{Author Interview} Reena Jacobs… Tell me about … Malaysia.

On April 28, 2011 by Aimee

Today is not about me. Nope. Not one bit. Okay, it is about me, but in a really round about way. *I* am a friend to this author and am helping her promote her book (which in turn helps me promote me). See how this really is all about me? But I digress … let’s here about Reena Jacobs and her debut novel : Shadow Cat.

Shadow Cat by Reena Jacobs

Shadow Cat by Reena Jacobs

1. Your story takes place in two parts of the world: The US and Malaysia. What made you pick Malaysia? Why not a rainforest in South America or a jungle in Africa?

The simple answer is tigers. I’m a lover of wildcats. And well, tigers are just so majestic—more so in my opinion than lions. When I chose my location, I wanted an area native to tigers. Why Malaysia and not India, Siberia, or China? The folklore. During my research, I fell in love with Malaysian folklore and couldn’t help but expand on it.

2. I also understand you’ve never been to Malaysia. Many believe we should only write what we know. How did you educate yourself to give such a vivid picture?

If I wrote only what I know, I’d be limited to stories about my parent-in-laws fussing because my boy ran to meet them at the door without a stitch of clothing on, how the microwave trips the breaker every other time I turn it on, or how my daughter steals my white socks and wears them until they’re grey and crusty even after laundering. Ha ha. No… I think the wilds of Malaysia are far more interesting than my home life and such.

So the Malaysian setting. Tons of online research helped me along—vacation blogs, tourist sites, videos, flora and fauna sites… the list goes on. I just hope people from Malaysia are forgiving of any blunders I might have made.

3. You also incorporate language into your story. In the movie Avatar, they actually created their own language. Have you done something similar, or is it true-to life? If ‘real’ — how did you manage that?

It’s a real language (Malay). You probably noticed I used simple phrases or single words. I’ve studied a few languages and wasn’t about to get mixed up in a syntax I didn’t understand. In all honesty, I probably shouldn’t have even attempted, but I did. I combed through several Malay-English dictionaries for the basics, crosschecking to make sure I didn’t make a silly mistake—for instance, misusing a word like “hot” which can refer to warmth or spicy in English, but might not be interchangeable in Malay. Then before I released Shadow Cat, a young lady by the name of Fiona Chan helped me tweak a few words and phrases to get the appropriate nuances.

Intrigued by her use of Malaysia, having never been there? Well, that’s what we authors do. We create — realistic or not and I will say that her settings are what made the book. I wanted to be in that forest, around those trees. 🙂 That’s why I asked her about it specifically. 🙂

If that hasn’t peaked your interest enough, try this:

Eric Randall’s plan is simple—fix the mess his researchers have created in Malaysia, experience the pleasures the country has to offer, and return to the comforts of America. All it takes is one beautiful aborigine, and Eric finds himself stranded in a world of Malaysian myths and legends.

A novice shaman amongst her people, Berani is free and independent. Yet all is not well in her homeland. Demons prey on her people, pushing them to extinction. When a strange speaking man invades her forest, she has one more worry to add to her already troubled life. Attraction or no, she will fight Eric tooth and claw to maintain her freedom. But will she destroy herself in the process?

If Berani wishes to save her family… if Eric wishes to reclaim his old life, they must stand together against the threats of encroaching wehr-tigers and bloodsucking demons… or perish.

Buy Shadow Cat at: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, or  Smashwords

Tell us … have you been to Malaysia? Tell us about your experience!

6 Responses to “{Author Interview} Reena Jacobs… Tell me about … Malaysia.”

  • Hey, great interview! Research is a wonderful thing, though I hate doing it. That’s why I usually make up my own places/worlds. 🙂

    • I love researching, but only for the purposes of finding something that I can then make stuff up about. 😉 Not for ‘reality’. LOL

  • My research nearly always ends up being for something that will probably only take up one line and a singular reference in my novels. Everything else is made up.
    I don’t worry about accuracy of places when I read, but then I’ve yet to come across a novel set in my home town and I do sometimes wonder how forgiving I’d be if the writer got it all wrong–hence my reason for fabricating all mine 😉

  • I’m addicted to research. Unfortunately, I’m not always effective about it… I’m so easily distracted by oddities, I can find myself sidetracked by obscure bits of info which have absolutely nothing to do with my current project.

    Something so simple, like looking up the gestation cycle of a tiger could lead me to something wacky like who was the last king of Siam, and did he breed tigers? Then of course, that would lead me to the origin of Siamese cats, which of course would lead me to the Hensel twins and of course the Olsen twins…

    Well, you see how that works.

    • That side-tracking way of getting off-track is exactly why I try to shut down the Internet on my computer to do an hour of writing each day. Otherwise, I’d lose all my writing time to finding time. 😉