Reena Jacobs Interview – August 24, 2011
Reena Jacobs Interview
Reena Jacobs is just your typical writer who loves to see her words in print. As an avid reader, she’s known to hoard books and begs her husband regularly for “just one more purchase.” Her home life is filled with days chasing her preschooler and nights harassing her husband. Between it all, she squeezes in time for writing and growling at the dog. You can find Reena on Ramblings of an Amateur Writer, Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Nobles, and Smashwords.
First of all Reena, I would like to thank you for taking the time out for this interview and being on Black Diamond’s Book Reviews!
If you had to describe yourself with one word, what would it be?
Could you tell me a little about yourself?
My all time favorite video game is Knights of theOldRepublic. A decade later, and my journey to becoming Darth Raven still brings a smile to my face.
When did you start writing and how did you get started?
I started writing on a whim. I’d just gotten out of school and hadn’t found a job yet. I thought writing would be an excellent way to be productive and perhaps make a bit of cash on the side. It never occurred to me the road would be so arduous. I hate losing, and I’ve never been one to give up, so I keep trekking. I WILL conquer this game!
Do you have any rituals that you use when you are writing?
Not really. I’m one of those people who sits down and says just do it. Of course, some days, the just do it turns out to be a mere 100 words or so.
How many books have you written?
I Loved You First is my second published work I’d say is long enough to be called a book, though in reality, it’s in the novella category. Unpublished, I have two books sitting on the shelves waiting for some editing attention. Did I mention I absolutely HATE polishing and editing? Getting the words down isn’t the problem. It’s what to do with the words afterward.
What is the main source of inspiration for your writing?
Life. I’m the opposite of the big bang with the universe spreading outward, if that’s the theory still these days; I’ve never been one to keep up with physics. I grab anything in reach, suck it in, and warp it to fit my fantasy worlds.
Is there a place you go for inspiration to write?
The shower. Whenever I hit a wall, I hop in the shower and let the water relax the solution into me. That’s my big thing. Secondary to a shower, I’ll crawl into bed and let my mind wander. Only problem with that, laziness becomes me, and I find myself lacking the motivation to get up and write down the goodies I’ve conjured.
Are you reading anything right now?
I’m ALWAYS reading something. I’m participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge this year. My goal is 60 books. Since I started writing, I’ve tried to finish a book a week, so the 60 books is a slight boost from normal. I just finished reading All Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann. Right now I’m working on Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler.
What are some of your favorite books and authors?
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan has been my favorite since forever. Okay… maybe not forever, but at least my senior year of high school. As a daughter, it was easy for me to relate to the idea of meeting the expectations of my mother. I never wanted to hurt my mom, always wanted to make her proud. I’m not perfect though and always felt like I was just short even after she praised me.
Now that I’m a mother, and my daughters are making life changing decisions, I understand the idea of having hopes and dreams for a child. I only want the best for them. I don’t want to control them or change them at the core. I just want to give them the little push that’ll help them get the best out of life.
On the lighter side of books, Kresley Cole’s Immortals after Dark is a current favorite of mine. Her stories are solid, and she’s yet to let me down. She’s the only author on my pre-order list.
Has writing your own book changed the way that you read?
Not so much writing, but entering the realm of critiquing has (both receiving and giving). I find myself more critical now, harder to please. Whereas before, I devoured EVERYTHING (there was no such thing as did not finish), these days I have no problem saying, “Thanks, but no thanks” or even shelving a book a third of the way in. Most authors I used to buy religiously, I forego or put in the if-I-ever-get-around-to-you-again list. Instead, I’m taking a chance on authors I’ve never tried, venturing outside my old comfort zones.
Are you able to read when you’re writing and if so what books inspire you when you’re working on a novel?
Definitely. If I’m not getting my reading fix, I have a hard time keeping my motivation to write. Books don’t so much as inspire me as keep me going. I was an avid reader long before I started writing. I’ve slowed down my consumption of books to make room for a writer’s lifestyle, but reading has always come before writing.
What is a typical day in your life like?
Sure you want the mundane? My preschooler wakes me up each morning. “Mommy, I’m hungry.” In between saving him from his daredevil stunts, I manage to work in administrative stuff (emails, blogging, critiquing), squeeze some time to write or edit my works, and a bit of housework if I’m REALLY motivated. When my husband checks in at the end of his workday, I put on my chef’s hat and pretend I’m the star of Hell’s Kitchen. After dinner, it’s back to kissing boo-boos, playing obnoxious jokes on my husband, more writing related stuff, and eventually spending some well-deserved time with a (hopefully) good book.
Are there other books you love or writers you admire that are from your local area?
I wish I could say yes, but my interactions with other writers are online. The web makes the world so small that I usually don’t even worry about location.
Who was your favorite character to write, and why did you like that character?
Of my current releases, I’m rather fond of Bryan from Shadow Cat. If he were a member of my family, he’d fit right in with his practical jokes.
Did you have to do much research when working on I Loved You First? If so, do you tend to write first or research first?
Researching the writing portion of I Loved You First wasn’t too intensive. I’m not a sports fan, so I did spend some time looking up baseball, football, and even darts. Other than that, I did a few virtual tours of universities and web surfed quite a few fraternities.
As far as the chicken, I mean the writing coming before the research? I tend to research as I go. When I hit a point in my writing that’s unfamiliar, I’ll research and tend to get lost in trivial facts. I tend to learn a lot more about a subject then I’ll ever need for a work.
When deciding to write I Loved You First, did you know right away how the story was going to go, or did the story unfold as you were writing?
I wrote the initial outline long before I started writing. I didn’t expect to finish I Loved You First so soon, but it just kept nagging and nagging me. Eventually I caved, dropped my current project and jumped into the story.
I had the key points down but wasn’t exactly sure how everything would unfold until after writing each scene. Rather than letting the outline dictate the story, I used it as a GPS to keep me from getting stuck at a dead end. Any time I wanted, I could change the destination or take a turn not plotted. As long as my GPS was working, I never had to worry about getting lost.
What’s next for you?
The more I think about it, the more I’m leaning toward a flash fiction collection to accompany a free piece available at various online stores called Circulatory System.
What three artists would I find in your Ipod or CD player?
If I came to your home and looked in your refrigerator what would I find?
A mess! No… I’m just kidding (kind of). You’d find too many sugary drinks; that’s for sure. Though I hydrate with water, my husband is big into keep himself and the kids stocked with soda and juices.
What is one food item that you can’t live without?
Steak. I could eat steak EVERY night.
What do you like to do when you are not writing (hobbies, etc.)?
Reading… but that’s a given. Watching TV or diddling with some kind of arts & crafts. I love trying different projects but usually make a mess of things. It’s still fun trying to create something artistic though.
What famous person do other people tell you that you most look like?
I don’t recall anyone saying I look like a famous person. However, people have mentioned my hair in reference toTracyChapman from the late 80s and Angela Davis.
What is the one thing about yourself that others would be shocked to know?
Folks are always surprised when I mention I’ve written erotica.
What advice would you give to those aspiring writers out there?
Don’t let the odds discourage you. Don’t let the negativity folks spread about what you can and can’t do or should and shouldn’t do keep you from accomplishing your writing goals. There’s a lot of advice floating out there which sounds logical, but most folks are just guessing based on how the writing industry should work. When you start doing the research, you’ll find most successful authors live by their own set of rules and to heck with what anyone says otherwise.
I guess the main thing is to take a chance on yourself. If you screw up, you can always reinvent yourself with a new penname.
Choose a book title for the story of your life.
Shortly before I married my husband, I talked to my mother about his laid back demeanor. He’s quiet and at times moves like he has all the time in the world. Me, on the other hand, I’m the anxious type. When I make up my mind, I set out to accomplish a task… NOW! There is no time to smell the daisies.
I told my mother, he seems so easy going and set in his life while I feel like I’m still trying to claw my way out of the depths and into the light.
No matter how much I’ve accomplished, the experiences I’ve tucked under my belt, I still have that bit of fight in me to do more, be more than I am. So the title of my life would be: Where the Light Touches the Abyss.
What is next for you in 2011?
My youngest starts preschool tomorrow which I’m pretty excited about. With him occupied during the day, it’ll open up a bit of free time for me. I’ve been contemplating taking a few courses at the local community college. I’ve missed school these past three years.
How can your readers contact you?
Thank you very much for taking the time out to answer my interview questions!
Thanks for having me, Cheryl. Awesome interview.
Read my review of I Loved You First
© 2011, Cheryl of Black Diamond’s Book Reviews. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Black Diamond’s Book Reviews, Urban Image Magazine, or Cheryl’s feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.