Thursday, April 16, 2015

Interview with Rayanne Sinclair

Rayanne Sinclair has done it again! Her third novel is well crafted and inspirational. Page Turner came to market earlier than planned due to Rayanne's “semi-retirement” last August. Though she continues with consulting assignments, she appreciates the extra time to write and she has started her fourth book. The four books will be available as a boxed set for the Christmas holiday.

Rayanne Sinclair

What was the inspiration for this book?

I must admit that my stories are “given” to me – from beginning to end.  As you know, I’ve not spent a lifetime dreaming about becoming an author – and certainly not an author of fiction.  I often don’t see the purpose behind these stories until they are completed in first draft. That can be frustrating, but I actually think it forces me to simply trust that the Lord has some intention with the books that I may never know or understand this side of heaven.

As with all my novels (genre: new adult inspirational romance), I’m trying to project role models for today’s young women in my female leads. They are young but they are also clear about who they are, what they want, and what they stand for. I seek to display them as strong and feminine. I also want strong male characters because all too often the romance genre creates paper doll images of men. They are predictable and one-dimensional when they need to be authentic. Finally, my main inspiration for these books is to lift up traditional and covenantal marriage – a theme of “biblical” proportion.

As for Page Turner specifically, I find the greatest inspiration in the statement made by the Methodist pastor when he observes: The pastor then marveled aloud that a Jew could more readily come to Christ than a man raised in the church. “We just don’t know the plans and timing of God, yet we must trust him wholly. For in the end, he only and always does what is just and right.”

Many relationships are presented in this novel. There are father-son relationships: Pastor and his son; Page's father and his son.  In the first case, religious commitment comes between the father and the son, and in the second case, their relationship seems to be stronger because of their faith commitment. Any comments?

As you know, the genre is almost always written from the female POV, but these father/son relationships end up adding texture to the story.

There are mother-daughter relationships: Page and her mother have a good relationship. Page seeks her advice and trusts her.  Any comments about this?

Though it’s clear that Page has been raised with plenty of father-love from which she derives her confidence and drive, it’s also clear that she takes most of her “messages” from her mom. And Mrs. Holden is full of Godly wisdom as she draws Page to the right conclusions without being preachy. 

There are mother–son relationships: Gavi’s mother and her son are estranged and Gavi’s decision to be with Page makes the estrangement worse.  The reader senses that the estrangement extended to the deceased father also, someone who was too harsh with his son.

The reader should have no doubts that Gavi was driven hard by demanding parents who may have been seeking a “prize” rather than a relationship in their son. Despite that, it’s also clear that Gavi tries hard to be a good son to his mother. It was also important to the story line that he be uncompromising about leaving and cleaving – i.e., his declaration of love and intent to marry Page.  Gavi’s heart is changed by Christ such that he ultimately chooses to leave behind the bitterness that his parents (especially mother) held onto.

Religious commitment plays a role in all these relationships. Can you speak about this?

The faith commitment of the first character one meets on the first page in all my books (Anne in Steal Away, Kat in Beso Dulce, and Page in Page Turner) lays down the marker for what will be fundamental in all her choices/decisions. They all take what some might consider to be “risks in relationship,” but they are guided by a faith that God will confirm for them what is right.

At the end of the novel, you pull together many threads by posing the story of widows: Page’s mother and Page herself. If we add in the account of Gavi’s mother, we have a story about three widows. I was reminded of the book of Ruth, which is about three widows facing life decisions. Two decide to follow move on, following their faith. Page’s mother begins a late in life career. Page moves from being a small town girl to a world traveling pianist. Gavi’ mother resists change and decides to “stay in Moab.” Did you have the story of Ruth in mind?

No, but I’m glad you saw that story there!

This novel has an important message for young women who are hoping to find their life partner.

Exactly. That message should be “know who you are in Christ first – and be ready (prepared/decided in advance) to give an answer for the hope that lies within you when that’s tested.” In other words, don’t compromise or settle.

Your experiences of the Vietnam era and Ohio State University lend strong background to this novel. Any thoughts about why you chose this time and setting?

I enjoyed my college years at OSU, but also wanted to frame the female lead in small-town America. I also prefer to write about places I have seen/visited.  Lastly, I love college football! It seemed like a perfect match. (You’ll note on the acknowledgements page that I give a hat tip to the OSU Buckeyes football national championship victory. I wrote that acknowledgement before the game took place because I had a clear sense that despite – or perhaps because of – their challenges this past season, I knew they would prevail.)

As for Page’s brother and his service and ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam, I felt it was simply something that could not be ignored when writing in this era. With more than 50K troops lost over such a long period of time, it had to be memorialized.

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