark greeting card fan? Do you believe that it truly is the “little things” in life that mean so much?

S: I am more of a DaySpring greeting card type of person. I believe big and little things both mean a lot. I made a commitment all those years ago to my husband and that was huge, but we fulfill our commitment by the daily little things—a hug every day, saying the right thing or being quiet when talking could be hurtful.

R: Where do you draw inspiration for your books? Are any aspects drawn from reality, or it is totally fictitious?

S: I find inspiration everywhere—friends, family, and strangers I read about in the newspaper.

R: Is there a 3rd book coming? Do you hope one of your stories would become a Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-T.V. movie?

S: A third book for me, the second book in the Summer Creek series, is set for July of 2021. It is the youngest sister—Shelby’s—story and is also set in the Charleston area. I am trying to finish the third book in that series to be turned in by the end of the year and published in 2022.

I would love for one of my stories to become a Hallmark or PureFlix movie! By the way, thank you for this interview and I would love to interact with readers via social media!

Mary E. Regan, is a publicist with her ProPublicist consultancy and is seeking more clients. Story ideas? Send email to Mary@ProPublicist.com.