For today’s Sunday Dinner, I invited Christina Sinisi. Christina writes stories about families, both the broken and blessed. Her works include a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and the American Title IV Contest where she appeared in the top ten in the Romantic Times magazine. Her published books include Christmas Confusion, Sweet Summer, and Christmas on Ocracoke. By day, she is a psychology professor and lives in the Low Country of South Carolina with her husband, two children and her crazy cat Chessie Mae

Sunday Dinner is a traditional (noon) meal served after church on Sundays. Whole families, including extended family, would gather over a large meal to celebrate a day of rest. Multiple cultures enjoy this Sunday Dinner tradition. In my experience, I know it from both my Midwestern farm family as well as my Italian-American family. Now, I’d like to bring Sunday Dinner virtually to you. So, pull up a chair as we invite various guests to join us each week!

Without further ado … Christina, what’s something interesting readers would enjoy learning about you?

Hi, I’m Christina Sinisi. Something interesting about me—I only visited the beach one time growing up. Now, I live just twenty minutes away and love visiting all of the South’s islands!

Can you tell us about your latest novel?

Why They Call It Falling

Formerly the wild child of three sisters, Emma Marano grew up to be a single mom working two jobs, estranged from her mother, and lying to her friends. She’d told everyone that her daughter’s father wanted nothing to do with his child, but in reality, her own inability to deal with her mistakes and shame led to the biggest lie of her life. But her daughter, Haley, is all Emma has in the world, so how can she regret keeping Haley to herself? Emma’s struggling, though, and her life is slowly imploding.

Right after high school, Justin Lee broke up with Emma Marano and joined the Army, leaving her and all her drama behind. Years later, he stumbles upon her and what turns out to be a daughter he never knew he had. Angry and confused, he insists on having a relationship with his daughter, but to do so, he’ll need to rebuild some sort of relationship with Emma, too. As he gets to know his daughter—and Emma again—he soon realizes that his biggest mistake was leaving her all those years ago. What he dismissed as drama turns out to be a serious mental health issue, and Emma needs help. Now, Justin has to decide if he can see past her flaws and forgive her lies, and together, they’ll have to work to reclaim their love and a faith in each other and in God, or they risk losing something precious in the process.

What made you choose the Charleston, South Carolina area as your setting?

I live here. And I love the area—the history, the beach, the swamp moss, the plantations, the alligators, you name it. Charleston has been voted the #1 Wedding destination and I buy it—there’s a romance in the place itself.

Can you describe your favorite parts about the city?

I live in a suburb so visiting Charleston is like going on vacation. I love the historical district—the old houses, the window boxes, the cobblestones, and Southern hospitality.

Charleston has much history … can you tell us a bit of it?

Actually, I’m a good person to do so. Even though I am not a historian, I am married to one. My husband is now the President of the Ft. Sumter/Moultrie trust, works with the Park Service and gives tours of the city in addition to being a history professor at the Citadel.  Ft. Moultrie was crucial in the American Revolution and the design of our flag came from there. There’s also an underground bunker where soldiers during WWII watched for U-boats (they were very active outside Hatteras in NC where another of my books is set). Ft. Sumter is where the first shots of the Civil War occurred.

What research was required to set a book in Charleston?

Not much—all I have to do is lean back in my chair and call out to my husband. Sorry if that’s not fair. The hero of Why They Call It Falling, Justin, is also in the Army. My husband was in the army. I wanted him stationed somewhat nearby so Ft. Bragg in NC. I even asked my husband what an interesting job might be. Since he jumped out of perfectly good airplanes while he was in Jump School, he told me about riggers. A rigger is someone who packs the parachutes for those who are going to jump. What a scary and responsibility-laden job.

Did you need to, or have you, traveled to or lived in Charleston?

I’ve lived in the Charleston area for 28 years.

Were resources about the history of Charleston easy or difficult to find? Do you have a favorite resource?

Since my novel is a contemporary romance, there wasn’t a great deal of research needed. However, through my husband, I could connect readers with various experts in the field. My favorite resource would be my husband.

What is one piece of your research that you couldn’t include in the book, but wish readers could know?

My publisher is a small press and doesn’t allow me to use real names. For example, in Sweet Summer (the second book in the Summer Creek series), I refer to the Karpeles Museum downtown Charleston which houses original and replica documents from Charleston’s history. I especially enjoy the fact that Edgar Allan Poe served at Ft. Moultrie for a time and wrote his short story, “The Gold Bug,” here.

If readers would like to purchase a copy of Why They Call it Falling where might they be able to do so?

So glad you asked! ?   You can find it on Amazon.

Do you have another book in the works? What can you tell us about that book?

I always do! I’m working with an editor on a follow-up to Christmas on Ocracoke, called Hope of Hatteras.

In this book, Megan Kingsley lost both parents in a tragic car accident when only a freshman in high school. Rather than let her be shipped off to distant relatives, her older brother Trey dropped out of college and came home to raise her. Plagued with guilt over what he sacrificed for her, Megan tries to be the perfect everything—student, athlete, and sister. Jackson Lee is part of the EMS team called when a young girl passes out and hits her head in one of the big rental houses on Hatteras Island. Born on the wrong side of the tracks, he falls for a girl who represents everything he resents—money and privilege and what turns out to be a serious health issue. Coming to terms with her illness and the flawed humans around him, Jackson must come to grips with the illusion of perfection.

Together, on an island full of God’s perfect creation, will the Hope of Hatteras allow them to forgive themselves—and each other—for being less than perfect?

The afternoon is slipping away, so we have to draw the stories to an end. Thank you Christina , for joining us today! If readers would like to learn about you or your other books, how might they find you online?

Website/Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, BookBub.

Over Sunday Dinner next week, we’ll continue to celebrate National Dairy Month by being joined by someone who works within the diary industry and talk all about cheese!

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