SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH MICHELE SINCLAIR
Michele Sinclair is a popular, multi-award winning author of numerous historical romances. She is best known for her sexy Scottish heroes! Recently, she has started writing a new Regency romance series called the Promises Trilogy. It features three daring, independent women that fans are sure to fall in love with. The second in her series, A Woman Made for Sin, is coming out this August.
I couldn't wait to ask her about her new series and what else she has in store for her readers
Here is what she said.
1) How did you get started writing romance?
Michele Sinclair: On a dare, actually. I used to read ~2 books a week since I was 9. Someone asked me if I enjoyed one that I had just finished and I said that I could probably write one in my sleep. They said I should and I looked at them and replied, “You know… I bet I could…” But what about? I read mostly science fiction believe it or not, but despite my boast, I found it very difficult to write that genre with my lack of science background, but by then the writing bug had bitten me. During an historical movie, I quipped about how they got the ending wrong and then verbally rewrote it. It was then it hit me. I love history almost as much as science fiction. I guess it is that longing for a different time and place. Soon afterwards, the McTiernay brothers came to me along with their stories they wanted me to tell. Not just about them finding love, but what happens to them after they get married, their families and all the people in their lives.
2) What makes historical romance so special to you? Who are your favorite authors in the historical romance field?
Michele Sinclair: Gulp – I rarely read historical fiction anymore. Probably a little paranoid about repeating someone else’s idea, but I’m mostly reluctant because there are so many good writers that I inevitably compare myself to them and get a little bit nervous about the quality of my own work. My style is somewhat different than many out there who are successful in this genre, so I start to have self-doubt. Also, the reading genre I gravitate to is hard core science fiction or histories. That being said, at times I would go through historical romance phases and it would usually be one of the well-known authors. Lavryle Spencer (loved “Years”), Amanda Quick, Diana Galbadon, and so many others. I remember loving Patricia Pellicane, Catherine Hart and Lauren Wilde from the early 90s. But probably the one that influenced my love to actually write Highland books is Julie Garwood. I could read her books over and over and it is that kind of story—the ones I want to reread—I hope to create for my readers.
3) Is there a big difference between writing Regency characters versus Scottish characters? Is it difficult to switch between genres?
Michele Sinclair: Not so much a difference in writing the characters, but definitely in the genres. Characters tell me their story and I write it down. It’s like a movie in my head that I am trying to capture. It can be challenging switching genres due to the research/history. In an effort to accurately capture surroundings, smells, customs, songs, clothing, habits, mannerisms, etc., I need to mentally be engrossed in the time period and medieval Scotland and Regency are very different. Also, to write Regency these days you almost need a PhD in the period. Regency readers usually have a deep knowledge of the time period. Regardless, a LOT of research has to take place for each book! I think for me the most difficult is not switching characters or genres…but switching series. I remember the overall storyline clearly as well as the characters, but it’s the little things, like biting lip habits, phrases a character uses, etc. that can get lost—especially now that there are multiple books in the series and many of the characters are in more than one book. Each time I switch series, I have to brush up on everyone…because as many of my readers know, even the most innocuous character has their own story, background and personality. JR Rowling mentioned in an interview a while back that she mapped out the background of all her characters, though most of the information never reached her books. I have mimicked this approach. For example, readers learn tidbits of the interesting, but elusive Madame Sasha in my Regency series, but her full story is still unknown to the reader. But I have mapped out her life, how she grew up in Russian nobility, why she was forced to leave, how she found and lost love, etc. Maybe someday Millie will find her diary…
4) Why did you decide to write your new Promises series? How do all the books connect?
Michele Sinclair: This story actually came to me as I wrote my first Highlander book “The Highlander’s Bride.” I was watching Pride and Prejudice (one of my favorites—yes the one with Colin Firth ) and some of my close girlfriends and I were chatting about the ongoings of our lives. I thought women, their friendship, and how we interact with each other is probably one of life’s constants. So the series focuses on the friendship of three women—the kind that cannot be weakened or destroyed by distance, time, marriages, children, etc. I wanted to explore the bonds we share with our very close girlfriends and how that plays into our love lives.
The second thing I really wanted to do from the very beginning was write THIS book, A Woman Made for Sin. I wanted to write a sequel about what happens after two people who are madly in love and complete opposites actually make it work. Too often in romance books (and movies!!) the couples are married in the end and we don’t get to see how it all turns out. I love movies where during the credits pictures of a happy future are shown. It completes the story in a way for me. So A Woman Made for Sin is just as much about Millie and Charles’s continued love story as it is about Aimee’s. It is because of this idea that most of my books are comprised of two parts—getting the couple together and then exploring what happens afterwards. I also bring in past couples as part of the story so that you get an idea of their continued love story. Plus, I love epilogues. I consider them the equivalent of pictures during the movie credits.
5) This year you have A Woman Made for Sin coming out. What makes your characters so special? Can you tell us a little about them...please!
Michele Sinclair: I don’t know if I’m really qualified to answer! And it probably differs for each person. But I can tell you the characters I am hoping to give my readers. I want them to be multi-dimensional in that there are so many aspects of what drives us humans to think, act and react like we do. It is our past, our present, our friends, our highs and our lows. So I include a significant number of rich secondary characters, helping to create a world for the reader to immerse themselves. As such, these secondary characters show up in several books, enriching the story as their own background is revealed more and more. In Sin, readers will want to know even more about a couple of significant secondary characters and I will tell you now that YES…Devlin has a story I plan to write.
For my main characters, I want them to be likable and relatable. I like my men loyal and strong, not just physically, but also reliable and dependable—someone you can reach out to and count on to be there. I want my women to be strong in spirit, intelligent, little feisty and independent. By independent, I mean that they don’t need a man in their life, they want one. I hope my characters are relatable, even though they are in an historical setting. The mistakes they make are things that we can see ourselves doing (or our spouses). The situations they overcome are things we are challenged with today, whether it be PTSD, miscarriage, physical abuse, figuring out who we want to be, the effects of pride, the power of faith, how to let go of the life planned in order to embrace the future, or as in this latest book—the necessity of acceptance and compromise.
Last, I think what makes the characters special in my latest book in particular is that they grow. On the surface, they are like so many romance figures. Stubborn man, bold somewhat rebellious women, determination, witty, etc. They also have flaws that are not so unusual, but it’s how they recognize those flaws and then stumble their way to addressing them that perhaps (at least I hope) is a little special. No quick fixes because in life when we truly believe we are right…it takes us a little while to figure out how to give without feeling like we just capitulated to appease another at the expense of our own happiness. Compromise in itself is not a hard, but sometimes the willingness to compromise is. How does one decide to change themselves to make things work? To what degree? And when is it too much? Millie explores the idea of learning to compromise while Aimee, who has desired Reese since she was a young girl, discovers that despite her willingness to change, give up and make sacrifices to capture her man…that there are just some things not worth compromising. To me, it is the journey that makes these characters so likeable and relatable.
6) Your McTiernay series is such a fan favorite. Can you tell us what inspired you to write your McTiernay series? Do you have a favorite brother?! Will the series end when the last brother gets hitched? Or do you have something else planned for readers?!
Michele Sinclair: Oh boy…do you have like pages and pages for me to answer? Inspiration was probably that I just love the time period and I wanted to write about a family. I chose a large number because as an unestablished writer I did not know how many books it would take to get any kind of fan base. I thought “shoot for a big number!” Then when I sat to write them out, they just came to me and when I was done sketching the family tree, it turned out there were seven brothers.
Favorite brother…Hmmm. I really like them all. I love Conor as the patriarch. He is kind, decisive and passionate. I love that Laurel is both frustrating and a mystery to him even after being married for years. I can relate to Crevan in that it was a long time before I sat back and went, “Wait—what is it that I want to do with my life?” Conan makes me chuckle and I know a few people like him, in that it takes effort to crack that arrogant shell, but deep down, they are fantastic people who would do absolutely anything for friends and those they love. Craig is interesting and the back cover of Book 5 is misleading as it is really about two best friends who don’t know whether it is worth the risk to their friendship to become lovers. I like Craig because he treasures his friendship with Meriel so much that he doesn’t want to put it in jeopardy. Ah the things Meriel must do to convince him otherwise…I’m writing Hamish’s story now and it might just be my favorite to date as overall stories go, but my favorite character is probably Cole from book 3. Such a mixture of strength and vulnerability. He does not show it, but it hovers underneath the surface. He never really says it aloud, but Ellenor’s faith in him is his true strength.
7) Why do you think so many romance readers are captured by books set in the Highland? Do you think the kilts play a big part?!
Michele Sinclair: Hmmm. The setting cannot be beat. Having visited the Highlands with plans to return, it is just unbelievably gorgeous. Also when we think of Highlanders, we think of big strong men. Men who know who they are and can/willing to tackle all that life dishes at them. Highlanders in many ways are the epitome of a "man’s man”—now mix in a dash vulnerability and a woman that can shake their well-ordered world…well, now you got a beginnings of a whisk-me-away Scottish romance story.
As far as kilts? They MUST play a part because it is SO historically inaccurate and so many of us Highland romance authors use them anyway! The tartan and kilts we think of today really did not exist until the 16th century. What men really wore in this time period was a voluminous shirt worn with a leather belt. When it got cold, they wore a brat or a plaid—a long piece of cloth (usually grey or brown), pinned as a cloak. Most went barelegged and barefoot, for shoes were a lot like sandals with leather (e.g., deerskin) laced on. I could go on, but as a writer you make decisions. For example, do I write with a brogue accent? I decided no because of the style of my dialogue, which I happily admit to having a more modern flair than other historical writers. For me, it makes the ideas I’m writing about in my novels easier to read. Another decision was that of kilts and the level of historical accuracy. I really do not like anachronisms in general, but I admit the dress code is one of a handful of items where I intentionally crossed the line. A man running around in a loose, mustard-color shirt, with a rough beard and scraggly, unkempt hair is just not sexy to me. And since I cannot imagine going barefoot in the mountains, let alone winter…most of my women tend to wear shoes and prefer the Lowland style of dress, wearing bliauts, chemises, etc. It is somewhat plausible they adopt this style as they are more wealthy and live in castles. But in truth, mostly I dress my characters the way I do because it makes for a better visual.
8) What do you enjoy most about writing those sexy Scottish heroes?
Michele Sinclair: Simply put? That they are really strong, capable men who are secretly vulnerable. In many cases, they don’t realize it. It amazes every last one of them just how a woman could burrow so deeply into their hearts, making them whole when they had no idea until they found their true love, just how incomplete they were. That they can provide strength to the women they love not through physical power and might (though that IS nice), but through faith, belief and sincere friendship. Isn’t that what we all want? Someone who loves us without doubt, believes in us and is our best friend?
9) I really enjoyed your paranormal novella in Highland Hunger. Do you plan to write more vampire romances or even a shifter romance set in Scotland?!
Michele Sinclair: Dorian is sooo sexy. For those that do not know the story, it really focuses less on the vampire aspect and more on the idea of can immortals and mortals share a true, love when almost everything they see and do is done from radically different perspectives. But in answer to your question, I do have the two other full-length books in that series outlined. The next is a prequel of the love story that lays the foundation of Moirae’s roots and just why she is so uniquely special. This book, I have pretty much outlined out. Aeolus’s journey, who thinks he knows what love is, but doesn’t have a clue, is the third story. All three novels are all linked as a part of a higher arc that I’m not willing divulge as there are some twists that I want to leave for the reader to discover.
10) Speaking of different genres, do you think you will ever write a contemporary romance or a time travel romance?
Michele Sinclair: Contemporary. Hmm. Never say never, but I probably have the plots for 50+ books at various stages from sketched out to fully outlined. Not one of them is a contemporary. Neither a character or story has come to me in today’s setting. Time travel on the other hand? Absolutely! But they are SOOO tricky. One of the things that really irks me is unresolved plot threads and timeline stories tend to have these in abundance. I can accept even the most outrageous of premises but then the writer has to be true to that premise. Anyway – I do have a really cool two-book story that I have actually started writing. It’s about the concept of in order to manipulate the makeup of the future, one sometimes needs to tweak the past. But what happens when someone makes a mistake? In this case, the only way to resolve it is to pull someone into the past and convince them to live a lie. It’s set in the Regency period. Someday I’ll finish it, but loving science fiction as much as I do I have read a LOT of time travel books. There’s OK, there’s bad, there’s those that just really gloss over the time travel thing, and then there are those that actually do it right. I want to write one that truly makes a reader think and not just give them a fun story about a hero and heroine from different times. But to do that takes time and a lot of research.
Thank you so much! I loved learning more about your books and getting the inside scoop. This has been a real treat!
Michele Sinclair: Thank YOU! I always enjoyed hearing from other authors about inspirations, processes, etc. and it is my pleasure to do so for others. Please reach out to my website www.michelesinclair.com. From there, you can email me, read more about my other books and get links to my Facebook page. Take care and thanks again for this opportunity to talk to your members!
Interviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
For Additional Information about Michele Sinclair check her out at:
Recent and Upcoming Romances by Michele Sinclair:
A Woman Made For Sin -Aug. 5, 2014
Three best friends are the most eligible ladies in London. But Lady Aimee Wentworth only has eyes for the handsome sailor who captured her heart long ago...Everything She Lost...Lady Aimee Wentworth has grown tired of Reece Hamilton avoiding her. Unable to shake her childhood vow to marry the dashing sailor, she devises a plan that she's certain will land her in his arms. But before she can act, she's captured by Reece's crew, and an ill-timed case of mistaken identity all but shatters her hopes of winning back his affections...Was Worth Everything She Gained. Born the untitled second son of a lord, Reece has resigned himself to the life of a sailor. Unable to provide the luxuries befitting a Lady, he insisted that Aimee seek the hand of a nobleman. But when he discovers her on board his ship he knows there is only one direction in which to set his sails - toward a destiny more adventurous - and more passionate - than either could have ever imagined...
Seducing the Highlander (The McTiernays) -June 4, 2013
Of the seven McTiernay brothers to protect their Scottish Highlands, Craig is most willing to place duty before love--until he's enchanted by the last woman he expects...
BOUND BY HONOR
Meriel Schellden knows that marrying Craig McTiernay will strengthen the ties between their clans. She insists she is motivated by duty and responsibility, nothing more. But when a mere formality becomes a kiss far from platonic, Meriel must question where her true intentions lie...
TEMPTED BY DESIRE
Though Meriel entices him far more than she realizes, Craig's commitments have always kept his passions restrained. But no sense of duty to his clan can make Craig forget the way Meriel's touch left him teased, tantalized, and desperate for more. Now as a surprising rival contends for Meriel's affections, there has never been a better time to listen to what his heart has desired all along...
Highland Hunger -Sept. 4, 2012
"Dark Embrace" by Hannah Howell. While searching for his clan's demon Lost Ones, Raibeart MacNachton encounters anethereal beauty running for her life - and discovers they share a powerful connection...
"The Guardian" by Michele Sinclair. The immortal Dorian vows never to fall in love with a mere human - until he meets the Beguiling, arousing Moirae Deincourt. And when her true nature is revealed, the lust tha trages between them can no longer be controlled...
"A Knight Beyond Black" by Jackie Ivie. Vampire Iain Duncan MacAvee has stepped forward to claim the woman he betrothed years ago - only to learn that Lady Tira knows nothing of the engagement. But the Duke's animal-like charisma unleashes a hunger within her...
A Woman Made for Pleasure -Aug. 7th, 2012
Known as the Daring Three, a trio of exquisite young women are taking London by storm. But if Lady Millie Aldon has her way, no man will win her hand in marriage--not even the one she loves...
A Passion for Adventure
Drawn to a life of excitement and risk, Lady Mille Aldon made a pact to forsake marriage. But her plans are thrown into chaos when Chase Wentworth returns to town. The lanky lad she remembers from childhood is now the Marquess of Chaselton, possessing an air of mystery Millie can't resist. As Chase moves through Lon's elite circles, his stealth manner has Millie convinced he harbors a secret--one she is determined to reveal...