Monday, February 28, 2011

Our Interview with the talented Reena Jacobs

Hi everyone and welcome to another ParaYourNormal author interview. We're excited to talk to Reena Jacobs, author of Shadow Cat, a great paranormal romance about shape shifters. Reena is giving away a copy of her book to two lucky people who comment. One will be an eBook and the other will be a printed copy. So without further ado, let's get into the interview.

What made you want to start writing?
The short answer—Unemployment. If I weren’t such a rambler, that’d be the long answer too. But being me, I like to blab. I was on track to earn a PhD in psychology and had an epiphany—I’m not a sympathetic listener and a bit too mouthy for my own good. So, I dropped out after my first residency session and decided to fill my time writing while searching for a job. When the economy turned sour, and the college I worked for had cut backs, I returned to writing again. I’ve been working towards a career in writing ever since. It’s an ongoing process.
Do you have a certain schedule or pattern that you write by?
Kind of sort of no. I try to write daily. I find setting small goals (100-500 words a day) keeps me moving forward. Jotting down a few words takes hardly any time at all, so it’s easy to achieve. One thing for sure, I’m most productive at night… say 10:00 pm to midnight.
How long did it take you to write Shadow Cat?
Two and half months for the first draft. I started it August 2008 and wrote for a month before putting it away. Then I pulled it out again August 2009 and finished it that September. That doesn’t include the year of off and on editing/revisions.
Your book involves shifters. What drew you to these beings?
I simply love shape-shifters. I think it’s the combination of the untamed meshed with humanity. It’s just so sexy.
Have you taken any formal writing classes or workshops?
Does high school English count? I’m afraid I’m just an unschooled amateur in this area. :) The critters I’ve worked with were awesome though. When I started writing, there was a lot I didn’t know. Other writers have been generous with their time and have taught me quite a bit. Of course, I’m still learning tricks of the trade. On a side note, college prepared me quite well for the extensive research writing involves.
Why did you choose self publishing?
I think the question for me is more on the lines of Why didn’t you self-publish from the start? “They” had me convinced self-publishing would end my writing career before it started. I’d classified self-publishing as a last resort with the idea that folks who couldn’t cut it in the traditional world self-published.
Once I got over that myth, I decided to take my writing career into my own hands. I put away the query letters which consumed more time than writing a novel and focused on tasks which would put my work in the public’s hands. With the changes happening in the publishing industry these days, I’m so glad I decided to take a chance on me.
For writers willing to take on the extra burden of being their own publisher, it can be a win/win situation. We’re seeing indie folks receive publishing contract or representation without all the query hassle. So traditional publishing is still a viable option for a writer at a later point in time, if that's still a goal. :)
Do you have any other published books? Any projects in the works?
I have bunches of freebies folks can find on my Free Reads page. I also have a short story available called Control Freak: Brandon’s Story which is available on B&N and Amazon. As for the Striped Ones series, I plan to have the rough draft of the sequel, Chasing Shadows, finished this month. The third and final book I’ve written and plan to spend time editing it in March. Other than that, I’m working on a New Adult novel called I Loved You First. The first draft of that should be finished the first week in March. I’m pretty excited about this work. Right now, it’s my love child.
Where can readers purchase your books?
My work is available at SmashwordsAmazon, and Barnes & Nobles as well as other distributors.
Where can readers connect with you on the web?
Stop by my website ( or my blog (http:/ anytime. I can also be found stalking folks on twitter (@ReenaJacobs)

Can you share an excerpt of your book?
Of course. In this scene, Berani has just learned humans are in her forest. She returns to her village to relay the news and gets a little sidetracked.
The females moved about their everyday activities—chatting, caring for cubs, and lounging. With no time for socializing, Berani skirted them with only an occasional nod.
Berani stopped at her mother’s voice.
Her mother sat near a large window in back of the family hut with her three kittens snuggled at her feet. “Where have you been?”
“I have been close… scouting.” Unable to avoid her mother despite the urgency, Berani entered.
Woven baskets filled the corners and drying herbs hung from the ceiling, leaving a fresh, minty aroma. On the floor, wicker mats covered by thick leaves concealed the rough wooden planks and provided cushion and bedding.
Berani stepped over her sleeping siblings and embraced her mother. The sweet scent of mango and milk filled her nose, while her mother’s silky tresses, a light coppery red like her own, brushed against her cheek. “How are the cubs?”
“Tenaga grows stronger, but the boys…” Her mother swallowed the remaining words, and a sigh shuddered from her.
“Ma.” Berani rested her forehead on her mother’s shoulder, her heart breaking.
The uncertainty of the two boys not only weighed heavily on her family but also on the clan. The girl cub continued to flourish and gain weight, while the two smaller males seemed to shrink in size next to her bulk. Like many species in the rainforest, wehr-tigers were a dying breed, making every life precious. So few births, too many deaths.
“What can I do?” Berani asked.
Her mother pressed her hand against Berani’s head. “Stay. I have missed you.”
Berani laid her head on her mother’s lap and stroked her sister’s fur. The fuzzy baby-soft coat slid through her fingers like a caress. Though each of the sleeping triplets was a blessing, Tenaga held a special place in her heart. Other than Berani, the girl cub was her mother’s only living daughter. And her mother was unlikely to have another litter.
Tenaga woke with a yawn, arching her back as Berani ran her nails down the young one’s spine.
“I remember when you were this size,” her mother said. “You loved it when I scratched your stomach.”
Berani twisted to gaze at her mother’s bittersweet smile, but Tenaga batted with a paw, recapturing her attention.
“Oh, your strength is great.” Berani sat, rolled her sister into a ball, and shoved her. The tigress tumbled then found her footing and attempted a roar which emerged as a squawking hiss.
Her mother laughed softly, warming Berani’s soul.
“Not yet, but soon, Tenaga.” Berani picked up the young cub by the thick skin at the nape of the neck and nuzzled her close before setting her down. The feisty girl got in one last swat and ran, only to trip over the boys.
The little males stretched. In unison, their mouths opened wide, revealing sharp, pointed miniature teeth. Berani mussed their fur. Afraid of becoming any more attached to them than she already was, she’d spent little time with them. Even so, when one of them mewed, she couldn’t stop herself from picking him up and cuddling him. “Keep fighting, little one… like Pejuang.”
She set him in her mother’s lap and stood. “I shall return. I must talk with Nenek.”
“About what?” Her mother’s voice was nonchalant as she caressed the little tiger, but Berani knew the tone all too well. Already, she could sense the disapproval coming.
“The humans.”
Her mother’s shoulders slumped. “Each loss chips at my soul.”
“Oh, Ma.” Berani knelt and drew her mother into a tight hug. She yearned to gather her mother’s sadness and cast it in the Great River to float away forever.
“Sometimes you are too brave for your own good.”
“I promise I will tread with care.” Berani pressed her forehead against her mother’s. “Worry not.”
Her mother withdrew and lifted the cub from her lap. Her face became a neutral mask before she shifted and stretched, allowing the cubs to nestle close and nurse. The tiger form concealed many emotions, but nothing hid the sorrow heavy in the air as Berani left.

A big thanks to Reena for stopping by and allowing us to talk with her about her fabulous book. She will also be our guest on Blog Talk Radio at 3pm PST. If you'd like to hear more about her and her book be sure to listen in or call with any questions. The number is 619-639-4626. If you follow the link, the number is listed there as well. 

Here is your chance to win your own copy of Shadow Cat. Remember, you don't have to own a kindle or a nook to get eBooks. Most smart phones have apps available for downloading ebooks. You can also read and/or store them on your computer, so don't miss the opportunity to read a fantastic book. Any and all comments will be entered into the contest. The eBook is an international giveaway and the printed copy is for US residents only. Please leave your email address so we can contact you if you are one of our lucky winners. Thanks everyone, and will see you next week for another ParaYourNormal author interview.


  1. I couldn't believe how quickly 30 minutes passed. Though I was sweating bullets, it was quite a bit of fun.

  2. Great interview! Unemployment was one of my motivators too. Funny how something amazing can come from such a low place. I love shapeshifter romances and can't wait to take a look at this one! Looks like a great read.

  3. Reena, it is amazing at how fast 30 minutes passes by when we get to talking. Had a great time during our interview. Hope you will come back when your other book is published.

  4. Sondrae, thanks for the comment. Unemployment is a great motivator. When something is produced from unfortunate events in life, it is an amazing thing. You are also entered into our contest for a free copy of Shadow Cat. Thanks for stopping by our blog.

  5. Amazing interview, Reena. And I'm proud to say I knew you when...LOL Happy writing, many sales :)

    avril dot ashton at yahoo dot com

  6. Sondrea ~ I think when folks have nothing to lose, it's easier to take chances. Sometimes it opens the doors to wonderful opportunities. :)

    Avril ~ It's amazing how small the world is with the internet. Less than a year ago we were shredding one another's works. And now those pieces get to see the light of day.

    It's rather neat to watch our writer buddies venture into the world of publishing. It seems like every other week a writer friend shares he/she published a novel, got picked up by an agent, or signed a publishing contract.

  7. Hi Avril. Thanks for stopping by our blog. Reena is a great author, isn't she? We enjoyed talking with her on Blog Talk Radio, too. We have you entered into the contest. Thanks for the comment.

  8. Loved the interview:) Thanks for a chance! Keep
    `em coming `cause we're sure gonna keep reading :)

  9. Thank you, CL.

    Good news. The first drafts of the next two books are written. Now I'm working on the tough part-Revising and Editing.

  10. CLMcCune, thanks for stopping by and commenting. You are entered in the contest to win a free copy of Shadow Cat :-) Cheers