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Interview with author Starr Gardinier Reina

Today, I'd like to welcome Starr Gardinier Reina, author of The Other Side: Melinda's Story, which is being released this week on Tuesday, April 9th.

Q. Welcome to My Book Retreat! Can you tell me a little about The Other Side: Melinda's Story?

A. It's a young adult paranormal. Here's a little information about the book:

If you’re told you the story, will you believe it?

Melinda James is begging for people to believe her story. To her, it’s not a tale. 

There are cops and even family members who believe she is responsible for the mayhem that followed the death of her father.

Those events were terrifying and unbelievable. Her father begins to speak with her from the ‘Other Side,’ and warns her to take her mother and older brother Kyle and leave immediately because his death was no accident, like everyone assumed. But Melinda doesn’t take her father’s words to heart. Soon, her family members and friends begin to disappear, and all she’s left with is a ‘crazy’ story that none of the psychiatrists will believe.

Because she refuses to sway from the story she knows to be true, she is put in Skyview Haven, a mental institution. Murderers are still on the loose and they want something only Melinda has. But all Melinda wants is to get out of Skyview Haven and live her life.

As she journeys from one dangerous incident to the next, her dead best friend and family members try to help from the ‘Other Side.’ Will it be enough? Can dead people protect the living?

Does this ‘Other Side’ even exist? Will Melinda get her new doctor, Alex Leever, to finally believe her so she can be freed from the asylum? As portals open and close and a new friend arrives on the scene to perhaps protect or destroy Melinda’s well-being, she must find a way to understand that the voices speaking are sending a dire warning: that the killers from the past still exist and are beginning to get far too close for comfort.

Q. That sounds pretty exciting! How did you come up with the idea for that book?

A. I'm not sure to be honest. The idea popped into my head and begged me to write it. The characters wanted me to forsake all other book ideas and write them. Sounds weird, right? Have you ever got an idea into your head that won't let go? You keep thinking about it and thinking about it until you have no choice but to do it? That's how it was for this book.

Q. The Other Side is a young adult novel, but your other novels are adult thrillers. Which genre do you prefer as a writer?

A. I honestly prefer the young adult paranormal. After going back and looking at my thrillers after I wrote the "The Other Side," I felt something was missing in the thrillers. I realized what it was. My true voice. I found it writing the young adult paranormal.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. I'm working on book two in "The Other Side." It's not Melinda's story, but she will be intricately involved. I can't say anymore yet because I've yet to write it! :)

Q. What sorts of relationships and experiences do you most like to explore in your writing?

A. Now that's a question I've never been asked before. As to experiences, my characters must face some type of crisis, something that could change the way they've previously lived. For example, take Melinda in "The Other Side": From the time she begins her story, she changes and grows tremendously and it's because of certain realizations she faces as well as narrowly missing being killed.

Q. What genres and authors do you most enjoy reading?

A. Obviously I love the paranormal. Alexandra Sokolov is a great author for that. I love reading others as well: crime, mystery, thriller and some horror.

Q. What do you enjoy doing when you're not reading?

A. If I'm not working on the magazine (Suspense Magazine), I'm working my day job as a paralegal. If I'm not doing either those, it's writing.

Thank you so much for visiting My Book Retreat!

You can connect with Starr Gardinier Reina on Facebook, Twitter, her blog or her website.

Check out the book trailer for The Other Side

Starr Gardinier Reina's bio:

A paralegal by day, she’s an author by night. Apart from being an award winning author for her short story "Cut", Reina has appeared in a blaze and made her mark on the literary world with her Ivanovich Series. The first is “In the Name of Revenge”, the second, “Deadly Decisions” and the third, "One Major Mistake" was released July 10, 2012. Having studied and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing, she has found her unique style and is known for her works' distinctive voice, making every character stand out.

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

Reina is an executive editor for Suspense Magazine. She has been interviewed in the newspaper and on the radio with relation to her fiction work. She has been a co-host on Suspense Radio.

Reina is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter and nationally. She has won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. She has always been active in events. As co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, she arranged the weekend-long event to help authors from all over network, learn and share their work with the public. Reina has also been instrumental in compiling authors and planning a local author event at Barnes and Noble in Ventura, California along with the store’s event manager.

Please read more about Starr at or visit her blog at


  1. Sounds like an exciting plot that would also make a great scary movie!!!


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