Today I am so pleased to welcome Natalina Reis to Joyfully Jay. Natalina has come to talk to us about her latest release, Of Magic and Scales. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


Natalina has written some of her own questions and answers to share with us today.

When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?

The earliest I remember writing was when I was about seven and living in Angola. I remember writing a poem about a tear after witnessing a friend crying. By the time I was in 4th grade I knew writing was a forte. Back then (I’m old) we were required to write a creative essay every week. I loved it and so did my teacher.


If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?

It sounds like a cliché but I’d love to talk to Jane Austen. She was so progressive for her time and had such a sharp eye for social commentary. I would love to ask her what changes she would have liked to see happen in society.


How would you describe your writing style/genre?

My writing is a mélange of different things. I write the things I enjoy reading: a mixture of romance (always) with humor, action and mystery.


Do you use a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, why not?

I don’t quite have a nom de plume, but I do use my maiden name as an author. I lost my dad twenty years ago. He was an avid reader and he always encouraged me to follow my dreams. I know he would be proud of me now that I am a published author so I took on his last name as a way of honoring him.


How long do you write each day?

I write everyday for about an hour. I come from my teaching day job in the late afternoon, go to a coffee shop and write for an hour or so, then go home and work on the business side of the job.


Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I crave book reviews and am constantly checking to see if I received any new ones. Bad reviews are hard to take of course, especially if the reviewer goes to great lengths to express how much your book sucked, lol. However I have had bad-ish reviews that were very helpful. When a reviewer gives an explanation of why they didn’t like it, it often helps me as a writer to better address issues like that in my next book. It’s a learning—however painful—experience. But a good review can totally send you to the moon and back. Nothing better.


Why did you choose to write in your particular genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I love writing across genres. I get bored writing always in the same subgenre so I have books that are romantic comedies, paranormal, dystopian, and fantasy and I’m not opposed to trying others. I do love anything in the realm of fantasy though and even my romantic comedies often have an element of it. As to how I balance it, I really don’t have a plan or routine. I write what is “talking” to me and if that’s a PNR or a contemporary romance that’s what I write. I have tried to force myself to write certain things and it just didn’t work.


Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.

I love writing about outcasts and rebels (and by rebels I mean those who have a rebel heart, who don’t go along with the crowd even if that makes them unpopular or uncool) and since I like to represent the world accurately in my books, I have characters from all races and backgrounds, diverse sexual preferences, people with disabilities, and a lot of introverts who are warriors inside. My goal is to present a world where people are not defined by whatever makes them “different” but by their humanity.


Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part-time writer. I keep hoping that I’ll make enough money with my writing so I can retire from my day job and dedicate my life to my books. Unfortunately, I am nowhere near that goal, lol. I write everyday and try to do all the business side of things too and I’m not going to lie, it’s extremely overwhelming at times. It mostly affects my mental and physical health, I think. I don’t eat well, don’t rest enough, and don’t exercise either because I try to “steal” writing time out of my already busy schedule.


Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I’m a total pantser even though I think that unconsciously I actually plan some things because I can’t believe how smoothly the plot usually flows when I’m writing. I must be planning when I’m asleep or something, lol.


What’s the funniest or creepiest thing you’ve come across while researching for one of your stories?

When I was writing the first book in The Jewel Chronicles series, I was researching painful and creepy come of age rituals involving animals (long story) and came across this bizarre ritual in parts of Africa involving soldier ants. The young men have to stick their hands in an ant nest and allow their hand and forearm to be covered in the creepy crawlers. If you don’t think that’s creepy enough, these are fierce little insects that carry one of the most painful stings in the world. It is not a pretty sight. Needless to say, I totally used that idea in my book.


How did you choose the topic for this book?

I had noticed how popular urban fantasy was becoming and since I also enjoy reading it, I decided to write one. But like with most things I wanted to do something a bit different so I tried to find an unusual character and ended up coming up with a merman. Of course, in the end, my “urban fantasy” ended up being much more of PNR but this was the most fun I had writing a series so far.


What secondary character would you like to explore more? Tell me about him or her.

I actually have two side characters that I would love to explore further. One is Aiden’s best friend, Cristina, a Portuguese girl of African descent and the second is Taz, the witch who was in part inspired by one of my favorite students (she doesn’t know). Cristina is loyal to a fault, curious about everything, has no trouble telling Aiden exactly what she’s thinking, and she totally believes in magic. Taz is a bit of a spazz (notice how they rhyme?) but a great friend. She has a tendency to blurt out “visions” she had without being too sure about the details and absolutely loves to freak out Aiden with her sudden appearances out of thin air.


Who has been your favorite character to write and why?

I love all of my characters in this story even the ones who have a very small part, but Aiden, the main character has a special place in my heart. He’s my kind of character, an outcast of sorts who has to learn to love and accept himself, who thinks of himself as weak but has an inner strength that only comes out when a loved one is in danger. And he is the king of sarcasm which is totally my thing.


We know what you like to write, but what do you like to read in your free time, and why?

Believe it or not I read a lot of YA fantasy. I think it’s because unlike some of the adult books YA fantasy throws pretty much everything but the kitchen sink into the stories. You get the drama, the mystery, the magic, the amazing world building, often also the humor and always the romance. That’s pretty much what I write but for adults, lol.


With a serial killer on the loose, the baffling mystery of Aiden’s past, and their tenuous budding romance, Aiden and Fouchard tread through a world of magic and myth on padded shoes, terrified to stir up something neither can control or defeat.

Aiden Mercer’s life now centers around lounging on the sunny beaches of his adopted country with a beer in one hand and a coffee in the other while admiring the local male population. After a rough life as a respected detective in DC, playing it cool shouldn’t be too hard, right? With the magical community on his case and dead bodies piling up around town, the responsibility of finding their killer seems fated to fall on him and deny him of his easy living.

Then there is Naël.

Cantankerous merman Naël Fouchard’s life is focused on bringing up and protecting his little sister. When DNA found at the scene of the murders mark him as the prime suspect, Naël seeks out the help of Aiden, whose reputation as a detective grossly belies his lazy lifestyle and apparent lack of ambition.

The chemistry between the strong, stoic Naël and the easygoing Aiden is undeniable, no matter how many walls Aiden builds.

If this unlikely pair can’t come to terms with their feelings for each other long enough to catch the killer, their emotional turmoil might yet allow the murderer to kill them instead.

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Natalina wrote her first romance at the age of 13 in collaboration with her best friend. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes. She’s the author of We Will Always Have the Closet, Desert Jewel, Loved You Always, and Lavender Fields.

After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she’s taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.

Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.


Natalina has brought a $10 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader on her tour. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

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