Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Alli and congratulations on the release of your debut novel, ‘Luna Tango’! Can you give us the blurb, please?
Tango, like love, is complicated…
Desperate to understand the reason her mother abandoned her twenty years ago to become a world-class tango dancer, journalist Dani McKenna delves into the world of tango in the hope of exposing decades of lies and deception that have threatened three generations of her family.
When Dani meets the enigmatic Carlos Escudero—a revered tango dancer and man of intense passion—they work together to understand why her grandmother lives in fear of all things tango, and how the brutal murder of a tango music legend in 1950s Buenos Aires now affects her family.
Despite her lack of rhythm, Dani and Carlos create their own dance of the souls, until the differences in their cultures causes a deep rift. As she seeks to reconnect with Carlos and rebuild her family, Dani finds tango—the dance of passion—becomes a complicated dance of betrayal.
What inspired you to write ‘Luna Tango’?
I’ve always loved dance and find it fascinating how people can dance or watch a performance and have totally different experiences. One might be moved to tears of joy while the other might experience immense sadness. This range of emotions that come from dance and music is what inspired me – I love how each character has a different relationship with tango and how that connection evolves as they learn more about themselves and each other.
Tell us about ‘The Call’.
I’d been hanging by the phone and constantly checking my email for weeks but nothing had eventuated. Then one night, about 7.30, I sat on the couch after a long day and my phone rang. I saw it was a call from my agent but it didn’t click that this call could be the one that changed my life forever. The second I heard her voice, though, I knew it was good news. Hubby wishes he’d videotaped my reaction because I switched from shock to joy and silly happy dancing (the kids joined in) within seconds. It was so great to be able to share that moment with my family and my fabulous, talented agent!
Your other job is as a travel blogger and writer, while you have a true passion for dance. How did you weave the two together into one novel?
I’m still surprised how easy it was for me to weave them together. I’ve always loved novels set in exotic locales that are about different cultures or have an historical angle, so it made sense to write about tango in Argentina. Tango is steeped in history and is an intrinsic part of Argentine culture, so it was fun to create an Aussie character who is at first reluctant to find out about tango (her mother is a tango diva who deserted her daughter twenty years prior) but have her gradually come to understand what the meaning of tango is and how it directly affects her. As she learns about tango and Argentines, so does the reader.
Of all the places you’ve visited, which was the most inspiring and why?
Without a doubt (and no surprise, I’m sure!) Buenos Aires, Argentina. The very first time I travelled there I was totally focussed on climbing Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas. Buenos Aires was only a short layover for me but the moment the plane touched down I fell in love with the place—and I hadn’t even left the airport! I felt like I was coming home and in a way I was, because I ended up living in Argentina for a while.
‘Luna Tango’ is the first release in the ‘Dance Card’ series. Can you give us a sneaky peek of what’s in store?
Flamenco Fire is book two and will be released in 2015 with Turning Pointe to follow in 2016. The books are stand alone, so they can be read in any order and each book has a different set of characters. I’ll guarantee there’ll be a family saga, a decades old mystery, and some tragic and happy-ever-after romances in exotic locales amid passionate dancing.
What plotting process do you go through in order to create a series of books, rather than a stand alone book? How do you manage to weave your theme throughout three books?
I’ve chosen dances that are well known by most people but not always fully understood by the general public. The Dance Card Series delves into the mystery behind these dances and music and explores the cultural aspects and how it affects people’s lives. In each book the main character is new to the dance and we take the journey with her as she investigates the style of dance and eventually gains a better understanding that ultimately changes her perspective on the dance, life and romance.
Apart from writing and travelling, what would we find you doing in your spare time?
Reading as well as spending time with my partner and kids.
What books would we find on your shelf /ereader?
Lots of RWA authors, of course! I like to read across many genres but am usually drawn to historicals and sagas.
Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Luna Tango’, please?
I’m happy to! This scene happens early in the story and Dani has just experienced her first tango lesson with sexy Carlos. They’re at a práctica, a place where dancers go to practice their skills in a tango hall, and he’s trying to teach her about the meaning of tango but she’s too busy ogling this very gorgeous, but slightly distant, Argentine while also stressing about whether her estranged mother might show up out of the blue.
‘This emotion …’
She looked up to find his dark eyes studying her.
‘Yes?’ she asked, not sure whether he was referring to the dance or the girly crush she’d developed. Man, she was like every other woman in Argentina.
‘This emotion is the most important part of the dance. Remember what I said about where tango started? Without emotion there is no point—much like everything in life that is worth the while. Ready?’
Before she had a chance to say a word, Carlos dipped her backwards and curls spilled across her face. Blowing them away with a large puff, she looked up, their faces inches apart. He held her for what felt like an eternity, his strong arms firmly gripping her body, their gaze not breaking, electricity zapping between them. He guided her to the standing position and let go. Dani smoothed her skirt, looking everywhere but directly at Carlos.
‘Now, you dance with Gualberto.’ He sat and sipped his wine.
Alli Sinclair is Australian born but considers herself a citizen of the world. She spent her early adult years traveling the globe, intent on becoming an Indiana Jones in heels. She scaled mountains in Nepal, Argentina, and Peru, rafted the Ganges, and rode a camel in the Sahara. Argentina and Peru became her home for a few years and when she wasn’t working as a mountain or tour guide, Alli could be found in the dance halls dancing the tango, salsa, merengue, and samba.
All of these adventures made for fun storytelling and this is when she discovered her love of writing. Alli’s stories combine her passion for exotic destinations, the quirks of human nature, and the belief that everyone can dance, even if it’s to their own beat.