Thursday, June 27, 2013


Christal Rice Cooper – 1,519 Words


Romance novelist Kira Sinclair was always a lover of romance- she’d been reading Harlequin Presents since she was thirteen.  Her favorite memories of her teenage years are going with her girlfriends to used bookstores where she would spend her allowance money on romance novels.
            “That was my extent of romance writing – being the romance book reader.  My sister was going to be the writer because she got something published in the newspaper when she was eight years old.  Now I am the writer and my sister is an engineer.”

            Her first experience of writing a romance was when her high school English instructor assigned the students to small groups and each group had to come up with their own short story.
            Other groups chose stories on gun control or world peace.  I convinced the group to write a romance.”
            And write a romance they did – about a heroine who meets her hero in Scotland.  She was chosen by her group to read the story to the entire class.  Even though there were no passionate scenes like the scenes she now writes for Harlequin Blaze; she turned different shades of red as she read the story out loud.     

            She thought that was as public as she would ever go to expressing her love of romance.  Sinclair had other dreams – that of pursuing career in the arts.  She’d always been involved in the arts – dancing, performing, acting  - and her plans were to take advantage of a full theater scholarship and major in theater.
            Then real love and romance took over when she met her husband, a pharmacist chemist, and the two married and she they had their first daughter, Sweet Pea, who is now 12. 

            When she had finally adapted to having a new baby, a new hectic schedule, she was able to take a few minutes to breath – and found herself facing a new dilemma:  she had no outlet for her need of artistic expression.   Being a stay-at-home Mom did not allow her to try out for the next play, or to perform in a dance recital.  She had to find anther art form to immerse herself in that would allow her to still be the stay-at-home she wanted to be.

Finally, when her daughter was a toddler, she lay in her bed with laptop in lap; pillows propped up behind her back, and wrote her first novel.  The novel was so bad she still doesn’t remember the details.   At the time, she thought it had possibilities and submitted it to publishers, receiving rejections, some with constructive comments.  She entered the novel in numerous contests, and placed in one 1st, two 2nd, and one 3rd place finishes. 

“I might not have gained a contract from these contests entries and my first book will stay on my hard drive where it belongs, but writing it was the first step I needed to take in order to become the writer I am today.  I did gain knowledge.  I received feedback from three different editors on the problems and strengths of the story.”
Another positive discovery she made was her local Romance Writer Association chapter, Heart Of Dixie, which gave her great encouragement and constructive criticism on how to become a better writer.  Her fellow writers were also not of the typical world of dog eats dog. 

“There’s room for every writer to succeed and the writers care about you and want your book to succeed.  Publishing is not a zero sum game.  There’s room for everyone’s book to succeed.”
Through the group she was able to attend workshops on how to write, how to writer query letters and synopsis.  She admits she has difficulty with plot, but she’s learning and the more she learns the more she become a better writer.  RWA also helps her have the tools she needs to get into the business.

“In this business you have to have a thick skin.  You have to be able to listen to criticism and take it seriously.”

It was at one workshop that changed her from being a want-to-be published romance novelist – to a published one.  She had a conference meeting where she threw her own pitch to an editor.  The editor liked Sinclair’s idea but couldn’t use it because a book centered on the same idea had recently been published.  She gave Sinclair an opportunity to give her another pitch. 

So Sinclair gave her a pitch – about a young woman who endures a date rape at the age of 21, and, five years later, she still endures Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the inability to have sex.  One late night she and her best friend are listening to a radio show hosted by relationship expert Dr. Desire.  She calls in and sparks begin to fly.

 “She loved the idea and I hadn’t written a single word, so I went home and immediately began writing the book.”
Finally, after numerous revisions, correspondence with her editor, the book was complete and the editor bought the book on June 5, 2007. 
The book WHISPERS IN THE DARK was released in July of 2008 and Sinclair was officially a romance novelist for Harlequin Blaze.

Sinclair lives in Decatur, Alabama out in the country with her two daughters, who she identifies to her readers and the public only as Sweet Pea, 12, and Baby Girl, 9, and her black cat Shadow.  Her husband is a pharmaceutical chemist with a dream of being a farmer.  The family of four live twenty minutes from town, in a farmhouse out in the country.   Her view from her office of her bed is Sweet Pea’s bedroom, and a window enabling her to look out into her property –the barn, with the woods at its base.   She writes for two hours in her bed, and when she is in need of inspiration she’ll take a walk in the woods, to the creek that runs through her property; but normally she finds her inspiration in the living room.

“I can be watching a program of any kind, a sitcom, a documentary and I ask myself, “What would a person that is going through this certain crisis be like as an adult?”  
In THE RISK TAKER – the first scene of the book takes place in the backwoods fighting ring– she asked herself,  “Why would a man want to submit himself to that kind of fighting, to forget a part of his life?”  And then she thought of the military soldier becoming a prisoner of war, and POW Gage Harper was born.

In fact, the romance writer believes in happily ever after, and romance sparks flying, but she likes to add authenticity to her romances and show that people who go through traumas such as child abuse, PSTD, Rape, or other issues – that, they too can find romance.
            “In the end they may not get married – but I like my couples, in the end, to show that they do love each other, and that they will stay together – and if that doesn’t include marriage that’s fine.  They love each other, they’ll fight for that love, and that’s what matters.”
Sinclair is occasionally asked to conduct workshops herself and even writes articles about certain aspects of romance writing, but even now, after having published thirteen books, she still attends workshops and conferences.

“I’m constantly learning and hopefully through each book, this new learning will show.”  
There are three must-haves in order for her to write:  flavored water, sweet snacks (Reese’s Cup eggs, Jellybeans, Twizzlers), and earphones on listening to hard rock music (Imagine Dragons and Maroon 5.)  
“I have different playlists for different scenes, characters, stories and moods,” she writes in her website.
It takes her about four to six weeks to write the first draft of a book, but that doesn’t include revisions, line edits, and copy edits, which can be a lengthy process. 
“The books you see now have been purchased by Harlequin at least 13 to 18 months prior.  Right now the books being purchased are the new trend – but by the time they are published over a year later, another trend begins.”

Sinclair is thrilled to be with Harlequin – and states they care about the art form of writing and what the writer is trying to convey, and that transfers to the book cover.
“They have a great art department.  They make the final decision of the book cover, but they ask me what I think and I give them my input and they take that into consideration.”

Thus far Sinclair’s favorite book cover is THE RISK TAKER, which she ordered a life-sized poster.
Her book THE DEVIL SHE KNOWS, the third book in her Sweetheart, South Carolina series, will be released in September 2013 with Willow finally having her own story. 

In December 2014 Sinclair, Vicki Lewis Thompson, and Rhonda Nelson will have their anthology for Harlequin Nocturne released by the title JINGLE BELLS, which Sinclair described as “Funny, sexy and oh so magical.”

For more information visit Sinclair at her website, email her at, or write to her at PO Box 5083
Decatur, AL 35601.

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