Tomorrow, we’ll finally be launching the updated version of Usok #1, with a gorgeous new illustration for each story. We’ll also have an announcement regarding the future of Usok as well. As a celebration of the launch of the illustrated version, I’ll be posting short interviews with Yvette, Crystal and Celestine (I already posted interviews with chiles, and Kenneth, as well as artists Kevin and Tey (who did the illustration for Yvette’s story, “The Child Abandoned“). Here’s the third Usok #1 author interview, with Yvette Tan, author of “The Child Abandoned“
Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story
I was passing by Sta. Ana one day when I noticed the name of the church near St. Peter School called The Church of Our Lady of the Abandoned, or something like that. I thought it was a sad and beautiful name and that I must use it in a story.
What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?
I have a horrible sense of direction, so it’s the geographical parts of the story that gave me the most difficulty. I’ve been to Quiapo several times and until now, I still can’t name streets or remember how to get to places. Of course, that just gives me a reason to visit the place again.
Do you remember the first short story you ever wrote? What was it about?
The first stories I wrote weren’t so much original works as adaptations, and more graphic novels than fiction. In grade school, a friend and I used to draw scenes from Maricel Soriano comedies (the more Marias in the movie, the better). I also wrote a personal security handbook which I bound in wrapping paper and refused to show anyone. In high school, I wrote specially commissioned stories that starred my friends and the New Kid on the Block of their choice, as well as some horribly derivative fantasy, one of which was novel-length. This is probably why I flunked a lot of subjects.
Does your cultural background influence how you write, or what you write?
I actually don’t use my cultural background in my writing. I know I should take advantage of my Chinese roots, but I am so much more fascinated by the Filipino side.
What was the best piece of writing advice you ever read or received?
At a talk, John Maxwell shared his secret for getting stuff done. He said that every day, he had five goals that he should do, and he did them. It’s simple, and it gets the job done.