Friday, April 1, 2011

Author Reena Jacobs - Interview, Giveaway and Review

PhotobucketFirst off congratulations on your release of Shadow Cat!
Thank you, Melissa. :)

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

About me? Gosh. I hate talking about myself. :) How about some random facts? I have three children ranging from 4 to 18 years of age. Odd since, I’ve been 26 for so many years that I have to pull out a calculator to figure out my real age. I’ve been debating turning 27 this year though. I like the sound of it—three squared. And one more fact… I’m big into women’s sexual health.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I remember a little about the first book I tried to write. I didn’t get very far though. First of all, I grew up with the best mother in the world. It’s true. Ask any of my childhood friends. Haha Unfortunately for them, they had normal parents who constantly screwed up. So back in high school, I decided to write a story about a girl with normal parents. The first chapter (the only one I wrote) started with an argument between the girl and mom. I let my mother read it, and I swear she was disappointed. She asked me why I wanted to write a story like that. <Sigh> My wonderful mother decided to become a normal parent that day. I put my story away and didn’t bother again for over a decade. I decided to give writing a try again a couple of years ago while “in between jobs.”

I have a nice time following you on Twitter. In 140 characters or less, sum Shadow Cat for us.

An executive heads to Malaysia to save his company but gets sucked in a world of myths and legends.

What surprised you the most about the writing/publishing process?

It’s tough. I thought all I had to do was write a book then contact a publisher, and I’d have a done deal. Critters taught me that my unpolished draft was only the beginning. One thing for sure, it’s been a wild ride.

What were your inspirations for creating this story?

I don’t remember much of how Shadow Cat came to be, but much of it is based on my interests. First, I’m a huge fan of paranormal romances (PR), so the genre was an easy choice. Quite a few PR include shape-shifters, which captivates me. Since wild cats are more my thing than wolves, I went with tigers. Finally, I LOVE learning about other cultures. When I came across the tales of Orang Belang (The Striped Ones) in Malaysia, I had to bring it to life. Overall, much of the inspiration I had for the story was research driven.

Most people will/have probably found this book to leave them aching for the next book, how long did it take you to write it, and did you have any writer’s block along the way?

The first draft took about two and a half months to write, but it took me a year of off and on editing before I felt comfortable sending Shadow Cat into the world.
As far as writer’s block—I don’t exactly have that. I did write myself into a corner on more than one occasion. Other times I had difficulty trying to work out a particular aspect of the story. I kid you not, but showers are awesome for helping me through writing issues. So no writer’s block, but lack of motivation is the biggest block for me. :) I have to constantly be on guard against it, or I can lose weeks at a time.
For the next books, I have the first drafts written for the next two of the Striped Ones series. I’m in the process of editing/revising one this month.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

Most of my stories start with a single scene from a random idea or image I receive. Once I type it, other aspects of the story come to me… characters, settings, theme. Then I plot. Usually I start with the Hero’s Journey. I outline the story from start to finish (including scenes) but do find myself deviating from time to time. I also spend quite a bit of time in character development, generally after I’ve written a fair bit. It helps me get to know the characters better. As far as the stars of the show, they tend to come up with their own personality.

I just love the men in books. How did you come up with the character Eric?

I honestly have no idea. I know it’s the lamest response, but these people just seem to show up out of the blue. I generally have a plot but need characters. They get a random name if they’re lucky, but usually they’ll get something like:
[Hero] paced the room.
The details about each character tend to come in bits and pieces. So for Eric, the first thing I learned about him was his position as a CEO of a pharmaceutical company. Later, he shared how important the company was to him and why. It didn’t take long for me to realize despite his commitments, he was a selfish jerk with a conscious. As Shrek said, “Ogres have layers. Onions have layers.” Eric has layers. “You get it?” ;)

LOL You Crack me up! If you could pick one actor to portray Eric on the big screen who would it be and why?

You sure do know how to pick the tough questions. Can we do a Frankenstein thing? Like Matthew Bomer’s head on Ryan Reynold’s body? Okay… kidding. I drooled long and hard over this. Sean Faris would make a wonderful candidate. Though he’s a few inches shorter than Eric, the guy has a nice bod and head. :) Plus I’ve seen him play the jerk. I think he can pull off Eric’s attitude, no problem.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

I was thinking about that the other day. Two authors came to mind—Kresley Cole and JR Ward.

No doubt, Ward has the most memorable characters. I can easily name every one of the brothers from the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) and even if I can’t recall the names of their mates, I definitely have a picture in my head or some odd fact about them. I totally crush on the BDB.

Then we have Cole’s Immortals after Dark series. I have to admit, I can’t always remember who’s mated to whom or even their names, but she absolutely knows how to set the stakes. And because of the way Ms. Cole lays everything on the line, I think it’s easy to care about the characters. By the time I finish the first chapter, I’m thinking, how is Main Character going to get out of this? I’m glued.

Tough choice, but I’m going with setting strong stakes is most important. If the stakes are high enough, it’d difficult not to care about the characters even if they’re not as memorable in the future.

This was a great story set with different worlds. Was there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Staying focused. I spent a lot of time researching this book. I can’t count the times the internet sucked me into its web of information overload. Obscure things would catch my eyes—stuff which had no place in the book, but was interesting, nonetheless.

PhotobucketWhat were your feelings when you first saw the cover of your finished book?

I actually designed the cover myself. So there was never an actual unveiling. Just me working hard to make it not look too cheesy. :) I know I drove my family crazy—which is better? This or this? Do you think I should change something insignificant that only I’ll notice? Okay… maybe not that bad, but I know that’s what they thought.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Though I did touch on the environment, I didn’t have a particular message I wanted to push. It’d just be nice for people to take notice of our rare resources. Other than that, I think this novel and my other longer works have more to say about me than anything. Cultures fascinate me. Americanism is quite popular. Individuals come to the United States and conform. Folks in other countries adopt American trends. I just want to appreciate the rich world out there and hope others will appreciate it enough not try to suppress it.

Come Visit Reena Jacobs!

Her Website -

Find Her Book At:


My Review:

What a steamy read this was! This book has a very different storyline then I am use to. Which of course I find completely refreshing! It takes place in Malaysia. Which is a 1st for me. I loved hearing the beautifully described tropical rain forest, full of histories and colorful culture. The main characters are Berani who is a Whertiger, and down to earth Eric are drawn to each other so strongly. Despite their language barrier, they somehow found a way to communicate. I Don’t forget Brian. I loved his flirtatious and witty personality. The Ending was great. I loved how it draws you in, till you feel you are there. I will leave you feeling completely satisfying. It will keep you wanting more till the very end. What is a book with out something to freak you out. Okay maybe not all people, but this totally got me. The Penanggalan. Ewe. What’s that you ask? It is a nasty thing. The only way for me to describe it would to give you a little quote from the book. Page 62 (Nook - Normal Font) “A Penanggalan - the jinjangs minion - the cause of so many illnesses and deaths amongst her people. From the neck, a stringy mass of veins drooped and suspended disemboweled organs. The lungs deflated, and a vapor drifted from it's nose, saturating the air with a vinegary stench. A long proboscis-like tongue slithered from its mouth and undulated like a snake as it lapped the back of the human's head with a revolting slurp." Like I said, Ewe. Over all I really liked this book, and would totally recommend this to anyone willing to take a new adventure.


1 Kindle Edition eBook and 1 Print book Up For Grabs!!


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Sally Bibrary said...

Hi, hon - happily tagging along on the 18 & Over as your newest follower. Keep reading, and have a fabulous weekend. :)

Sally @ Bibrary Bookslut

Reena Jacobs said...

Thanks for the wonderful interview, Melissa. I almost didn't make it down to the comment section... got stuck Sean Faris.

Jocelyn Adams said...

Hey, Reena. I just started chapter 1 of Shadow Cat last night. Loving it so far.

Melissa said...

You did pick a Yummy man. I get stuck too LOL

Denise K. Rago said...

Thank you for the interview Melissa and I too love other cultures and value what they have to offer all of us. This book sounds very intriguing.

desere_steenberg said...

Thank you so much for a stunning interview it was very interesting.

I am way over 18 and I am already a follower !

Keep up the amazing work !


Unknown said...

Fabulous interview and I think I've become a fan of Mr. Farris. Must google him now.

Gabby said...

Very nice interview, I love finding out about new-to-me authors. The fact that you write about shifters is just plus for me.

You mention in your interview something about information overload, was it extremely difficult to differentiate fact from fiction?

Just curious as budding writer.

Good luck with your new series! I'm also already a follower and very much over eighteen.

Julie@My5monkeys said...

great interview and have good things about this book.

aprilmom00 at gmail dot com

Reena Jacobs said...

I'm glad you're enjoying it, Jocelyn. Chapter 1 was one of those chapters I went back and forth on.

Melissa & Danielle ~ Sean Faris isn't in enough movies... at least not on Netflix. Just the thought of him in a shower scene brings a smile to my face. He doesn't even have to have speaking lines.

Reena Jacobs said...

Denise ~ The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan is the first non-Western novel I recall reading. After that, I just fell in love with the diversity surrounding me.

Sally, Desere & Julie ~ Glad you enjoyed the interview. Thanks for stopping by and good luck all!

Reena Jacobs said...

Gabby ~ My husband might say yes to that question. haha I can't count the times he's told me books and movies are fiction and we live in the real world.

As for researching fact versus fiction, I think I had an easy time separating the two. Again, don't ask my husband for verification on that one. The difficulty came into to play deciding what to use and when to stop digging deeper.

Did you know there's a shellfish in Malaysia called the black tiger which happens to be the largest prawn in the world? About a pound and a half each. Yeah. This is what I meant by digging too deep. There is no reason for me to know the mating cycle of black tiger prawn.

Anonymous said...

Splendid interview. Congrats on your book.

holls said...

Great interview! I can tell y'all really had fun with it! Gfc follower holly wright
Hollybwright at

Susan Goldsmith said...

Ooooh, this sounds like a fun book! How could it not be when the author is so feisty? Loved the interview.

Anonymous said...

Great interview, Reena. I enjoyed reading it :)

Sammie Spencer said...

Great interview! The author said something that really hit scene or thought could start an entire story and it's the very same with me. This book sounds super-interesting. Thanks for the opportunity!

Reena Jacobs said...

Thank you, Sapphire and Holly.

Congrats on your upcoming release, JA Belfield. Know you've been working hard getting everything ready.

Feisty, Susan? :) Gotta say, I like that adjective a lot better than the ones others have given me.

Sammie ~ Isn't amazing all the ideas floating around, just waiting for someone to grab them?

Denise K. Rago said...

I loved The Joy Luck Club. Also, Shogun by James Clavell was an incredible story about medieval Japan.

Reena Jacobs said...

Denise ~ I just read the description of Shogun on Goodreads. Sounds exciting. :) Definitely something to add to my reading list. And an oldie also. Something to make me feel a bit more cultured.

Amy said...

I really like to read about interracial romances featuring Asians, since I'm Asian myself. That already makes me want to read your book! I also love stories featuring feline (the big cats- tigers, panthers, jaguars, etc.) shifters, so I'm sure I'd love your book :)


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