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Today we travel to Norfolk County in England to chat with Maxine Sinclair about how sign language, Batman, table tennis, Cliff Richard, ballet, Hitler, being over-prepared, and having a sense of humour come together as part of Maxine’s current and past life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Having moved around most of our married life, we came to Norfolk in 2005 and I love it here – I’m not moving. (Hubby misses hills, but I think they’re overrated.) I am a sign language interpreter by day and a women’s fiction novelist by night: a bit like Batman but without the outfit.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
I kept a diary in my youth and then wrote terrible angst poetry inspired by several cases of unrequited love. I then didn’t write for many years (busy with family life) until a few years ago when I took an online writing course. At the end of the course you had to plan out the first three chapters of a novel. And I didn’t stop.
List 3 interesting facts about yourself.
Haven’t flown in years and I don’t intend to through fear.
I have a bronze badge in table tennis and a grade two in violin.
When I was four I didn’t know if I wanted to marry Cliff Richard or be him.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
My latest book, Being Greta, was inspired by over thirty years of being in and around the Deaf Community. Deaf people live in a world where people can hear and they constantly find themselves having to adapt to fit in. Greta’s story is about trying to make it in a hearing world, but ultimately hers is a love story.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I took up ballet at the age of forty-two and completely fell in love with it. I do two classes a week, plus pilates and yoga. I’m blessed with wonderful teachers.
If you could have a fantasy tea with a person from the past, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Hitler. I want him to talk me through his beliefs and convictions. My father was an Austrian Jewish refugee and his father was killed at Auschwitz, so it’s a part of my personal history.
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? What do you do to prepare yourself?
I would listen to I Can See Clearly Now as that song oozes optimism. I’m one of those who enjoys public speaking and I’d have notes and will have rehearsed repeatedly in front of the mirror. Over-prepared is my middle name.
If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?
Penny-Dog – ‘Why won’t you let us put a collar on you?’
Winnie-Cat – Why do pat my face in the night when I’m asleep?
Turbo-Tortoise – Where are you?
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
Last night we wanted something comfortingly familiar so we chose…Kindergarten Cop. Don’t judge us.
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
I think my sense of humour has served me well and I try to channel it into my writing. I’m also quite an optimistic person and that comes in handy when submitting manuscripts to publishers.
What are you currently working on?
I have just finished editing my latest novel, Summer Sparks. It is the story of a fifty-something woman who is living a colourless life until her long-time husband ups and leaves. She is heartbroken and in pieces until her bubbly best friend whisks her away on a life-changing summer working abroad.
Tell us about your most recently published book.
My most recently published book is Being Greta.
Greta is a young deaf woman in a hearing world. Trying to find happiness despite a controlling boyfriend, Olly, and a disapproving mother, she (drunkenly) applies to feature in a television disability arts documentary where her head is turned by the attractive sign language interpreter, Connor.
As filming continues, the cracks deepen in her relationship with Olly. Will she stay with him or succumb to Connor, a man who signs her own language?
And should she undergo a cochlear implant to be able to fit in with the people around her? Or should she embrace her deaf identity, follow her heart and determine her own future?
Whichever route she takes, it’s not always easy being Greta…
It was lovely to have you on MTA, Maxine. I am fascinated by the topic and characters of Being Greta. My daughter has a chromosome deletion (called 18p-), with some of her peers being deaf. She has partial loss of hearing in one ear, too. It sounds like you’ve touched on some hot topics! I also love the song, “I Can See Clearly Now”, it’s one of my favorites. Wishing you all the best! – Camilla
Also available are my first two novels that focus on the lives of a group of adult ballet dancers as they journey to win a local talent competition.
Dixbury Does Talent – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1520195214