For February we welcome Jersey Shore author Kristina Rienzi who is a certified professional coach and a former president of the Sisters in Crime-Central Jersey. Her stories focus on embracing the unknown with fierce women risking their lives to become who they were meant to be. Kristina Rienzi’s books range from paranormal, to science fiction, to domestic thrillers. She also has three fur-beasts who she spoils dearly.
She has a wonderful FAQ for some common author questions she receives. Let’s welcome Kristina Rienzi to the blog!
Hi Kristina Rienzi, thanks for joining us. Mind giving a brief intro about yourself.
Thank you so much for having me! I’m thrilled (pun intended) to be here! Your intro for me was perfect, but I’ll also add that I’m a brand-new mom of a 6-month-old girl, Sofia, who has turned my life upside down…in all the right ways!
To add to my bio above, I have an advanced degree in psychology so I’m very interested in how the human mind works, specifically when it comes to the dark side of life. Naturally, I’m interested in true-crime, and writing twisted thrillers is right up my alley! I’m also a beach girl—I live only a few miles away and I can’t image a life without water nearby. It centers me. Finally, I’m all about inspiration: finding it, sharing it, sparking it. When you follow me on social media, get ready to be inspired!
I am an animal lover, tell us about your three fur-beasts.
Happy to! My first fur-beast was Lola, a black/white Shih Tzu who stole my heart from her first woof at 6 weeks old. Sadly, we lost her only a few days after bringing Sofia home from the hospital last year. I was blessed to have a full, loving 13 years with the dog I dubbed, my soul dog because she just got me. I know animal lovers reading this will understand. She was my one special pup, and there will never be another like Lola. I’m lucky she had the chance to meet Sofia and pass the baby-torch, for which I’m forever grateful.
Next up, is our Kona. She’s an almost 13-year-old golden Pekingese who we rescued at 3 years old. She was dropped off at a kill shelter at 2, and then abused by a foster family; she lives with a wire in her jaw as a result. I can’t even imagine what she’s been through emotionally, but she loves and trusts without bounds and is truly an angel-fur-baby on Earth.
Finally, we have our wild, 8 year-old Shih-Tzu/Yorki mix, Lucy. She’s a firecracker and keeps us on our toes! She decided Sofia is her baby and protects her like no other.
A house is not a home without dogs, in my opinion, and I’m so grateful Sofia gets to grow up with them in her life, like I did.
Okay, back to writing. You’ve got a range of work with the upcoming Unleash The Wicked. Can you tell us about this new novel?
Yes! I write what intrigues and inspires me, so while all of my stories have a thriller thread, they’re mixed genres based on my mood while writing. Unleash the Wicked is a paranormal thriller that has been a long time in the making, with stops and starts for other projects that took precedence. While it’s a super slow go with a baby, it’s coming along. Like my other stories, Unleash the Wicked is set at the Jersey Shore. It follows Mitzi Everson, a former NYC socialite who is forced home to the mysterious beach town of Tidal Falls. While facing her tragic past, Mitzi’s unwittingly activates a deadly centuries old curse intent on destroying Tidal Falls, and everyone in it, forever.
What was your first published work and how did your writing career start?
Frost Books, as the result of a Twitter pitch, published my debut novel, Choosing Evil, in 2014. Yes, online pitches actually work! So many authors I know have found their agents and publishers that way.
Choosing Evil follows Serafina Murano, a human girl in a paranormal world, who must confront dark, deadly secrets, gut wrenching betrayal, and elusive questions about her identity, ultimately being forced to choose the unthinkable. I’m naturally drawn to the paranormal, and darkness of humanity, so of course my first novel was all about the question: What does evil mean to you? There are evil people in the world. They could be your neighbors. Friends. Family. You never really know what darkness lurks inside of a person.
In line with the control freak I am, I obtained my rights back to Choosing Evil and its sequel, Breaking Evil, and then indie-published both of them in 2018. I’ve indie-published all my books since, under my publishing company, Indigo Hawk Group. Until I find the agent and publisher perfect for my stories, if ever, I’ll keep indie-publishing.
Do you go into writing a story with a genre in mind, or does the story decide?
The story decides. I come up with a story idea and it dictates the genre. I love the pace and flow of a thriller, but whether it’s paranormal, sci-fi, or domestic (or otherwise), is entirely up to the characters and plot.
In a similar fashion, do you plan for a novel, novella, short story or does word count not concern you?
I always plan for a short story, since writing a short is tricky and needs to be done with word count in mind. Actually, I love writing short stories most. However, I focus on writing novellas and novels, as that’s what readers in my genre tend towards, from what I’ve seen. When it comes to a novel or novella, I often go in thinking it will be a novella—I write short naturally, and I love the idea of a complete story that’s not too time consuming to read and doesn’t take the reader away from life for too long. However, stories like Among Us, which started out as a novella in my mind, became a novel along the way. And that was right for the story. Ultimately, I do what serves the story most and I don’t try to bend the length to fit my agenda. At the start, I may have an idea in mind of length, or word count, but I let the story lead and see where it takes me. That’s the fun part!
You’re also a Writer Coach, what type of help do you offer writers?
Since I coach the writer, the person, it’s really about whatever they want to work on. I help move them from functional to optimal performance by shifting their mindset and energy to get them where they want to be. Writers get clarity on what they truly want (in writing and life), identify and overcome obstacles in their way (internal and external), focus on a reasonable, yet challenging goal plan, and hold themselves accountable for their own progress. Of course, I’m there to cheer them on all the way through!
It can be summed up in my 5-step W.R.I.T.E process below.
I’ll help you clarify what you really want in writing and life. We’ll turn your writerly wishes into tangible and achievable goals.
We’ll formulate a systematic action plan, that’s both reasonable and challenging. I’ll hold you accountable to take the steps needed to achieve your goals.
I’ll cheer you on along the way, providing inspiration and motivation to help you gain the courage and confidence to realize your writerly dreams.
I’ll help you address any inner or outer obstacles—whether personally, professionally, or creatively—so you can triumph over what’s holding you back from reaching your goals.
We’ll collaborate on all areas of your writing and life, addressing ever-changing circumstances so you can evolve into your best writerly self.
I also have a Facebook Group: W.R.I.T.E Life: Coaching for your writing life. Join us!
Let’s thank Kristina Rienzi for joining us again to the blog!
You can find her new novel on her website, amazon, and the various links below:
Kristina Rienzi’s Bio
Kristina Rienzi is a Jersey Shore-based new adult thriller author, certified professional coach, and the former president of Sisters in Crime-Central Jersey. An INFJ who dreams beyond big, Kristina encourages others (and herself) to embrace the unknown through her stories. When she’s not writing or drinking wine, Kristina is spoiling her baby girl (and two fur-babies), dissecting true crime stories, singing (and dancing) to Yacht Rock Radio or rooting for the WVU Mountaineers. She believes in all things paranormal, a closet full of designer bags, weekly manicures, the Law of Attraction, aliens, angels, and the value of a graduate degree in psychology. Her debut audiobook, AMONG US was featured on Audible’s ACX University and an Audible Editors Select Pick.
Visit her online at https://KristinaRienzi.com.