|With two wonder women writers. Rare opportunity!|
The Q and A after her presentation was an engaging one. It left me with more questions, actually so I dared send her interview questions for the blog and she replied!
a. I was struck at two things you mentioned during your talk in the academy: that you write for yourself and that as writer, one needs a support group to keep the writing muscles going and for feedback mechanism. How do you reconcile these two ideas in your creative/writing process?
I write the story I see in my mind without thinking of the "mass audience" or a future readership for the eventual book. In other words, I don't worry if the scenes I write are going to offend a certain sector and neither do I try to preach or send a message to readers. However, my writing needs to be clear and the characters' actions need to make sense as the plot unfolds. This is why it's important to have a small group of writers who look at my chapters and tell me if a certain scene seems plausible or not. In the case of The Mango Bride, I needed to see if the Tagalog phrases were still understandable in context for non-Tagalog speakers.
b. Describe your growth as a writer. You started out with stories for children, and now, a Palanca winning novel. What happened in between?
I worked in advertising before I began writing stories for children. Over the years I wrote essays for legmanila.com, an online magazine. Those essays were eventually compiled into Suddenly Stateside. Then I went on to write a guide to pregnancy, (Baby Love); a guide to being happily single (Sexy Sassy Singularly Happy); then Spooky Mo; in between that I edited an anthology of autobiographical essays that my high school class self-published (Speak Up, Woman) to fund a scholarship at Miriam High School. We're in the process of putting the 2nd scholar through high school and will find a third one after she graduates.
c. Which is more important: a writing award or rave reviews from readers/critics?
Alll good feedback is good, whether it's in the form of winning an award or getting a good review from critics. These things help sell more copies. But I don't write with that goal in mind. My first goal is to write a good story. Whatever follows is a bonus.
d. What story or novel you wish you've written?
I haven't really thought about that.
e. Who is your "writer's writer" and why?
There are many, but Ann Patchett comes to mind, because of the depth of research that she wend through in order to write Bel Canto
f. If you're not a writer in this age and time, what would you be?
A good cook. But I only cook for friends and family, so I'd still need another day job.