By Deena Adams
This week I’m excited to introduce you to author, Christina Sinisi. Although I don’t personally know Christina, I’m thrilled to promote the release of her Christmas novella, “Christmas on Ocracoke.”
Since I live only about an hour away from the Outer Banks, the author is a Christian, and the story revolves around Christmas, I’m interested in the book based on those three facts alone!
I hope you enjoy the interview and will consider purchasing a copy of her book. If you do, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and any other book-selling platform you can.
Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
First, thank you for having me as a guest–I truly appreciate it! Then, my family–my husband, Kyle, and I have been married 34 years (!) and have two grown children, Scott and Lindsey. We also have a cat, Chessie Mae.
How and when did you start writing?
I started writing poetry in third grade, a play in 5th grade, and my first (awful) novel in 8th grade. My next attempt at a novel was the summer after college graduation–which I submitted to a publisher, received a rejection letter, and then didn’t know where to go from there.
I went on to graduate school, completed a Ph.D., gave birth to children and then, once my daughter was in kindergarten, started writing again. I haven’t stopped since.
Why did you decide to write contemporary novels? What unique challenges does writing about today’s culture present?
Most of my early manuscripts were fantasy. My writing resonated with editors and contest judges, but the stories never seemed to click to the point of a yes from a publisher.
Then, my mentor asked me why I wasn’t writing inspirational romance since my faith is so integral to everything I do. I simply started writing Christian romance from there.
The unique challenges in writing contemporary include the fact that much of the world doesn’t find faith so important and I don’t want my characters to seem artificial or their faith forced.
How do you incorporate Christ and hope into your writing?
My characters need faith to survive–as do we all. Someone or something makes that need abundantly clear.
Are any of your stories inspired by true events or personal history?
Yes. This year’s novella, Christmas on Ocracoke, was inspired by my own visit to the island this past December (2019). I was impacted by the island’s beauty and Hurricane Dorian’s devastation. I wanted to do something to help, in my own small way.
How long do you spend on research before you begin writing the book?
Not long–I work on the plot story board for about a week, research what I need, and then start writing. The speed with which I write depends on the time of the year. I’m a professor by day and this year has been really tough on us teachers (on everyone, I know) so it’s been slow going.
Do you have other hobbies you enjoy? What do you do for fun?
Read and bake. I’m addicted to the Great British Bake-Off right now.
How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
I took three and a half weeks to write last year’s Christmas novella, but that was in June and I wasn’t teaching. This year’s novella took all spring. Sweet Summer, coming next June, took July – December of last year and it’s a full-length novel.
What did God teach you through the writing of Christmas on Ocracoke?
Christmas on Ocracoke is about forgiveness and new beginnings. I learned that forgiveness isn’t really ever done. There will be some angry memory or some hurt that reminds you again and again about the hurt you’ve suffered. It’s okay–it doesn’t mean you didn’t forgive to start with, you just need to reassure yourself and redo.
What do you hope your readers take away from the book?
Joy and trust are possible. There will be difficulties in life, sometimes terrible struggles, but there is also laughter and love. I pray there’s lots of love.
Which character in Christmas on Ocracoke was easiest for you to write and why? Which character presented the biggest challenge?
The easiest character to write was sweet baby James. I love kids, and can really relate to the rambunctious, wear-you-out toddler who you can’t help but adore.
Annie Hanahan, the female lead, was the most difficult to write. She is the one who underwent the most growth and had to make the hard decision to give love a chance again.
What’s next from you?
Sweet Summer, is expected in June of 2021. It’s the second book in the Summer Creek series. Christmas Confusion was the first. The series is about three sisters, and Summer Creek is the youngest sister, Shelby’s, story. Christmas on Ocracoke is, so far, a stand-alone, but Meggy’s story is percolating in the back of my head.
Besides posting comments on your website, how can your readers and fans support you?
I would very much appreciate reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. I also promise to start a newsletter in the next month–I want to share recipes and get feedback! I’ll be posting about that on my Facebook author page and my blog/website.
Any last words for readers?
Thank you! Just the idea that someone is reading my stories after all these years makes me so happy! I hope and pray that you all have a safe and Merry Christmas!
Join the conversation. What do you love about Christmas novels? Have you ever been to the Outer Banks? What intrigues you most about reading a story set on Ocracoke Island? What hobbies do you enjoy besides reading?
Christina has graciously offered a free Christmas on Ocracoke ebook as a giveaway. All those who comment on this post by 8 p.m. EST on December 15 and provide your email address will be entered to win. Winner will be announced in the post comments and contacted by email.
Christmas on Ocracoke by Christina Sinisi
Click on the book cover for purchase link from Anaiah Press
Reeling from the upheaval of a failed marriage, Annie Hanahan is desperate for a new start—and when she inherits a cottage on Ocracoke Island, she may finally get it. Without a second thought, she packs up and leaves everything behind: her first name, her job, and her ex-husband, because more than anything, she wants to get her son away from his father’s partying and neglectful ways. But when she arrives in the Outer Banks, she finds the island—and her promised refuge—ravaged by Hurricane Dorian.
When their parents died in a tragic car accident, Trey Kingsley dropped out of college to raise his sister. Now that she’s grown and moved away, it’s his turn to find a life of his own. As a contractor who has given so much of his time to helping Ocracoke recover from the devastation of Hurricane Dorian, it surprises no one when he offers to help the beautiful newcomer, but something is holding her back. Life keeps throwing them together, though, or perhaps God’s hand is giving them a nudge. Will a little bit of divine intervention be enough for a Merry Christmas on Ocracoke?
A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Christina Sinisi writes stories about families, both the broken and blessed. Her works include a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and the American Title IV Contest in which she appeared in the top ten in the Romantic Times magazine. Her published books include The Christmas Confusion and the upcoming Sweet Summer, the first two books in the Summer Creek Series, as well as Christmas On Ocracoke. By day, she is a psychology professor and lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with her husband, two children, and cat Chessie Mae.
Connect with Christina:
If you missed last week’s author interview with Colleen Snyder, find it here!