Happy pub day to Kristina Rienzi, a fellow Italian-American writer I know on social media (and hopefully will get to meet in person one day!) I’ve really enjoyed following Kristina’s journey in this writing business and am thrilled to offer this writer interview so everyone can learn more about Kristina and her debut novel.
1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?
With a demanding day job and fierce commute, I do most of my writing work at night and on the weekends. I say writing work, because there’s so much more to being an author than just hitting your word count. In fact, I even take my writing routine a step further. I handle the business of writing, social media and blogging weeknights after work when my mind can easily stay on point in business mode. Then on the weekends, I do the majority of my creative writing. I have no problem spending up to twelve hours a day (depending on my social calendar) in my office on lockdown, as I call it. I work best when I can just sit down by myself and write. It’s my sacred alone time.
2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?
We battle. I have a serious standoff with the blank page. I’ll sit there and stare at it, summoning something (anything) to the surface. I have patience when it comes to writing, so I usually win! Once the ideas start to flow, I just write and I don’t stop until I get the story out in all of its imperfect glory.
When all else fails, I drink a lot of coffee, eat candy and turn up the music! I figure that if I’m not productive, I might as well be happy.
3. Who do you read, or recommend other writers read, in regards to craft?
I’m a huge fan of Anne Rice, Lisa Gardner and Jodi Picoult. The way they tell a story, from the beauty of their words, to how they string all of the pieces together – be it paranormal, mystery or romance– makes me want to be a better writer. Simply put, they know how to captivate a reader. My goal as a writer is to become some crazy combination of the three, with my own twist of course. Hey, I have big dreams!
4. Who do you read for fun?
There’s nothing off limits for me when it comes to reading. I’ll read anything. However, I find I’m most drawn to stories with dark elements, fiction and non-fiction alike. I love to be scared and test the limits of my fear. I’m a huge fan of authors like Dean Koontz, Charlaine Harris and Jonathan Maberry who make endless possibilities for reality believable. It’s one of the reasons I write what I write – I love mixing the normal with the paranormal.
Reading those type of stories is the perfect outlet for me to safely confront my deepest fears. While it happens often in the paranormal genre, many times it’s a twist on reality that terrifies me the most. You did a fantastic job of it with Blessed are the Dead! I was traveling across the country alone when I read your book and, needless to say, I called home a lot!
5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.
I remember it clearly. It was in the fifth grade when my short story about a cursed medallion won an award. Apparently, my mind was quite dark at such a young age! I remember being so proud of my construction paper book, which I brought home to my parents and proceeded to tell them how I was going to become an author one day. I’ve been writing in some fashion ever since then. There’s always been a comfort in writing for me, and a part of me is still chasing the praise I received so many years ago.
6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Read everything you can get your hands on, and write every chance you get. Then write some more, and don’t stop. No matter how hard it is and no matter what people say. No matter anything!
Also, put yourself out there. Join that writing group, take that class, go to that conference – connect with other writers. They’ll give you the confidence boost you need to keep going, and they’ll be your shoulder to cry on when all seems lost. Everyone says writing is a lonely art, but it doesn’t have to be.
7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?
Resilience. The ability to get back up after you’ve been kicked down. The determination to keep writing when life is so hard that you’d rather bury your head in the sand. The drive to push yourself beyond the limits you thought possible simply because you believe in yourself. It’s making a decision to be a writer and not letting any obstacle get in your way, not even the ones in your own mind.
8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?
Easy! Wine and pizza. I am Italian after all.
9. Do you have a favorite book or movie?
Yikes! This question always stumps me because I’ve loved so many for so many reasons. Okay, so if my life depended on picking just one of each, I’d have to say my favorite book is “The Glass Castle” and my favorite movie is “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” – 1971 version. Deep down, I need to believe no matter how hard life is, dreams really do come true.
10. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?
I’m a girly, girl in so many ways, or as I like to say, “I’m fancy on the inside.” That is, until it comes to my West Virginia University Mountaineers. I have no problem swearing like a sailor at the top of my lungs over a bad play, but I love my alma mater all the same. Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer.
Oh, and I love wine. A lot.
My debut novel CHOOSING EVIL was published by Midnight Frost Books on November 25, 2014. Take a peek at the blurb on Goodreads.com. If you like it, please add it to your shelf!
Stop by to learn more about me, and CHOOSING EVIL at http://kristinarienzi.com.