It’s always a good day to get to know a new writer of contemporary Christian romance — today’s a good day! Author Christian Sinisi gives us a peek at her writing life, experiences, and writing tips for new authors. Let’s find out more…
Thanks for being here today! I sort of spilled the beans, but let’s start with you telling us what you write. How did you pick your genre?
First, thank you for having me on your blog—I truly appreciate it!
I write Christian Contemporary Romance. I actually started writing secular fantasy romance because I love creating imaginary worlds. Over time, though, I would only get so far with those stories and became frustrated. My mentor, Eloisa James, looked at me and said, “why aren’t you writing inspirational? Your faith is so much a part of who you are.” I had no good answer and switched—and am very happy that I did.
How long does it take you to: write the book? Edit it? Finalize it?
This is one of those, “it depends,” answers. My first published book was a novella I wrote in three and a half weeks. This year, I’m struggling to finish one novel. Life happens. In June of 2019, when I wrote Christmas Confusion, I had nothing else going on and could write seven plus pages a day. This year, we were short-handed at work in the spring semester, I’ve taken two big trips, and there’s my new release to market. I’ve learned to be patient with myself. The book will get done as long as I keep moving forward.
If you’ve written multiple books, which was harder: the first book or the following books?
The first book was the easiest. Then, I was on a roll and wrote five more books, one every six months. This seventh book is some of my best writing—I believe—but I’m just struggling to find the time.
What’s your favorite book on writing? What do you like about it?
Deb Dixon’s GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict is my go-to book on writing. I always do a GMC chart for the hero and heroine in every book. I also add a couple of rows to her basic chart—personality quirk (something that makes the person interesting) and faith arc (since I’m writing inspirational romance, I believe the characters need to undergo a faith change or struggle).
What’s your favorite writers conference? What do you like about it?
I haven’t been able to attend a Christian writer’s conference in person—so I’m planning on doing so next year. I’d love input as to which to attend. The only problem is, I can’t attend ACFW because the conference takes place in September and I’m a professor. I can’t miss class!
What’s your writing day like?
Over the years, I’ve found myself less and less able to concentrate for long periods of time. But again, I am patient with myself. So, I write a page or two, and then clean something and so on throughout the day. I am writing at best 5-7 pages right now but have been known to write 25 pages in a day when I was younger. I don’t think it’s age, but rather, so many distractions with everyone else at home so much.
How do you combat writer’s block?
Be patient with yourself—if you can only write a paragraph, write a paragraph. Then, do something else and come back and write another paragraph. I do find if I’m kind to myself and no one comes in my office to chat, I can write longer. Also, if life has been busy, and you haven’t been able to write for days or even weeks, reread and remind yourself of the mood and where you were going.
Also, I’m a big fan of storyboarding—if I get stuck, I can glance at the storyboard and remind myself of where I should be in the story. If anyone is interested in learning more about storyboarding, I have posts on my blog about how to create one.
How do you self-edit your manuscript?
I go through a series of steps. First, I do searches for “bad” words like it, that, and words that end in -ly. As I’m going, I notice if there are any other words that are over-used in the manuscript and do searches for those. As I search, I try to find a better wording rather than those over-used words. If I can’t, I don’t worry too much. Most of the time, I get rid of half or more of those sticky words.
I also search for grammatical errors—looking for blue and red squiggly lines in Microsoft Word as well as rereading.
I have a critique partner who reads for bigger issues. For the last two manuscripts, I have used freelance editors—one is a friend who volunteered, and the other was a local editor who critiqued for free in exchange for a testimonial. I found out about her through one of my two writing groups.
Right now, I’m procrastinating (not for long, but still) going through my latest manuscript for faith development—the last step for me.
Formerly the wild child of three sisters, Emma Marano grew up to be a single mom working two jobs, estranged from her mother, and lying to her friends. She’d told everyone that her daughter’s father wanted nothing to do with his child, but in reality, her own inability to deal with her mistakes and shame led to the biggest lie of her life. But her daughter, Haley, is all Emma has in the world, so how can she regret keeping Haley to herself? Emma’s struggling, though, and her life is slowly imploding.
Right after high school, Justin Lee broke up with Emma Marano and joined the Army, leaving her and all her drama behind. Years later, he stumbles upon her and what turns out to be a daughter he never knew he had. Angry and confused, he insists on having a relationship with his daughter, but to do so, he’ll need to rebuild some sort of relationship with Emma, too. As he gets to know his daughter—and Emma again—he soon realizes that his biggest mistake was leaving her all those years ago. What he dismissed as drama turns out to be a serious mental health issue, and Emma needs help. Now, Justin has to decide if he can see past her flaws and forgive her lies, and together, they’ll have to work to reclaim their love and a faith in each other and in God, or they risk losing something precious in the process.
A member of 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 where she appeared in the top ten in the Romantic Times magazine. Her published books include Christmas Confusion, Sweet Summer, and Christmas on Ocracoke. By day, she is a psychology professor and lives in the LowCountry of South Carolina with her husband, two children and her crazy cat Chessie Mae.