Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Interview & giveaway with Rebecca Sinclair


Here at Strange Candy reviews, I was lucky enough to interview Rebecca Sinclair. Rebecca is the author of 13 romance books. I have been lucky enough to be sent a review copy of Montana Wildfire, which has been released as an ebook.

Welcome to Strange Candy Reviews, Rebecca. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions.
Hi and thank you for asking me, it's great to be here! :)
For readers who haven’t heard of you, can you give us a quick overview of your books?
Sure. I've written 13 historical romances of the hot, sexy, steamy variety. Some are set in the 19th century American West, some in the 16th century on the turbulent Scotland/England border. I know that sounds strange, the two time periods/settings being so dissimilar in just about every way, but I thrive on the variety.
Have you ever had to do any kind of research for your books?
Tons! I do an abundant amount of research for each and every book. Only by thoroughly and immersing myself in whatever time period/setting I'm writing in do I feel I can do the same for my reader. It is my job to make my reader, say, feel the crisp, dry paper crackling beneath his fingertips, smell the layers of dust and disuse in the air. The only way I can only do that sometimes is if I know what these things feel and smell like myself, and for many things, the way I find out is research. Going to libraries, museums, taking house tours or traveling and visiting scenic areas. Often times we plan vacations around places I need to research for my current book. Or I plan my books around upcoming research/vacation trips.
Lately it seems urban fantasy/paranormal romance books have taken over. Why do think that is and would you ever consider writing one?
They really have. Isn't it great? Speaking in terms of romances, I think that in a good paranormal it is exactly those paranormal elements that bring a sense of the unearthly and magical and impossible to life in the reader's mind, providing a light of deep escapism in the otherwise dark and dreary tunnel of day-to-day existence. And is it any wonder? With the current wars, gas prices topping $3.00/gal, and the American economy tanking, a deeper form of escapism in the shape of some good, and solid paranormal/fantasy you can really sink your teeth into seems like just what the doctor ordered. Who couldn't use a dose of that right about now?
As for your second question, I did. I wrote two. The first is a sexy historical romance time-travel (I consider time-travel to be only the fringe of paranormal, btw.) The manuscript is on my agent's desk. I'm also proud to have completed my first contemporary YA (much more paranormal in nature), which, of course, is sitting right next to my time-travel on my agent's desk. Both are as yet untitled.
I really enjoyed Jacob & Amanda’s characters from Montana Wildfire. In your opinion what makes for great lead males and females? 
Thank you for saying so, that means a lot to me! :) For lead characters I am drawn to three qualities: strength, humor and flaws. Strength is a character's storyteller, it speaks in word or deed where the character has been, how much the character can endure and where their breaking point is. Humor is intrinsic to every human being at birth, real or fictional—so if a character has entirely lost his sense of humor, I guarantee there's an intriguing story there. It is flaws, I think, that really define a lead character for me. Flaws intensify every aspect of a character; their speech patterns, mannerisms, how they react to things, how they think. Flaws can affect something as simple as preparing a meal. In one book, I had a heroine who had been burned in a house fire and who, even years later, was still tormented by the event. Imagine her cooking around an open campfire! That this character was an excellent cook—very calm, very precise, and fearless around the flames--spoke volumes about her.
What, for you, determines a characters personality? Are they ever inspired by people you know or meet?
Using “real” people could potentially cause too many legal headaches. Besides, it's much more fun to steal an interesting quirk in someone' real's personality and imbue it in one of my fictional characters. It could be a main flaw, a hidden weakness, or—you decide! What really matters is how the character I create slowly grows around the borrowed trait. Or despite it. That growth is part of their own personal journey through the book.
There are several things that determine a character's personality for me. The book's time period/setting, plot, theme, tone, etc. are very important. Also, in a romance, I need to know and gauge the personality (and wants, needs, and secret desires) of their perspective mate. That adds into the equation. I believe in HEA, so I know at the end of the book these two people are going to fall in love and end up together. Forever. Forever's a long time, so their personalities damn well better be compatible in more ways than just really great sex!
Who or what inspires your writing and why? Is there a certain type of music you listen to when writing?
Music inspires my writing, definitely. I really can't specify what type of music because it varies depending on the book I'm writing. They're like your own kids; they're all different. Visuals, OTOH, now they really inspire me. I have two cork boards hung near my work computer , eye level to where I sit so I can see them at all times. On them I have pictures of people—lots and lots of pictures! I don't know about you, but I'm the sort to embarrass hubby by snipping pic out of magazines in the doctor's office. I'll print out one I like from the Internet. Anywhere I spy a picture that speaks to me, and I think I can get away with it, I snag the pic and sneak it home. I'm not particular. These pictures can vary widely in content. Some are the expected glam shots of the hottest new celebrities (male, female, old, young, a historic figure, someone contemporary in the news), while others are the ads for the latest-greatest perfumes or sports coats. So long as the picture pushes my emotional buttons and somehow wordlessly conveys the feel, deep at the bottom of my stomach, for the book I'm working on. Each book has its own cork board. The pictures aren't recyclable.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That there was really a town called Pony in Montana in 1878. Pony! Who’ve thought it! I'd pulled the name out of a hat with every intention of making the town up. No one was more surprised than me to find an actual town on the map with that same name, located in approximately the same place I'd decided, pre-research, to set down my Pony. It was back to the research books for me—if there was a real town named Pony, I was going to use it, so I'd better know about all about it. For another book, I found out the number of people who actually died on the Overland Trail crossing their way to the California gold mines (or to “see the elephant”, as some called it); the total was heartbreaking because it was so high. I can honestly say, for each book I've written, I've learned at least one exciting new something.
Do you still get excited when your novels are accepted for publishing?
Every. Single. Time. :) Honestly, I'm crazy. I'm like a small child on her birthday that got the gift she secretly wanted but wasn't expecting: excited, emotional, deliriously happy … and at the same time scared so bad my knees shake when it really dawns on me there people other than myself and a select few reading my book.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I wasn't sure about this, so I asked hubby to help me out. After refusing to print his first response, here's his second. “She likes to listen to weird music over and over again, constantly, constantly, on repeat, so much that everyone in the house is sick of it to the point where we beg her to please, please, wear your headphones. The Sarah Brightman Incident comes to mind. Ahem.” My reaction? Humph!
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love spending time with my family. I also love the Internet. A lot. Keep in mind I've been online since the '80s. I cut my teeth on the big three: AOL, GEnie, and CompuServe. Modern day social networking sites like G+, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, which a lot of writers think are time-sinks, I enjoy. Depending on what you use them for, those sites can be a smart way to keep your mind limber and your writing sharp when taking a break.
Growing up did you always know you were going to be a writer and did you have favorite genre you liked to read/write about? 
No. Growing up I always wrote, but I never thought I could be an actual get-paid-to-do-it writer. Things like that happened to other people, and I was fine with that. Then, in my early 20s, after a series of personal tragedies, as I was writing through my feelings one day, a light bulb turned on. I suddenly realized there was absolutely no valid reason I couldn't be a real writer. The only thing holding me back was me. I knuckled down and wrote specifically for publication from then on, and I haven't looked back since.
I don't really have a favorite genre. I strongly favor historical, but also enjoy paranormal. I favor romances, but also enjoy classics (Dickens is a favorite). I favor Young Adult, but I also an occasional have been known to pick up a Sci-Fi. Basically, I'll read anything. If I'm stuck in the car while hubby pumps gas, I'll soak up the car's owner's manual; in the grocery store in the long checkout line, I'll scan the nutritional value of a can of beans, or evaluate the unpronounceable ingredients in a Snickers Bar. Also, I'm very much a product of my generation. While I can entertain myself endlessly by mentally juggling characters and plots for my books, outside of that I get bored easily. When I am writing a book, however, hubby tells me I often stare off into space for so long he wonders sometimes if I'm in need of medical attention. In reality I'm holding an imaginary casting call for characters, or letting dialogue trickle like fish in a stream, or untying an unexpected plot twist. In the end, though, whether it's what someone else has written for me or what I have written for someone else, it all boils down to two things: My incessant fascination with words, and, as in the case of this interview, my blatant disregard for word count. <Wince>
Again, thank you for having me! Your readers are invited to stop by my new Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/RebeccaSinclairBooks) and say hello, “like” me if they don't mind, and just get a general feel for the layout Heather Powers so skillfully set up for me. In the very near future I'll be running contests, giving away free books (traditional and e-pubbed), and doing all those things authors do … so stop back often! :)

Leave a comment with your email to win a book! Giveaway is international and ends 8/10.

7 comments:

  1. Great interview! I especially liked Rebecca's response to the question about research. I've been doing a lot of reading for my work-in-progress, and I love the idea of using vacations as research opportunities.

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  2. Great interview! Having just finished a workshop on historical fiction writing, I am hoping to plan a vacation/research trip in the future myself.

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  3. Thank you for the lovely interview and sharing today. I hoped over from goodreads to check out the fun and have signed up to follow :)

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  4. Thanks for a lovely post and giveaway! I'm always looking for new authors and this one is definitely going on my wishlist! Have a wonderful day!

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  5. Loved this review and the giveaway is truly a great one.

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