~If it is to be~it’s up to me~
Reyna Hawk, American author of romantic suspense Valentine/Petrilo Series, the standalone paranormal Angels & Arrows, and the psychological thriller The Alter-Ego of Insanity, is with us today to chat about her novels and her writing life. She is a 45 year old mother of one son and grandmother to one beautiful 4 year old little girl. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio Reyna has always loved writing and story-telling. Her passion for telling stories began at a very young age when she was making up stories to tell her school friends. Reyna has an Associate of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology. Other than writing Reyna also has a passion for photography and image manipulation; when she’s not writing she can be found wandering parks and cemeteries taking photographs.
Hello Reyna, thank you so much for coming in. Let’s first visit your newly release: The Alter-Ego of Insanity—a psychological thriller about a mafia boss’s son that discovers he’s a necrophiliac. Would you be so kind to give readers a one-sentence synopsis of this book?
At the age of 18 Gino Poletti discovers not only is his father the Boss to one of Chicago’s biggest crime families; but also that he himself is a necrophiliac?
You have an Associate of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology. Is this book based on your interest in these fields?
Somewhat, my Associate’s degree in Psychology helped me to understand and better write about those that are mentally ill. The Bachelor in Cultural Anthropology helped me to study those with the fascination for the dead and just how ordinary they see themselves; many seeing nothing wrong with their lifestyle.
How real are your characters?
I think they are very real characters. They are the type of people that you would find living next door to you; then when the secret comes out about whom they really are everyone in the neighborhood is shocked to learn that these types of people would be living such normal lives.
What compelled you to write this book?
Well my niece and I had discussed a book with this basic platform; it did not originally start off this way. I can honestly say this is one of those books with characters that literally took over and wrote the book themselves. I wanted something different and dark from what I had normally written; and I sure got it.
How long did it take you to write The Alter-Ego of Insanity?
Surprisingly very short; if I add up the time of writing, editing, and proofreading then maybe a week.
How did you come up with the title?
I actually had help with that. I couldn’t decide and was discussing it with my cousin. I wanted something that spoke about Gino’s mental state and his desire to live a normal life. After turning over many titles my cousin suggested it and I thought it was perfect.
What is your favorite line in this book?
“Well ole Dave here is about to become part of the concrete slab in the new bakery.” Angelo laughed.
Reyna, how do you see writing?
I don’t see it as a job. I see it as my career but also my escape from reality.
When did you first know you just had to write?
When I was about 25 I had the overwhelming urge and desire to put the stories in my head onto paper and share them with the world.
Who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?
I would have to say there are several: Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell, VC Andrews, Mary Higgins Clark, and Charlaine Harris. Each one of them have a uniqueness about their writing that makes their stories not only believable, but pulls you into the scenes leaving you to feel to like you’ve lived the life of the character.
“Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio Reyna has always loved writing and storytelling. From a very young age she was making up stories to tell her friends.” What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?
The biggest joy is to have someone compliment your writing and tell you how reading the book really touched them in some way. I find it fascinating how each person will have a bit of a different perspective on the characters.
Tell us about The Valentine/Petrilo trilogy. Would you be so kind to give readers a one-sentence synopsis of each title?
Looking Through Blind Eyes: Janie Valentine has to cope with the reality of learning that the love of her life is not who she once thought he was and the untimely suspicious death of her brother.
Reflection of Secrets: The world Janie has come to live and love turns out to be nothing of what she had dreamed it to be.
Shattered Visions Haunted Memories: Janie’s reality turns to suspicion and vindictiveness as the past comes knocking on her door.
Revealing Visions: This is where it all began for Janie, Daniel, Rico and Malachi are brought into perspective.
Seeing Karma: Twenty years has passed since Janie’s fateful fall off the cliff in NC, yet here that day is coming back to haunt not only her but also her and Rico’s daughter Sophia.
How about Angels and Arrows, Reyna?
“Angels and Arrows” (Co-written by L.K. Russ) was released in October of 2012 and is based on true paranormal events that happened either to the authors or a close family member.
Would you like to elaborate on the true paranormal part?
Many of the events that occurred in the book occurred to me or someone close to me. I am currently in the process of completely revising the book and I think many people will want to read the new edition even if they’ve read the first one. I have included many events that happened during and after the first initial writing. I also have changed the point of view from third person to first person.
How do you find the experience of co-authoring and how did you manage this?
It was a bit tricky but a lot of fun to include one of the main witnesses to the events in on the writing.
Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?
That would be two people, my cousin and best friend Lisa and my niece and also best friend Jen. It’s important because I feel that at the end of the day when I am doubting myself, there is someone in my corner to show me why I chose to publish my work and to knock sense back into me.
What are you working on right now? Tell us your latest news.
Well right now I have two things in the works. I am revising Angels and Arrows and I am writing another “paranormal” stand alone titled Between the Pages. I will release more information on it as I get further along; right now it is the beginning stages and I don’t like to give too much detail about it.
How much do you have in common with your protag?
Anyone who knows me would say a great deal! LOL
That means you’re a fabulous friend and mother 🙂 What are your hobbies besides writing?
Reading, photography, and spending time with my family and friends.
What is your other profession? When do you find the time to write?
Here lately I have been tutoring but I would consider writing my profession. I write at any opportunity that I can or when an idea comes to me; albeit that may be at 3am.
You are a grandmother to one beautiful 4-year-old little girl. Would you like to share your most memorable experience/moment with this little one?
This little one cracks me up every day with her words and actions. I’ll never forget the day she came home from preschool and announced “I’m going to marry Preston when I grow up. Of course, after I go to college and get a career.” Smart girl!!
Tell us a bit about what matters to you.
Wow, there is so much! I believe wholeheartedly in the Golden Rule. To me if everyone practiced that there would be less drama, prejudice, racism, discrimination, and hatred in this world. I think each person needs to be grateful for the things they have instead of unhappy and miserable for the things they don’t have. It is also about time women woke up and realized that playing “dumb” and the damsel in distress routine is not attractive.
How has your published work influenced others and their attitude towards you?
This has been good and bad. Many people have stepped up to show moral support and then others chose to walk away. I’m not sure why, but they have. However, instead of dwelling on it I chose to take the high road and understand they are the ones missing out, not me. Many have come forward and said that inspired them to begin writing again; which always brings a smile on my face. All I want is for my writing to matter and to make a difference to someone.
What one thing is important for your readers/audience to know about you? Why?
That I am a real person with real thoughts and feelings. Who I am online is who I am in real life. I am goofy, funny, and yes sometimes a dork but I’d have it no other way. I do not want to be this uptight proper person; it’s just not me. I want them to know this so that they know it is not an act. I am who I am. I get cranky, sad, hurt, happy, and goofy just like everyone else.
Any tips for other authors in marketing?
My suggestions are to try everything at least once and go with what works best. Keep in mind even though something may not have worked once, doesn’t mean next month it won’t work miracles.
Thank you! Really appreciate your visit. Best wishes for your work!
Readers, I hope you have enjoyed meeting Reyna. Her books are available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. Come follow her latest updates from her website, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook’s page and group, Goodreads, Pinterest, Author’s Den and AuthorsDB.
And here is my mini review of The Alter-Ego of Insanity:
Do Not Read This Book Before Sleep!
Book Title: The Alter-Ego of Insanity
Author: Reyna Hawk
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mafia
The novella opens with the warning that it contains graphic language and graphic violence, that some scenes contains blood and gore; and that it is intended for very mature adults only. In other words, faint-hearted me shouldn’t be reading this. But I trudged on in trepidation.
Under one of Chicago’s bridges Gino Poletti witnesses his father shooting his colleague and the violence gives Gino euphoria. The blood smells wonderful to Gino and the dead body thrills him. It is his 18th birthday; his mafia father wants him to learn the family “business”.
Alas, his father doesn’t kill for fun, but as the last resort. So Gino satisfy his newfound fascination for tortures by watching gore videos of an online necrophiliac community. However, this proves addictive and life can only get worse…
This is a very sad story written with clinical detachment by an expert of the mentally ill. Gripping my seat in fear, I’m not the right person to review this kind of material, but the author sure knows what she is talking about. Surprising and shocking, The Alter-Ego of Insanity shows readers the way some people live. It could be that charming neighbours of yours…
If you are brave, and strong, and curious, this one is for you. Just don’t read it before you go to sleep!