On the heels of a bad breakup, Amelia Montgomery heads home for the holidays. Her hometown is a far cry from the metropolis where she lives now, but not nearly far enough away from Jake Grayson.
Amelia’s family festivities turn terrifying when a distraught Jake shows up uninvited on the Montgomery’s doorstep. Jake will not stop until he possesses Amelia; one way or another, she will be his.
In a chilling nightmare, one man’s obsession is so evil, it’s deadly. Amelia must fight for her life, and the lives of those she loves most, in the only place she’s ever called home…WINTER ROAD.
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How does your psychology background enter into your writing? Have you ever or do you now practice counseling? Do you have a particular theoretical model–Freudian, Jungian, something else?
Psychology has always been one of my first loves. Second to becoming a writer, my career of choice had always been to become a psychologist. I wanted to help people, but even more so, understand them so I could help them help themselves. This goal saw me through six years of college to obtain a master’s degree in counseling psychology and work experience in the mental health industry that has shaped who I am today.
As a therapist, I primarily worked with people suffering from chronic mental illness in both individual and group settings. It was a short-lived career when, at a very young age, I didn’t feel evolved enough to make a difference. I wanted to see the result of my work, which in the counseling field, likely wouldn’t have happened for years, if ever. Counseling is a process, one I was too ambitious and impatient to allow to happen. At the time, it wasn’t a good fit, although I’m not convinced that won’t change in the future.
My theoretical model of choice, if I ever went on to practice counseling as a profession, is cognitive behavior therapy. Specifically, I’m enamored with rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) developed by the late Dr. Albert Ellis, who I had the pleasure of meeting in graduate school. REBT promotes emotional well-being through the achievement of goals and a healthy belief system. While not working in this field any longer, I find I still use versions of Ellis’s REBT techniques in my everyday life when tackling issues or helping others. I’m drawn to REBT because I believe it’s highly effective and focused on the positive side of psychology, one that empowers others, versus the negative side that focuses on what’s wrong.
However, through my education and work, I found my real interest fell heavily in the area of psychopathology, which is what I carry over into my writing today. I explore the dark side of the human mind and behavior in my fiction. I delve deep into the mind of the psychopath, or killer, in an attempt to understand why I believe people do the evil things they do. While there isn’t always an apparent reason in life, I enjoy writing a believable explanation, no matter how abnormal, into my stories. Writing suspense thrillers is the perfect marriage of psychology and creative fiction, one I know will last forever.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Kristina Rienzi writes suspense thrillers set on the East Coast. She is currently working on her fourth novel.
Kristina received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology/anthropology from West Virginia University, as well as her master’s degree in psychological counseling from Monmouth University. When she’s not writing, Kristina loves reading, painting, relaxing at the beach, watching terrifying television, rooting for her West Virginia Mountaineers or spending time with her loved ones, wine in hand.
She lives at the Jersey Shore with her husband and three fur beasts (two dogs and a cat).