My guest today is Christina Sinisi, author of the novella, Christmas Confusion. Christina, thank you for joining me today. I read your novella and really liked the story and characters.
Let’s start by telling us a little bit about yourself:
First, thank you so much, Carol, for having me on your blog! I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, I write stories about families, both the broken and blessed. My works include a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and the American Title IV Contest where I appeared in the top ten in the Romantic Times magazine. By day, I am a psychology professor and lives in the LowCountry of South Carolina with my husband and two children and l Iove a good cooking challenge!
What is your book about?
In The Christmas Confusion, high school sweethearts Tiffany Marano and Nick Walsh are reunited after years apart and sparks fly. But not the happy glittering kind, because each of them thinks the other responsible for their estrangement. Before they can work it out, though, Tiffany’s sister disappears. Left with custody of her niece and forced to work with new police detective Nick to find her sister, old feelings begin to resurface. As they start to unravel the truths that left them confused and apart for too long, Nick must learn to let go of his past. But can Tiffany let go of her fear and learn to trust that God isn’t the only one who won’t abandon her?
What is the inspiration behind your story?
On June 9, I saw a call for Christmas novellas on the American Christian Fiction Writer’s email loop. The novellas were due at the end of the month and I saw a challenge. Then, I had to come up with a story–and one particular young lady at my church, whose faith has been an inspiration to me–came to mind. Then, while she was the start, the story took on a life all its own. Plus, I got it done in those next two and a half weeks–challenge met.
What was the catalyst for your interest in writing?
This is my first book to be published. I’ve actually been writing my whole life–poems starting in 3rd grade, a play in 5th grade, and my first (awful) novel in 8th grade. I’ve had poems and short stories, essays and articles published before, but this is my first book. As far as my interest in writing, it’s just in me.
Do you have a day job? If so, how do you find time in your day to write?
Yes, I’m a psychology professor. As a full-time, tenured professor, I now have a lot of flexibility in my hours. Before the virus, I scheduled my classes on MWF so I had time in the mornings to write. Even when that’s not possible, I somehow squeeze it in, even if not every day. When I don’t write and then I do find time, the words just pour out as if they had been dammed up inside.
Are you a night owl or morning person?
Morning. My husband’s a very late night person so there’s a very small gap of time when there’s not someone up in our house–burglars beware.
Do you reward yourself when a book is finished?
If so, what is your favorite treat? I love going out to fancy restaurants–the shrimp and grits here in Charleston, South Carolina is amazing. If you haven’t visited down here, you really should.
Were there any surprises that came up as you wrote your story?
I think stories are part character-driven, part plot, and part they all take over. It’s wonderful when your characters come alive. I truly had no idea how much I’d fall in love with Tiffany’s niece.
Are you part of a writing group?
I am a charter member of the American Christian Fiction Writers–LowCountry chapter here in Charleston. We literally just started this January. So far, they’re a wonderful group–so supportive! I highly encourage any would-be writers to find a group and learn from each other–we have instruction, critiques, and share each other’s triumphs.
Share your favorite excerpt from your book:
Someone had stolen her black heels. That was the only explanation. Tiffany Marano had checked her bedroom closet—where they belonged—that’s where she’d left them. Now, she was working her way through the cavernous hall closet, which seemed to contain half the items she’d been missing. But not her shoes. If this closet didn’t produce results, then she’d have to bend down in this skirt and search under the couch, a very bad idea.
The Santa ornament wearing beach shorts and flip flops randomly started singing about an island Christmas. She groaned. The volume seemed permanently set on annoy the neighbors– the last thing she needed was for them to complain about the noise again.
“I don’t have time for this.” Tiffany raced down the hallway and grabbed Santa off her miniature Christmas tree. She slid across the bare pine floor in her stocking-clad feet and flailed her arms. By some small miracle, she grabbed a wall to stop her forward progress.
After a deep breath of relief, and a few more seconds of auditory torture by a Christmas recording, Tiffany crept down the hall, trying to avoid another wipeout. She stepped on one of her niece, Haley’s, hair barrettes. “Ouch, ouch,” she whisper-shouted, hopping like a crazy woman. Thunk. Her forehead made contact with the open guest bedroom door. She closed her eyes against the pain. For a few minutes, she gripped the door frame with one hand and her head with the other. Santa reached the chorus.
Haley stood at the end of the hall, eyes open wide. “Aunt Tiffy, are you okay?”
Tiffany faked a nod and made her way into the living room. Hurrying, she clapped a hand over Santa’s tiny little mouth. She glanced at her niece, who was also without shoes, as if the lack was contagious. “Haley, I thought you were dressed. If we don’t hurry, we’re going to be late for church.”
“Yes, ma’am.” The girl giggled and ran down the hall, skating in her socks on purpose.
Tiffany tried not to laugh, because moving hurt her head. She stuffed the Santa in her pocket, walked into the bathroom, and switched on the lights. She contemplated the red mark on her forehead in the mirror. “Great,” she whispered. “That’s going to bruise.”
Not good. In less than an hour, if she made it out of this apartment alive, she would need all the energy she could get to teach an energetic bunch of preschoolers about Jesus. Every parent would see the evidence of her klutziness one more time. “Oh, well.” She leaned forward so her dirty blonde bangs covered the angry welt. “I am who I am.”
She shoved Santa in the linen closet between two monogrammed towels, and found her shoes by the tub.
Where can readers find you online?
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