Author Spotlight: Welcome Back, Sinclair Jayne Sawhney!
We have a winner! Congratulations, Cherie J, you are Sinclair’s giveaway winner! Sinclair will be in touch with you. Thanks for stopping by, everyone!!
Man, I love featuring my favorite authors on my blog and Sinclair Jayne Sawhney certainly comes in that category, plus, bonus! She’s also my editor at Tule Publishing and I adore her!
Sinclair Sawhney is a former journalist and middle school teacher who holds a BA in Political Science and K-8 teaching certificate from the University of California, Irvine and a MS in Education with an emphasis in teaching writing from the University of Washington. She has worked as Senior Editor with Tule Publishing for over seven years. Writing as Sinclair Jayne she’s published twenty-three short contemporary romances with Tule Publishing with the Misguided Masala Matchmaker books being released under her Sinclair Jayne Sawhney name. Married for over twenty-four years, she has two children, and when she isn’t writing or editing, she and her husband, Deepak, are hosting wine tastings of their pinot noir and pinot noir rose at their vineyard Roshni, which is a Hindi word for light-filled, located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
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Sinclair is here today to talk about closure…or maybe beginnings and her new novel, Stealing Mr. Right, which releases May 30. There’s a fun giveaway, too, so enjoy this time with Sinclair Jayne Sawhney!
Hey Friends of one of my favorite people and authors, Nan Reinhardt, of course.
She has been gracious enough to welcome me back once again to her blog, and I’ve been struggling all week to think about something I want to say. Sometimes I get so stuck in my head because there are so many tasks clamoring for my attention, that I freeze up, silently berating myself to just sit down and write something. Anything. When I was a teacher, I would often use pictures as a five-to-ten minute writing prompt just to uncork my students’ brains. Yes, the pun is intended because this morning, I knew I had to write something to send to the always gracious and patient Nan.
This is a partial view of Roshni Vineyard in Willamette Valley OR. I snapped the shot around 5:30 am to kickstart my brain and the conversation. We have some baby swallows in our eaves and the happy hums of the yum feedings from mom and dad had been amusing me for more than a few minutes as I told myself I needed to get up. Curious, I crept onto our bedroom deck to check out the breakfast brigade, and after getting scolded by mom and dad (twice, because he dropped his worm), I shuffled off to my office—first coffee in hand—to briefly talk about closure.
I prefer beginnings—the vast, perhaps infinite and unknowable swatch of possibilities rolling out before and around me. When I’m starting to write a book or launching a series, I’m buzzing with excitement and ideas and yeah, some anxiety, and yet it’s like an ocean wave I’m riding—colorful, teeming with energy and beauty and life. But as the book’s conclusion lurches into view, or in this case, the book and series, I feel itchy and caged and doused in sorrow and loneliness.
On May 30, my fourth and final book in my Misguided Masala Matchmaker series with Tule Publishing drops. It’s called Stealing Mr. Right. It’s Rani Kapoor’s love story, but it’s also her triumph of coming into her own, and yet in my usual burst of optimism, I thought it would be so easy to write book four because I KNEW Rani and her heart and chaotic mind. Rani is the youngest Kapoor sister, and she has featured prominently in all three books because she is the misguided matchmaker who with the best intentions, flails around breaking everything, and yet miraculously glues it all back together again in a way no one predicts, nor the way she intends. She does find her cousin Rohan and sisters, Shanti and Asha, their perfect love matches, but through mistakes and near-miss disasters.
But as I opened a new word document and started to write with my humorous premise in mind, I really had no idea who would be Rani’s Mr. Right. Rani has a child-like innocence and awe. She is quirky, loving, impulsive, brilliant, and unfiltered, she always seemed to me like a human version of a hummingbird. Colorful, but elusive. Who would fall for her? Why? And what man could she trust enough to stay when her life has been full of well-meaning (and not so kind), attempts to change and redirect her? Rani is the odd-ball in her uber-successful family, and has caused much gossip, side-eye, and censure over the years. And though she is clearly loved by her family, she feels she doesn’t measure up. But she never stops trying.
As I wrote, I had false start after false start, and even when I completed my first full draft—a hodge-podge of many drafts–the spark was missing. Rani felt like my child, and I was so invested in her journey and happiness, that I felt compelled to nail the story—even when I fantasized about throwing my computer off my back deck. Email exchanges with my editor, the brave and brilliant Kelly Hunter, along with a Zoom chat or two with her where we argued/discussed the theme of the book (always crucial for me) finally coalesced into a ginormous epiphany that had me shouting “IDENTITY” and then all but exiting the meeting without much more than a muttered ‘thank you, later Kelly, love always’ before I ditched most of the book and started all over again.
I rewrote and restructured the book once more, spending hours and hours each day for another two weeks, and when I re-read the book to polish it, I loved it so much I cried. I felt like I had finally created Mr. Right for Rani. She’s been my heroine who has been the hardest to release, and while many of the characters in my Misguided Masala Matchmaker series, which I wrote to explore the second generation of immigrants to the US, are loosely based on my extended family and friends Charlotte, North Carolina, Rani was my brainchild. I felt as protective of her and her journey and happiness, as I do about my own kids. But with this final draft, I also fell in love with my hero.
Just like Rani is searching for her identity, and to embrace who she is and banish some of her clamoring doubt, Jasminder Singh, too, is on an unacknowledged quest to figure out who he really is under his curated aloof and austere, high tech tycoon persona. Through an early tragedy he’s been alienated from his culture and has always felt other—a stranger to himself and to others.
Then during an Uber ride, he hears Rani’s musings on a podcast, and in what he thinks is a calculated business move, he reaches out for something, but like everything that is sucked into Rani Kapoor’s orbit, he discovers and holds onto so much more.
I often toy with themes of reinvention and redemption through transformation in my stories. I didn’t realize I was doing the same thing with this book—searching for identity—until I continued to harp to my editor that this story wasn’t about the meaning of love at all. I rarely disagree with Kelly, and when I stopped talking and wondering why I was so passionately convinced that in this one instance she was wrong, that I realized what I was trying to say. I hope you take a chance and read Rani and Jasminder’s journey and love story.
Giveaway! From Sinclair: For a gift of three signed books from a few of my different series and some reader swag, tell me if you’ve ever had an epiphany that stopped you in your tracks, or if you prefer, you can tell me if you prefer beginnings or getting closure and why.
Stealing Mr. Right
She’s found the perfect man…except not for her client.
Budding matchmaker and relationship “expert” Rani Kapoor should be walking on air. She helped find love matches for her cousin and sisters, her dissertation passed, and she’s inked her first book deal. But what if her success comes crashing down? Desperate to prove herself, Rani makes a bet. Using her new scientific method, she’ll find her first official client—her best friend—Mr. Right in time for her cousin’s wedding.
Tech tycoon Jasminder “Jas” Singh just sold his second start-up and is looking for his next challenge—breaking into the lucrative Indian tech market. But Jas lacks family connections and cultural knowledge, so all doors have been slammed in his face. Taking a new approach, Jas reaches out to the “Misguided Masala Matchmaker.” He has no interest in a bride, but he’s not above pretending he does so he can score an invitation to—and make business connections at—the Indian wedding of the season.
The minute Rani meets Jas, she realizes science has failed her again. Yes, the potential groom is perfect—for her.
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Oh wow! Thanks so much! I am looking forward to hearing from Sinclair.
I do enjoy beginnings more than endings, but sometimes endings are what is needed to have new beginnings. Both can be scary, the unknown of what comes next.
Thanks for responding. It seems like the older I get the less I worry about closure and the what’s next? I feel like it will unfold without me worrying too much about it–but maybe my expectations are lower. But really, I’ve had a lot of good things happen in my life and a lot of fun and feel so very blessed. I have some wonderful opportunities, more than I thought when I was a teen so even though I know things will end, I do trust that there will also be beginnings. But it’s interesting to watch my daughter pursue her dreams–I do feel so amazed and anxious with her and totally impressed with how she handles the awesome along with the disappointments. My son too–his resilience is a thing of wonder, and I do feel like my husband and I had a hand in helping to shape them to be prepared for the good and the knocks.
Thank you Liz. I always feel so self-conscious posting my thoughts on my writing, but I absolutely love interacting with other readers and authors. I learn so much and often see things indifferent ways.
I don’t know that I have ever had an epiphany, but I think I would prefer closures because things do have to end and I like for things to be tied up resolved. Beginnings are sweet and can be filled with lots of good memories.
Hey Latesha, Thanks for answering. I think closures are generally far more common and useful. I am usually pretty good with closure although romantically, I did not excel and ending things without drama.
You have asked a tough question. Beginnings can be fabulous. They can also be scary. I am at the beginning of a journey. I had an electric wheelchair delivered the end of December. I have been on a path trying to get a lift or something so that I could use the wheelchair in public. I will finally have closure with this issue tomorrow as a handicapped equipped van is being delivered to me. This is a closure, but also a beginning. While I should be excited about the new vehicle and being able to get out of the house easier, it is still heartbreaking to know that I am going to be doing it in an electric wheelchair. Therefore, I am not in a place that I can say which one is better. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
Wow Debra, you are dealing with a lot. Learning to maneuver the electric chair in public will definitely open a whole new world for you, but likely the first few outings will present challenges. I hope that you have a friend or partner who can help you initially. I remember when my mom moved over to a wheel chair, it took me a quite a while to get the hang of helping her in and out of the chair and also the car, and pushing her around town took some getting used to. Hopefully you will not be as clumsy as I was. But we did get there, and my mom was able to go out and about more with me. I love your attitude about how you are experiencing an end along with a beginning.
Wonderful post! I too prefer beginnings. I prefer having something new and fresh with lots of possibilities. It is exciting!
I do love beginnings, especially when I am starting a new book. There are so many directions I can take, no rules or expectations or facts to keep sorted….yet. It’s always been interesting to me how some people are really intimidated by a blank page or a blinking cursor on a blank screen.
Welcome, Sinclair. I go into a sort of mourning when I write “The End”. It’s like saying good-bye to new friends who have become old friends. I love connecting the threads of their lives until it completes their tapestries.
I can totally relate to that. I have a rush of excitement that I am done with the book, but soon I am missing the characters, and wanting to revisit them. If it’s the end of a series, I am really sad because then I am done with the characters (Unless I can bring them in for a guest appearance in another series.
Hi Sinclair! I hope to meet you in person soon! You and Nan seem like the perfect combo of kind and fun. I’m sure your books are fabulous! As for epiphanies–it’s not recent, but I just added it to a book, so it’s top-of-mind. Everyone’s truth is different. We fill in the blanks of what we don’t know, and it becomes “truth.” Whether it’s about a person or a situation, everyone sees things differently because we use our judgement, which is often based on personal experiences or what we’ve learned at some point (correct or incorrect), to fill in the empty spaces. In short, we’re not always right.
That’s a good one Laurie–that we all have our own truth. I’ve played with the concept of perception in some of my books, but lately, like you, I too have been thinking of truth vs the perception of truth. Perhaps I used to follow politics too much because truth and facts suddenly seemed to have two sides, which was confusing and irritating. My kids used to play this game called Opposite Day. I feel like that is going on some days.
Roseann McGrath Brooks
Is it OK to say I prefer “middles”? Of course, I love the newness of beginnings, but they can be scary. And I love a good ending, but it’s sad when fun things have to stop. In the middle is where I tend to thrive. Ironically, middles can be the hardest parts to write, can’t they? Rani’s story sounds like a winner, especially because it took so much energy to get there!
That is a perfect answer. Middles. I didn’t even think about that, but it works for me. I do love being in the middle of a book–both as a reader and also when I am writing. It is when I am really starting to find my way.
I find closure hard because you have to say goodbye to something. New beginnings are better. You are able to (possibly) mold them into something better than expected.
I love your positivity that the beginning can be molded into something even better than expected. When I was younger, I was a bit more passive and had a bit more of a negative mindset. I didn’t feel like I could create the change I wanted, but as I matured, I gained more confidence.
I think it’s definitely something you learn as you get older. When I was younger, I didn’t think of anything and just went about doing what ever I wanted without thinking of consequences. I guess I could say I was a bit of a free spirit.
I love that you were a free spirit. I had a bit of that too in my twenties–this belief that it would all unfold beautifully and as it should. I especially had that with my writing, but I got squashed down a lot for a long time so I stopped and then started and then stopped and started. It’s the starting and the keep going that’s the important thing to focus on. I try to keep that attitude with so much in my life, and I’ve tried to pass that belief and confidence on to my kids.
Ok this sounds like such a brilliant book, I can’t wait to read it!! I did have a huge epiphany once, many years ago. I let someone influence what I thought of myself for many years and one day I realized I didn’t even like or respect that person, why would I listen to what they say about anything much less myself?? It was so freeing!!! I still needed a lot of therapy, which was really helpful, but that was the moment I started to move forward.
Oh Brandy, thank you for the compliment. I loved writing the whole series, but Stealing Mr. Right was a ton of fun–challenging, but fun. And I am really proud, and I’m so happy that your epiphany lead to on a healthier path where you were treated kindly and with respect.
I can’t remember if I ever had an epiphany that stopped me in my tracks. Beginnings are important because you can’t get closer if you don’t have beginnings. However, I think I would prefer closer because without closer it can be hard to move on. You would always wonder what happened and probably play the what ifs game.
Good point about not being able to start anew if you don’t have closure.
When I became a mother my whole perspective changed from self centered to protective of this child in my care. It was an eye opening moment. I was going to be a best mom I could be. 4 children and many years later I am so proud of how they all turned out. They have all thanked me. They all feel loved and treasured. I now have 6 grandchildren. My life is blessed.
Isn’t it crazy how much becoming a mom changes you? My kids are in college now, and I still remember how trilling watching them learn and grow was, but also seeing how my perspective totally shifted as well.
I loved reading the “story of your story.” It completely illustrates just how attached we become to our “book families.” Thanks for sharing, Sinclair–it’s a wonderful post.