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By DAN PETERS
3 JANUARY 2022
Kristina Rienzi, M.A., C.P.C., is a positive psychology coach and bestselling author of both fiction and non-fiction who has dedicated her life through psychology, coaching, leadership and writing to inspire and empower others. Her debut self-help book, 5 Happy Choices: The Simple Way to a Happier Life is an Amazon #1 New Release and Bestseller. Among Us, her latest novel was featured on Audible’s ACX University and an Audible Editor’s Select Pick. Kristina also holds an ELI-MP, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, and CiHS. She lives at the Jersey Shore with her husband and daughter.
You’re organizing a party. Which two authors, dead or alive, do you invite?
David Baldacci and Lisa Scottolini. I’ve met them both in person, and they’re not only brilliant storytellers, but they have spectacular personalities---captivating, hilarious and kind. They would be the life of the party! And they’d get us introverts out of our shells. My kind of people!
Which writers — working today do you admire most?
Too many to name, but my absolute favorite author for her writing and heart, is Jodi Picoult. She tackles controversial issues in her books with grace and respect. I also met her in person and she’s a sweetheart. Such an inspiration all around.
What do you read when you’re working on a book? And what kind of reading do you avoid?
I don’t avoid anything in particular, I go for what interests me at the time. But, more often than not, when I’m writing a book, I lean toward genres in line with what I’m working on. For now, I’m super into non-fiction because I’ve made the leap to self-help from thrillers, so I’m reading people like Mel Robbins, Gabrielle Bernstein, Brene Brown and other modern thought leaders and inspirational authors.
What genres do you especially enjoy reading?
I absolutely love thrillers, it’s one of the reasons I write them! I also love any other genres under mystery, suspense, paranormal, science fiction, and the like. I truly enjoy cozy mysteries as well, especially around the holidays. I’m a lover of all books and genres, fiction and non-fiction alike. I go with what’s pulling me to read, as I do with my writing. I trust my gut!
What books and authors have impacted your writing career?
Absolutely Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, Lisa Gardner, Karen Slaughter, Lisa Scottolini, Lisa Jackson, Lisa Unger, and the late Anne Rice have impacted my writing career in so many ways. They inspired me to write fiction because I loved how they told such gripping stories, their characters and plotlines taking me away to an exciting place. I admire these women authors, still reading their books and supporting them, not only as a reader, but as an author. I give so much credit to the ones who have gone before me and made it in this business---much love and respect!
What kind of reader were you as a child?
I was a vivacious reader as a child, devouring as much I could get my hands on! I loved scary stories, still do, and mysteries alike. Any story that kept me curious to turn the page, and up at night, was for me! This love of reading turned into a love of writing at a young age, feeding my passion for stories to this day.
If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? And what would you want to know?
Stephen King! I need to talk to him about writing and life, beyond his insightful book. I want to know what makes him tick (the psychologist in me) and how his “What ifs” turn into such intricately spun tales that keep you turning the pages for years to come. His mind intrigues me as an author and human. He’s brilliant, funny and a natural. I’m in awe of his work and would love to sit down with him for a cup of coffee.
Which writer would you want to write your life story?
I’d have to go with Jodi Picoult. Her words sing to me, and I think she would make my life sound a heck of a lot more interesting than its reality: a non-glamourous, nerdy author who followed her dreams, above all.