Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Interview with Starr Reina

1) Please tell us about what you like to write? List your websites, what you do and anything else you'd like our readers and writers to know about you. (Please list your accomplishments too).

"I am an award winning author for my short story "Cut" and have penned the Ivanovich Series, in the thriller/crime genre, featuring Pavel Ivanovich. The first is “In the Name of Revenge”, the second, “Deadly Decisions” and I am working on the third as you read this. I enjoy making every character stand out.

Flanking Ivanovich's side in "Deadly Decisions" is Teresa Mancini, who vies with Ivanovich for readers' attention. According to J.M. DeLuc, who was "raised in an Italian family", Teresa "is all your characters". I am also the author of young adult novella "Cruel Whispers" and its sequel novel "Cruel Past".

Additionally, I am an executive editor for Suspense Magazine. I have been interviewed in the newspaper and on the radio with relation to my fiction work and have been a co-host on Suspense Radio.

I have won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. I am a member of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter and nationally.

I have a free quarterly newsletter called "WhoDunIt" that has many benefits for not only authors but readers as well and can be subscribed to at:

2) You are a very accomplished author. Which accomplishment are you most proud of? Can you tell us about your writing schedule? When do you write?

I can't choose one accomplishment over the other that I'm proud of. Each time I pen a good story, short or novel-length, that readers enjoy, is an accomplishment. As to my writing schedule, truthfully, I do so when I get the time. Since I work a full time job, it's generally done in the evenings and on weekends. However, once in a while, I take a 'sanity saver' long weekend somewhere alone. I usually spend that time writing, uninterrupted.

3) I see you like to writer thriller/crime novels. What started the path in that direction? When did you start writing?

When I was around thirteen years old, I began reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys mystery series. They enthralled me enough to make me think I could write something like that. And so I tried. I wrote about four chapters of which I was very proud. I offered up my prose to my father, the biggest fan of reading in our family. He sat down and read every word then proceeded to give me a half hour lecture on plagiarism. I was crushed because they were my words and being at a very influential age, it dashed my hopes of ever writing, so I stopped. I didn't put pen to paper again until I was an adult. Ironically, the first in my young adult series, "Cruel Whispers" was released on Father's Day. How fitting.

4) Well, I am glad that you didn’t stop writing. Our families can either be our biggest fans, or our biggest critics. We should encourage, not discourage. Can you tell us a bit about your novel, Cruel Whispers?

Absolutely, we should only encourage in that respect. "Cruel Whispers" and "Cruel Past" are young adult books. I've since changed gears to more older readers. "In the Name of Revenge" is the first in my Ivanovich series, followed by "Deadly Decisions" and coming soon, "One Major Mistake." Although the latter is a working title since it’s unpublished and subject to change. This new thriller series is abound with crime and action.

5) Do you usually have more than one story going at a time? If so, how do you manage your time?

Actually, yes. At present, I have two different series I'm working on. I can't say that I divide my day up in equal parts. I write in the manuscript that 'talks' to me the most at the moment.

6) Is there a message in your novel(s) that you’d like our readers to grasp?

No particular message in my novels themselves, but I do have one. Well, it's more of an inspirational theory. When children are young and at impressionable ages, never should a parent discourage their ideals or thwart their aspirations. You never know where they may lead.

7) Do you use characters of people that you know? How do you develop your characters?

My characters are a mix of fictional composition. They don't come from one person I know, but a menagerie. They may have traits derived from some I've met, but they are their own 'persons'.

8) What do you find challenging in your writing?

The most challenging thing I face really is time. Because I work full time, it's not always easy to carve out a section of my day, but when I do, it's not necessarily when my creative juices are flowing. To help with that, I try and write something everyday. It doesn't matter what it is, just anything.

9) Every writer uses a different method of formatting. Do you use an outline? Do you come up with a title first, and then a storyline? I have actually started writing, not knowing where I was going. Do you know the start and the ending before you write?

Those are very loaded questions! I'll try and address each. I don't per se, use an outline. I get an idea and begin putting it on paper. As the story progresses, I find mapping out what is happening in each chapter aids with what I want to happen next. I don't think about titles. They are secondary to any story. The main reason for a good title is to appeal to the reader and of course, it must have something to do with the context of your story. The alpha and omega...the beginning and the end... So many, many times I've began chapter one only to go back and change it completely. As a matter of fact, that is just what happened in "One Major Mistake", a third in the Ivanovich series I'm currently writing. As to the ending, toward the first third or so of the book, I begin forming an ending in my mind. Unfortunately, that ending typically ends up changing by the time I actually get there.

10) Do you have any last words for us?

Writing is my passion. It's not a hobby and unfortunately, I haven't been able to call it a career yet. But no matter, writing for me is in my soul. I have to tell stories. There are millions of ideas in my mind screaming to get onto paper. Some make it, some don't. Regardless, I can't stop creating yarns for readers to enjoy. If anyone wishes to contact me, please feel free to email me at You can visit my website at as well. There, you can sign up for my free e-newsletter WhoDunIt that keeps everyone updated on what I'm doing as well as what other authors are doing. Thank you for your time and for this interview.

Starr, than you for taking the time to do the interview. I know our readers and writers will learn much from you. Go out and buy her books, you'll be glad you did.

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