Character Interview: Mark Sintorella from Sinders and Ash

Character Interview of Mark Sintorella from Sinders and Ash by Tara Lain

I am happy to have Mark Sintorella here as my character guest today, along with his author Tara Lain. Please have a seat and we’ll get started with our interview.
Mark, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

As you said, my name is Mark Sintorella. I’m twenty-two and I work in housekeeping at a fancy resort hotel in upstate New York. But this is temporary. I’m saving to go to fashion school. I really want to be a fashion designer. I took this little garret room in the attic at the resort so I could have some privacy to work on my designs. And I’m trying hard not to get distracted by the arrival of Ashton Armitage, son of the fifth richest family in the US. After all, what do we have in common?

A fashion designer…that sounds interesting.


Can you share a couple of random thoughts about yourself, something that will surprise your readers?

I was thrown out of my family at sixteen because I was gay. I’ve been on my own since then. I won’t cut my long hair because my mother loved it before she died.

Families are supposed to be our support system, but all too often they aren’t.


What was your daily life like before the upheaval to it?

I clean fireplaces. The resort has a lot of them and they keep the temperature low in the rooms so they can use the fireplaces even in the summer.  I keep the fireplaces clean and a lot of toilets too.


That sounds fairly tedious. So what upset your ordinary world and brought you into contact with Ashton Armitage?

When Ash arrived looking for a wife, I was disgusted to realize I was attracted to him. He is gorgeous. But I don’t want to pay attention to him. I want to succeed as a fashion designer and that is my top priority. But he sure is beautiful.

Hmm, this sounds like a frustrating situation.


What was your immediate reaction to Ashton, besides thinking he was gorgeous?

I thought he was perfect. Ridiculous, I know, but everything about him seemed perfect. Of course, I didn’t know a lot of things then.


Were you annoyed that Ash got in the way of obtaining your goal?

He was a distraction. I had Mr. Pennymaker helping me show my designs to the fashion industry people visiting the hotel. Of course, I had to pretend I was a woman and wear women’s clothes. I never dreamed I would catch Ash in that trap.

Oh my! That sounds complicated.


What were some of the headaches/trials you faced in dealing with Ash?

First, I thought I was lucky because I got to serve room service to him and the woman he was wooing as his wife. Great tips, you know? But then I realized I was so jealous, which was stupid, but I just couldn’t get over it. Then he saved me from this idiot who tried to force himself on me and I found out afterward that Ash was GAY! Who was he kidding?


Were there any other people who interfered in reaching your goal?

That bastard sous chef who kept perving on me. Finally Ash got him fired. It was amazing.

Ash sounds like a good guy, coming to your rescue twice.


Did you feel an immediate attraction to Ash? Or an immediate resistance?

Both I’m sad to admit. I was so attracted to him but i didn’t want to be.

Definitely frustrating.


Who made the first compromise to attempt peace in your relationship?

Ash served me dinner. It was really sweet.

Ahhh, that does sound sweet.


When did the heat between you and Ash first start firing up? Did that complicate reaching your goal?

At that same dinner, I got to see how sad and vulnerable he was. It made me want to do something nice for him. Of course, I gave him oral sex which wasn’t in my plan. And I was so in love with him after that and I knew I couldn’t have him. It totally messed me up.


What led to the moment when you thought everything was lost between you two?

His parents arrived and expected him to marry Bitsy. I was sure my heart would never recover.


But you managed to make things work between you after some ups and downs. Would you go through all of that again?

Oh yes. Who wouldn’t do anything for a happily ever after?

I’m glad it worked out for you both. It sounds like you both deserved a happily ever after.


Thank you, Mark, for sharing your thoughts with us. Now you can relax and I’ll talk to Tara a bit.

Tara, what drives you to be a writer?

Writing has always been innate. Like many authors, I wrote my first book at five. About a snake as I recall. But I’ve made my living as a non-fiction writer throughout my adult life and turned to fiction when I discovered erotic romance. It was the first time I found something so fun I could imagine writing at night and on the weekends.

Yes, a lot of authors talk about having written their first story when very young. I did, too. But my story definitely wasn’t about snakes.


What do you do to get away from the stress of writing?

I love to walk, do mixed media collage, and paint. But my real stress reliever is silly, mindless TV. A reality show like Project Runway is great for the blood pressure.

I like to walk, too, to clear my head or think through a particular story line issue.


Do you use a pen name? If so, why?

Yes, because my real name has 14 letters and because I have a day job I’d just as soon keep separate.


Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

Everywhere! Plus, I love that people tell me their ideas for stories. Just today my father-in-law told me I should write a book about musicians. I may do that! My manicurist told me a whole story she had conceived that she thought would make a good book. It was a great story — and she even made the characters gay just for me.


Do you have a regular writing process?

I try to write some every day, but since I have an intense day job most of the big writing gets done on the weekends.

Yes, when an author works a day job, it is hard to have enough energy and leftover brain power at the end of a work day to write.


Do you have some “words of wisdom” for other writers, especially new writers?

As many people know, I am a promo fiend. I think writers need to fit promotion of their books into every day just as they fit writing into every day. Start before your first book is published and grow from there.

You’re definitely right about promotion being really important to establishing yourself as a writer. It is also hard to fit in sometimes with life, work, and writing as well.


Now let’s talk specifics about Sinders and Ash…

Title:  Sinders and Ash

Genre:  GLBT contemporary, fantasy, erotic romance

ISBN:  13-978-1-61124-270-6 (Electronic)

ISBN:  13-978-1-61124-917-0 (Paperback)

Length:  Novel (44K words, 138 paperback pages)

Publisher:  Amber Quill Press – Amber Allure

Release Date:  April 1, 2012

Buy Link:  Amber Quill


Tara, what was unique to this particular book?

Sinders and Ash is a fairy tale romance. That is, it is based on the trope of a famous fairy tale. At the same time, it is much more than that. It’s a serious, contemporary LGBT romance with complex themes and characters. It was great fun to see if I could capture the themes of a fairy tale without succumbing to parody or satire.


Did you have a favorite character in this book?

I love Mark Sintorella, my hero, but I must confess a special affection for Carstairs Pennymaker, the little elf of a man who takes Mark under his wing and helps make his dreams come true.


Will there be any sequels to this book?

I enjoyed writing on the fairy tale theme so much I have thought of another book with a famous fairy tale trope. We’ll see if it demands to be written!



Work hard, stay anonymous and don’t expect much. That’s resort housekeeper Mark Sintorella’s philosophy of life. After being kicked out of his family home at sixteen for being gay, Mark knows what it takes to survive. But how is he going to stay anonymous when he wants to be recognized as a great fashion designer? And how can he control his expectations when he’s desperately attracted to Ashton Armitage, the son of the fifth richest man in America? If Ash doesn’t find a woman to marry he’s going to lose his inheritance, but he can’t seem to resist the beautiful kid who cleans fireplaces while hiding behind a black cap and heavy glasses. And then this crazy elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, has Mark running around looking like a fashion model wearing gorgeous women’s clothes. The clock strikes twelve and the wedding follows the ball. Two beautiful princesses line up for attention. But one isn’t interested and one isn’t a woman. Who will be the bride? Will the shoe fit? Only his fairy godmother knows for sure.



Pennymaker turned and looked at Mark. “What are you working on?”

“Excuse me? I, uh, have to clean some fireplaces this morning. You know they keep the rooms cool just so they can use them? Makes work for me.”

“That’s not what I mean, of course.” He turned back to the rack, pushed some jeans aside. “Aha!” His hand shot through the garments to the dress form. He made an opening in the clothes and stepped through to stand beside the red dress. “Perfect. Just beautiful. What a talent.”

“Excuse me?”

The little man beamed at him. “You have exceptional design skills.”

God, it was hard to not be flattered. “Thank you, sir.” But how had the man known to look for the dress? Who told him?

Pennymaker walked over to the chair and sat. Creak. Hopefully the tiny man wouldn’t strain the old wood too much. “I would like to show that dress to some people.”

“Uh, who?”

“Let’s say some potential investors.”

No. He couldn’t get excited. “Uh, really, sir? You’re in the clothing business?”

“I’m in many businesses, my boy.”

Okay, try not to be suspicious. “How did you know I was a clothing designer?”

The little man waved a hand. “That lovely T-shirt, of course.”

“No one told you?”

“Who would tell me?”

Had him there.

Pennymaker stepped back and surveyed the dress. “Now, who is your model?”

What? Mark cocked his head.

“Who did you set the dress form to?”

“Oh, uh, myself. I, uh, don’t have anyone else. I’m pretty slim so it works.”

“Perfect. Perfect. When do you have to be at work?”

This conversation was crazy. “In about an hour. This is my morning off. Unless they need me, of course.”

“Good. Put on the dress.”

“What?! Why?”

“We’re going for a little walk through the hotel. You’ll be my…niece. Go on, go on.” He made a shooing gesture with his hands.

Mark shook his head. “Sir, I know I fit the dress to me but that’s because I don’t have anyone else. I’m not a transvestite.”

“Never said you were, dear boy. But these people I want to have see the dress will be much more amenable to taking your designs seriously if they think of the idea themselves rather than my telling them. That’s how we all are, now isn’t it? So I want them to see the clothes. We don’t have another model and we don’t want anyone else in on our secret.”

Secret? “What if someone recognizes me?”

Pennymaker cocked his head. “That is very unlikely. You do a good job making yourself plain and unmemorable with your cap and glasses.”

Mark felt the blush. Shoot. The man had him dead to rights.

“Besides, people see what they expect and they certainly don’t expect to see Mark Sintorella in a dress. Now, put it on.”

Mark stepped behind the rack of clothing. He stripped to his boxer briefs and stopped. What the hell was he doing? He could jeopardize his job for this crazy-assed little guy with his hair-brained scheme.

The voice came from the other side of the clothes. “Do you have it on?”

“Sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but are you sure about this? I really need the money I get from working here.”

“Tut tut, my boy. Hurry. I want to make one tour around the lobby and public rooms before you start your shift.  Times a’wastin’. ”

Mark pulled the dress over his head and let it fall into place. The skirt was just full enough to swing when he walked so no one would notice his cock under it. “Uh, I don’t have any boobs.”

“Let me see.”

“See what? What I haven’t got?” He stepped out.

Pennymaker looked at him studiously. “Gorgeous. You don’t have breasts but then neither do some women to speak of. I’m more concerned about the hairy legs. Go shave, quickly.”

“What? Sir, I don’t think so…”

“This won’t be your only modeling assignment I suspect so think of it as a long-term investment. Consider that brilliant young model who walks the catwalks in both male and female shows. You’re at least his equal in beauty.”


“No buts. This is your future.  Now go!”



Author Web Site:  Tara Lain

Facebook:  Tara Lain

Twitter:  Tara Lain

Amazon Author Page:  Tara Lain

Email:  [email protected]


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