Author: Kristina Rienzi
Book: Among Us
What is the main plot of Among Us?
Among Us is a science fiction-based government conspiracy thriller set at the Jersey Shore. The main character, Marci Simon, lives a double life. She’s a conservative English professor by day and a controversial alien blogger by night. The story centers on a classified document that collides her opposing worlds in an explosive revelation of deadly secrets. Marci is forced to embark on an unstoppable quest to expose the truth but is unprepared to battle the secret government agency hunting her down, determined to silence her forever.
How did you come up with the idea for the novel?
I’m fascinated by the mysteries of the universe and the government! After watching too many conspiracy shows, researching Freedom of Information Act documents, and contemplating my own fantasies of what-might-be-reality for years, I was driven to create a tale using fact-based fiction. I hoped to spark questions in my readers’ minds like: Are we alone in the universe? What is the government really hiding from us? What if everything we thought we knew about the world was a lie? Among Us was a passion project that raised more questions than answers for me, which is why I love this story so much. It opened my mind. I hope it did the same for my readers.
Why do you think people read thrillers?
Thrillers raise the hair on the back of your neck. They breed goosebumps on your arms. You look over your shoulder. Sit on the edge of your seat. Your heart races. A good thriller makes you turn the page, ignoring everything else around you until you reach the end. Thrillers are exciting and make us feel alive. I think that’s why readers love them. That’s why I do.
Why do you write thriller/mystery fiction?
Creating the excitement and fast-paced emotional rollercoaster is as thrilling, if not more, than reading it. Writing in the mystery, suspense, and thriller genres is a challenge. It highlights my fears, scenarios that keep me up at night, and forces me to face them. Except I’m in control of the outcome and that’s powerful.
What is the story behind your branding logo?
Embrace the Unknown is central to each of my stories. I write about fierce women who risk their lives and embrace the unknown to become who they were always meant to be. It’s also a mantra for all of us (in the real world) to face our fears and embrace the unknown in life.
What is the most challenging part of writing a novel?
Is there a part that’s not challenging? I find all of it a challenge, which is why it’s my passion. If I had to highlight just one aspect, craft aside, it’s the author mindset. Battling myself on every level to write the best story I can is never-ending. From sitting down to write, typing the words day after day, and actually finishing the book (success defined for me!) to not giving up over a bad review, not believing the negativity that’s out there, and knowing I have stories in me that beg to be told, I’m learning from the obstacles, instead of internalizing them.
How have you grown as a writer in this process?
I’m a stronger person and a better writer than I was when I started writing professionally almost ten years ago. I’ve learned that craft is a critical key to success. As is a positive attitude and perseverance. And, of course, writing a fantastic story. I’m focused on learning and doing whatever it takes to grow in my writing, and as a person. I take courses. Read as much as I can. Watch what others who are successful have done. I show up and I never give up. There’s always more to learn and I’m committed to learning with each book I write.
What are you working on writing now?
I’m currently writing a paranormal thriller called, Unleash the Wicked. Like my other stories, it’s set at the Jersey Shore and 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 movie can you watch over and over again?
Jaws. The suspense is everything. Living only a few miles from the beach, my happy place, Jaws forces me to admit sharks do roam beneath the surface and close to the shore. I love them because they terrify me, but I never want to encounter one in the water. The fear is primal and there’s nothing more intoxicating to me than that.
What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?
It’s incredibly rewarding to work, but no easy ride. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, a juggling act, and a test of motivation and self-esteem. Perfect for this control freak, but as equally overwhelming. Acknowledging I couldn’t do it all alone, I hired stellar professionals to help me and it has made all the difference. Most importantly, it takes everything I have, my whole heart and soul, to produce a book. It’s not only a professional journey but also a personal one. I’m forever grateful to have the opportunity and drive, to experience.