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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Reena Jacobs

Please welcome Reena Jacobs.  She has kindly volunteered to be my first interview.  So without further ado:

BLP:   Please tell us a little about yourself.

Awesome question.  How about I tell you with a true story?

As I sat on the couch one afternoon in my slob suit-pajama bottoms and an old t-shirt complete with holes-I asked my husband to describe my personality.  Before we get to his answer a bit of setup.  Straight out of bed, my natural hair (kinky spirals) was doing that Pointy-haired boss thing from Dilbert.  I hadn't left the house for days, choosing to spend the entire week lounging during spring break.  Who am I kidding?  Spring break had nothing to do with my appearance.  That was my normal stay-at-home mom routine.  My hard-working husband, on the other hand, had put in a marathon cleaning session in order to correct my substandard housekeeping.  So, his response to my question? Meticulous.

As Inigo Montoya said in The Princess Bride,"I do not think that word means what you think it means."

I even read the definition for him, and he stuck by it. :) So a little about myself--I'm a meticulous sloth.

BLP:  Describe your writing process.

Usually, I start a story by writing a beginning scene or two.   I typically have no idea where the story is heading at that time.  Once I've jotted down the start, I plot the story and plug my outline into my favorite writing program(Storybox developed by Mark Fassett).  From there, I just type until the story is finished.  Since I have an outline, I often skip around.

BLP:  As a self-published author, what has your experience been like?  Pros and cons?

Tough. :) The greatest benefit I've had so far with self-publishing is being free of the query process.  It's time consuming, to say the least.  Though it may seem like a petty issue, for me it isn't.
During the nine months I spent querying, I did very little writing--other than modifying query letters, that is.  I can not express to you my relief when I realized I'd never have to write or send another query letter again.

Once I relieved myself of that burden, my creativity, motivation, and writing levels bumped exponentially.  Since September, I've released a short story called Control Freaks:  Brandon's Story, Shadow Cat, and completed the first draft of three other works.  Now I need to muster a bit of motivation for some second draft editing.

The cons?  Trying to get noticed amongst the masses without major backing. :) Seems everyone's pushing a book these days. It's like being in a crowd of thousands with everyone raising their hands shouting, "Pick me!"  I'm a loner and prefer to fade into the background, so stepping up my social game is a challenge.

Traditional? Indie? It's really about tolerance levels and tradeoffs.  For me, not having to query outweighs any cons associated with self-publishing.

BLP:  What was your inspiration for Shadow Cat?

I get this question often, and it always leaves me floundering for an answer.  I honestly don't remember when or how the idea sprung upon me, but research propelled much of Shadow Cat's creation.  I spent a lot of time exploring Malaysian folklore for the supernatural aspects of the story.  Then there was the many, many showers-- nothing like a hot shower to get those creative juices flowing.

BLP:  I understand that you have two sequels in the works.  Can you tell us anything about them?

Oh goodie!  I'm so glad you asked.  Teehee.  I've written each book of the Striped Ones so it progresses the story of the penanggalan (a type of bodiless demon) dilemma.  Other than a few scene gaps, Chasing Shadows (book two) and The Shadow Within (book three) are written and ready for a round of editing.

Chasing Shadows picks up where Shadow Cat leaves off and follows Mujur, the shifty wehr-tiger we meet toward the middle of book one.  We learn about his background which is as questionable as him.  For those familiar with wehr-tigers, you'll recall that the species tend to be quite tall in stature.  Mujur's heroine, Kecil, is a mite of a thing.  Don't let her size fool you; she can maul a human as well as any wehr-tigress.

The Shadow Within sends us to New York City and follows Bryan, Eric's assistant.  I doubt  Bryan realizes this, but I'm totally crushing on him.  And if I weren't married to a wonderful man, I'd be completely envious of his heroine. Jacky.  One of the things I love about The Shadow Within is it introduces characters who star in a few other works in progress.  So even though The Shadow Within concludes the Striped Ones storyline, we don't have to say goodbye to our beloved characters.

BLP:  If  Shadow Cats were made into a film, who would you pick to play the main roles?

That's a tough one.  I'm still leaning toward Sean Faris for the role of Eric.  The rest, I'm not familiar enough with Malaysian actresses to even give a shot at Berani.  Perhaps your readers have suggestions. :)

Now for some fun, frivolous questions.
Coke or Pepsi?  Pepsi
Star Trek or Star Wars?  Star Trek
favorite older tv series?  Sliders
favorite recent tv series?  House
favorite movie?  The Joy Luck Club
favorite book?  The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Forgive my lack of originality. :)

BLP:  Who are some authors on your must buy list?

Right now, I only have one author on my instant buy list.  Strike that, she's on my preorder list. :)  That place of honor goes to Kresley Cole.  I have quite a few authors I'm extremely fond of and are high on my buy list, but none of them have earned my trust like Ms. Cole.  The woman has never let me down.

Thanks for the wonderful interview and everything, Marlene.

BLP:  Thanks for taking the time to be my first interviewee.  I'm looking forward to the Shadow Cat sequels!

Shadow Cat is available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Smashwords.

Giveaway:
Reena has kindly donated two kindle copies of Shadow Cat.  See my review here.  All you have to do to enter is leave Reena a question or comment.  The giveaway will close midnight on April 14.  I will notify the winners and they will have 48 hrs. to respond.  So everyone enter, you don't want to miss out on a really good read.


3 comments:

Reena Jacobs said...

Thanks for having me here today. :) I always get excited when I'm the first at something.

MadamMarsee said...

Reena: have you always enjoyed shifters/the paranormal?? Or did you maybe want to write about different things?

Missmarsee@gmail.com(hope I can win the copy for my NookColor!)

Reena Jacobs said...

Of all the paranormal beings out there, I find shifters to be the sexiest... as long as they're not something like a rat, grub, cow, or something like that.

As for paranormal, I found Anne Rice at an early age. My mother would drop me off at the mall, and I'd sit in the bookstore for hours, reading her books during my teenage years. Don't ask me why I didn't just go to the library. haha

Paranormal romance is a different story. I found that genre maybe 4-5 years ago. The clerk at the local bookstore noticed me sulking over Anne Rice's departure from the paranormal world and suggested Sherrilyn Kenyon. Instant hit with me. Now I can't get enough.

I do dabble in other genres though (reading and writing).

:) Looks like your chances are great for winning so for. Wishing you luck, Marsee!