The work of author Nicola Sinclair is a showcase for the sweeping grandeur, intrigue and romanticism of Australia, Sinclair’s homeland. Each of the three books in her Peter’s Junction series — Secret, Promise, and Redemption — are not only fascinating portraits of flawed characters who find solace in one another, but also glimpses into day-to-day life in the country that Sinclair loves so dearly.
Sinclair’s most recent novel, Redemption, tells the story of Paul Blakely, a man intent on spending the rest of his life alone and miserable as atonement for his past actions. But when he crosses paths with Stacey, whose goal is to make others happy, Paul finds himself slowly shedding his prickly facade. But in the process, Stacey learns that she has to confront her own insecurities in order for her to find happiness with Paul.
A wife and mother of four, Sinclair lives in a small rural town on the outskirts of Adelaide, South Australia. To learn more about her and her writing, visit nicola-sinclair.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Why do you write?
I’ve been a daydreamer all my life and have spent countless hours imagining stories in my head until I have the details so perfect it is often difficult for me to accept that it is all in my imagination, and that the events and scenarios I’ve constructed aren’t actually real. Writing is merely an extension of this. By putting words on the page I have an outlet where all my imaginings can be recorded so that I am free to share them with others, but also so that I don’t forget stories that have become important to me.
Who have been your biggest creative influences?
I read widely across all genres and I think this has greatly influenced my writing. However, since I write specifically in romance, I would say that the way Susan Elizabeth Phillips is able to throw humour into her romances has been very influential, as has Rachel Gibson, Rachel Herron and Rachel Johns (it seem I like female authors named Rachel!).
What inspired the story of the Peter’s Junction series?
The Peters Junction series started out as a single book with no intention of ever having a follow on. The first book, Secret, is the story of April, a reclusive author and Lachlan, a Hollywood actor, and they had to overcome some pretty large obstacles in order to find their happily-ever-after. Secret wasn’t inspired by any one thing, but a number of little things occurred that sort of came together to influence the story. April’s backstory came about because I watched a missing persons show on TV and the detective made some comment about how in the majority of cases, the person goes missing on their own and that it is their right to stay missing if that is their choice and they’re not doing anything illegal. It got me thinking, “What would make a person want to give up everything they know and just disappear?” As for Lachlan, there were a couple of Hollywood breakups in the papers that made me want to write a character who’d experienced one and who’d become jaded by the whole fame thing, but was too in love with his work to give it up. In the end, Secret was just the story I had to tell, it was rattling around in my head and I needed to get it out so I could sleep.
From that one story, the concept for Promise emerged because the main characters, Ben and Marie, had their own ideas about getting together even though I had no real intention of writing the chemistry between them. It just sort of appeared. However, since Marie was so young in Promise, I had to give an explanation of the time they spent apart before they could get into a relationship, which was enough to build the plot around.
The most recent Peters Junction addition, however, was never planned in any way, shape or form. Rather, my number one fan and the first person to read every story I write, Maresa, actually asked me to write Paul’s story. I was reluctant at first; he was the bad guy in book two so why would I give him a happily-ever-after? But the seed was planted and it didn’t take long before I was consumed with so many ideas I just had to write them down.
How much are your characters influenced by people you know in real life?
The short answer is… they’re not! I don’t write about people I know. I do, however, take inspiration from the people around me, and total strangers, to give unique characteristics to my characters. For instance, I know a few men who are constantly running their hands through their hair when they’re stressed and it is a movement I associate with stress, so I have given the same characteristic to a male character I am currently writing who finds himself consumed by stress.
What was the most difficult aspect of taking Paul Blakely, the villain from your second book, and transforming him into a likeable character in Redemption?
Basically, I needed the reader to empathise with Paul and to do this he had to have a reason for his actions, and these reasons needed to be understandable even if his actions weren’t the appropriate response. Also, by setting the scene with him being consumed by guilt, it showed that he recognised his mistakes and that he was willing to work on them, people are much more likely to forgive someone who shows genuine remorse than someone who arrogantly justifies their actions without regard to how others perceive them.
How have you grown as a writer since you were first starting out?
I’ve become much more confident, that’s for sure. With my first two books, I just wanted to get the story out, get it finished. By the time I wrote Redemption, I began exploring how to inject humour into my work and how to take a slightly different approach to the plot so that the story was more about an internal journey than a reactionary plot based on external obstacles.
What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
I don’t know if I want to answer this, I read so many good books. However, I recently read a male-male romance Loving Jay by Renae Kaye and absolutely loved it. Also, I am thoroughly enjoying The Others series by Anne Bishop and can’t wait for the next installment.
If you could jump back to any point in your life and do one thing differently, where would you go and what would you change?
I don’t think I would actually change anything. I am the sum of my experiences and even though I’ve experienced some significant hardships in my life, I am who I am because I went through all that. I don’t have any major regrets and I like where I am in my life now. My children are healthy, I have a solid relationship with my husband, what more could I ask for?
What are you working on next?
I’ve just started a new series called Stonebridge, and Cosmic Glitch is the first book. Stonebrige Hotel is an iconic hotel set in the heart of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast of Australia. It is owned by the six Hawthorn siblings and the series will describe each of their journeys to love.
The first book, Cosmic Glitch, is a story about perceptions, misconceptions and seeing what’s right in front of you. Jessie, the eldest Hawthorn sister, is recovering from an injury that ended her ballet career. She’s trying to find new meaning in her life by heading up the Stonebridge Foundation, a charity run by the family. Her older brother’s best friend, Shane Taylor, has always been in her life, but she’s never noticed him before. Then everything changes and suddenly he’s all she can see.
Shane has always been in love with Jessie, but, rather than jeopardise his relationship with Jessie’s brother, Derek, he decides not to pursue her. That is until the day that Jessie finally sees him.
As the two of them navigate their way towards a relationship, Jessie continues in her recovery. When she sees a chance to revive her ballet aspirations, she is faced with a difficult choice. Follow her childhood dreams, or embrace her new life with the man she loves.