We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristina Smeriglio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristina, how do you think about risk?
With risk, comes freedom. I took a risk writing about my personal life in my novel, Falling Into Fire, and I wouldn’t trade that trying experience for the pain I felt keeping it inside all those years. Although the novel is a fantasy, the main character’s thoughts and experiences mirror my own. Sharing my story allowed me to overcome a painful past by turning my trauma into art, an art that others can now experience. With this publication, there have been many questions regarding my personal life. Though some questions have brought up old doubts and painful memories, I take the risk in having these conversations. These conversations are necessary, not only because they allow me to grow but also because I know there are others that have experienced similar events to the ones I have written, and through the written and spoken word, we all have an opportunity to heal and grow. Ultimately, in my story, my main character becomes empowered and, thus, as have I. And it is because I took a risk. Now, others have the opportunity to as well.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a writer. The journey to becoming a writer has been both easy and difficult, to be honest. Writing has always come naturally to me, it is how I best express myself. Ever since I was a teenager and I began to more strongly feel the depths of emotions related to social interactions and relationships, writing became the escape through which I was able to process my experiences. It was automatic. And it has been that way since. But the experience has also been challenging. Most of my writing involves writing about the psyche and navigating traumatic experiences, especially in terms of understanding oneself and one’s relationships with others. Though writing about these topics comes easily, it is also difficult when confronted with a part of me that needs healing. Working through those wounds can be extremely difficult. Writing Falling Into Fire was filled with moments of uncertainty and doubt. But it was an essential part of my growth and transformation, both as a person and as a writer, and it has offered me my greatest lesson learned thus far: take the risk and you’ll see how much greater the reward. And that’s what I want people to know, that despite my doubt, despite the fears that others tried to instill in me when they found out I was going to pursue writing and share my story, I took a risk and did it. With this story in particular, I wrote so that others could heal in the privacy of their own hearts as they read silently, or feel empowered to boldly share their own story out loud, it is also for those who have no idea how to even begin to be there for a loved one going through a tough time. Life has its complexities and it’s a task to write about it all in one story. But life is also simple, we’re here to heal and love each other. We’re here for one another.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m from Miami, FL, I’ve lived here all my life. Though I have to be honest and share I don’t know all the awesome places to visit in my hometown, there are several places very dear to me that I love to share with those closest to me. To start, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is one of my favorite places in the world. I fell in love with it the first time I went there on a field trip to the Renaissance Festival. I remember loving it so much that I later applied for a job there and actually worked there–twice! So, of course, it’s on top of my list. I also love visiting Miracle Mile, particularly Hillstone, my favorite restaurant (and another place I loved so much I eventually worked at), and Barnes and Noble. There’s also a Books & Books there, which I absolutely love. Though not exactly Miami, I would also suggest Dania and Hollywood Beach as places to visit. The Quarterdeck on Dania Beach Pier and the Hollywood Beach Theatre, and pretty much anywhere on the Broadwalk, are wonderful and, honestly, pretty magical places to go to. I’ve always enjoyed the vibe there, so I would definitely add that to the list of places to take my best friend.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To be honest, everyone in my life deserves credit. That may sound cheesy, but as a writer, it’s absolutely true. My life, my story, is a product of every person I’ve met, and thought and experience I have had. To be specific, my family has had one of the greatest impacts on me and my story. Family being blood relatives and those friends who have been so close to me that they are considered family, like the twins, Danny and Laz, of Nunez Motion Pictures, who have been amazing friends and are actually the ones who filmed the promo video for my book. My thesis advisor, Dr. Juliette Kitchens, also made a great impact on me. While writing my Master’s Thesis, the previous version of my story, she was the first person to shift my mindset about my experiences from self-sabotage and victim-blaming to understanding, acceptance, and self-empowerment. My mentor, Dalis, also played an integral part in the writing of my story, especially towards the end of the process. Her support helped me tremendously as I went into the depths of my being and bravely confronted myself and my experiences as part of my commitment to tell my story in the most honest way possible, no holding back. And finally, I would like to thank my editor and publisher Emanuel F. Camacho of Caffeine and Ink Publishing. Thank you, Manny, for believing in me and my story, for taking a chance on the project and supporting me from start to finish. Thank you, everyone, for being a part of my journey.
Photo “Danny filming Kristy” credit: Lazaro Nunez, Nunez Motion Pictures Photo of “Falling Into Fire” credit: Caffeine and Ink Publishing