Nina Atwood - Mystery, Romance, and Psychological Profiling
Nina Atwood is a licensed psychotherapist and an award-winning executive coach. A five-times-published self-help author, Nina recently turned her pen to fiction with her first novel, Unlikely Return. Free Fall is her second, soon to be followed by more. Nina lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and two adorable fur babies. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Free Fall.
Please give us a short introduction to what Free Fall is about.
Free Fall is a suspenseful ride! A woman realizes that her seemingly ideal life is a house of cards. She must quickly solve the mystery of who tried to kill her before they succeed the second time around, while picking up the pieces of her emotionally shattered heart and mending her body.
What inspired you to write about someone who wakes up severely injured?
There’s no more vulnerable experience than severe physical injury, and I wanted that as a starting point, as a wake-up call to the main character.
Tell us more about Hannah Lee Winn. What makes her tick?
Hannah Lee Winn is two sides of a complex coin. On the one hand, she’s smart, very successful, and confident. That’s her business side. On the other hand, she’s inexperienced and insecure. That’s her personal, relationship side. She has to quickly get much more insightful on the personal side, or… she will fall victim again to someone who wants her dead.
You are a licensed psychotherapist. How has this influenced your writing?
I understand the dark, messy side of human nature. I’ve been privy to people’s pain, fear, and insecurities, as well as their life dramas. People often share things with a therapist that they share nowhere else, and that gives me unique insight from which to write.
Your book includes elements from several genres, including mystery, romance, and thrillers. Was this intentional?
What is a good mystery without a touch of romance? I also wanted to push to the edge of the thriller genre without going all the way to Dean Koontz. I love Dean’s work, but mine is a little less… scary. And yes, all of it is intentional.
Readers say Free Fall is a real page-turner. How did you pull this off?
I thought of it as scenes in a movie, each one building on the previous ones, without a lot of filler. The idea was to keep it moving, and the tension building. I’m glad to see that it works!
Trust is a prevalent theme in this story. Why?
Trust is the most fundamental element of relationships. Without it, you have nothing. With it, you have everything. When you think you have it, but you don’t, your life isn’t what you believe it to be, and can easily shatter. I wanted trust as a theme because it resonates with everyone and because it is so powerful.
Which of your characters was the most challenging to create?
Without a doubt, Kari. I can’t say much here because I don’t want to spoil the storyline, but she is a damaged person who still manages to evoke a tiny bit of sympathy. She’s highly complex, and that was a challenge.
What did you have the most fun with when writing Free Fall?
I enjoyed introducing Hannah Lee’s best friend, Danielle. She is fun, engaging, and embodies the elements of any great BFF—love, fierce loyalty, and the ability to go to the mat for you. All while being a real man-killer. [smile]
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
I start with a powerful “what if” question, a central character, and a story arc with a beginning, a middle, and an end. With those elements in mind, I sit down, roll up my sleeves, and begin.
What are you working on right now?
The next book is titled About Roxanne: A Psychological Thriller. Roxanne, the main character, is complex, damaged, and a potential heroine. Her story is one that I hope will be as fascinating to readers as it is to me.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Readers can obtain my FREE novella here: Free Novella – Nina Atwood (ninaatwoodauthor.com). From there, they can send emails, shoot me questions, and invite me to book clubs for virtual roundtables. Just about anything goes!