Interim Goddess of Love: Interview with Mina Esguerra

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 24 - 2012

Mina Esguerra is one of the Filipino authors most beloved by the blogging community, partly because she writes excellent “chick lit” stories in a Philippine context, and partly because she maintains a regular online presence. Her next romance novella is a YA book with speculative elements, so I jumped at the chance to have her on the blog for a short interview.

Tell us a bit about your new book, “Interim Goddess of Love”:

Interim Goddess of Love is my first YA romance novella, and it’s about Hannah, a sophomore scholarship student at a college just outside of Metro Manila. Her world changes pretty much overnight when her friend (and not-so-secret crush), reveals to her that he’s actually the god of the sun, and that he needs her to temporarily be the goddess of love. Because the original goddess is missing. It’s the first volume of what I’ve planned as a series. (Operative word is “planned” of course.)

In an interview last year, you mentioned how your first novel pitch was for a YA story that was not picked up. What made you decide to return to that genre now? How do you approach writing a YA novel as opposed to one that is not aimed at that market?

Before getting published that first time (My Imaginary Ex, a chick lit novella), I had only ever really written YA — stuff that was more Sweet Dreams- and Sweet Valley-ish. Writing chick lit now, I actually still take my YA concept and just age the characters by five to seven years. My books are not very “adult” or raunchy. (My mother will disagree, but anyway.) I’ve also used a lot of flashbacks to college, so I feel like I never really left that comfort zone.

I pay attention to readers mentioning my books in social media though, and I noticed that they’re young. Teenagers. Younger than I’d expected since the stories are about twenty-somethings.  So I thought maybe I could work on a story and keep the characters teenagers too, instead of aging them. That’s how Interim Goddess of Love started.

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Two Writer Workshops: Mina Esguerra and Tim Tomlinson

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 19 - 2012

Just heard about two workshops that may be of interest to Rocket Kapre readers. First up is “PUBLISHING IN PAJAMAS: HOW I SUCCESSFULLY RELEASED MY BOOKS TO THE WORLD”, a talk on digital self-publishing by Mina V. Esguerra (who I’ll be interviewing next week about her new YA fantasy-romance, “Interim Goddess of Love“). The talk is this coming Saturday afternoon, and you can go here for details.

Next we have a workshop from Tim Tomlinson, co-founder of the prestigious New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. The workshop takes place over the course of three days andthe deadline for reservations is on January 23, 2012. You can read more details here.

[Links and images from Panitikan]

“Alternative Alamat” on the Nook and Three Reviews

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 17 - 2012

Good news for Barnes & Noble Nook readers–”Alternative Alamat” is not only available on the Nook, it’s also been discounted there to US$3.99 (B&N’s decision, not ours) so now would be a great time to check it out, or spread the word to a Nook loving friend.

I’d like to point to three recent reviews of “Alternaitve Alamat”. The first is by Filipina writer Kristine Ong Muslim, and is on the Amazon page of “Alternative Alamat”, Kristine calls it “fine volume which showcases the contemporary retelling of Philippine myths” and gives it 4 out of 5 stars. Thanks Kristine!

The second review comes from GMA News Online (courtesy of Melay Guanzon Lapeña), and it’s a very positive review, and she calls the book “an impressive collection of stories”.  Of Rochita Loenen Ruiz’s “Harinuo’s Love Song”, Melay says it is “[b]eautifully told, the words swirl as the story unfolds” and she also says that “[f]ans of Budjette Tan’s hit graphic novel “Trese” are in for a treat” with the Trese prose story, “Last Full Show”. Melay takes the time to say a little something about each story, even if it’s just a brief description, and that’s greatly appreciated. Thanks Melay!

The third review comes from book blogger (and fellow lawyer!) Monique, who gives the book a perfect 5 out of 5 rating, and calls it “[d]ifferent, but clever. Brilliant.” Thanks Monique!

Don’t forget, you can find Alternative Alamat at these fine establishments:

Podfiction: “Coconut” by Marianne Villanueva

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 16 - 2012

After a bit of a break, Filipino pod fiction site Pakinggan Pilipinas is back with a new episode: “Coconut”, by the charming Marianne Villanueva, as narrated by Maryanne Moll. Listen to it here.

Call for Submissions: Thursday Never Looking Back

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 12 - 2012

Bitten by the pre-apocalypse muse? Adam David is looking for essays, fictions, poetry, songs, komix, doodles, photographs, videos, for THURSDAY NEVER LOOKING BACK, an electronic anthology that seeks to gather, process, and perform various end-of-the-world scenarios. You can see more details here.

Catherine Batac Walder Reviews “Alternative Alamat”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 9 - 2012

Filipina writer (and Ruin and Resolve contributor) Catherine Batac Walder has a wonderful story-by-story review of Alternative Alamat (now updated with her comments on Mervin Malonzo’s artwork) up on her blog. Here’s what she has to say about some of her favorite stories from the anthology:

“The Alipin’s Tale” is very rich both in Philippine mythology and historical characters. Endlessly fixated on Greek mythology, this is the first time that I remember encountering a Filipino story that reads like one…

“Keeper of My Sky.” Alternate realities, a series of what could have beens, like reading Einstein’s Dreams, trying not to kick up dust. This has to be my favourite in the volume. Beautiful.

“Conquering Makiling” is sharp, witty and sexy. I felt I was invited by friends for a climb up Makiling and instead of getting nervous and tired, it became a walk in the park and just that – a gathering with friends. (Damn I didn’t realise Philippine myth is this hot haha).

Thanks for the review Catherine! As always, remember that you can purchase Alternative Alamat at any of the following vendors:

Table of Contents: Philippine Speculative Fiction 7

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 3 - 2012

Co-editor Kate Osias has just revealed the table of contents for the seventh volume of the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology from Kestrel DDM. I’m also pleased to announce that my superhero(ish) story, “Oblation”, was selected for this volume. You can see the rest of the lineup at Kate’s blog. Congratulations to editors Kate and Alex Osias (on both the selection and the fact that your marriage seemed to have survived the process) and the contributors!

Kate is also running a bit of a guessing-game contest, where winners will receive copies of the previous volume (PSF6) at the PSF7 launch.

PGS Online Call For Submissions (2012)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 1 - 2012

Philippine Genre Stories (PGS) Online has opened today to fiction submissions by Filipino writers, and will remain open until April 30, 2012. You can find the full details here.  Note that while PGS Online does publish stories in Filipino, I’ve confirmed with editor Kenneth Yu that the present call is only for stories in English. I think that I’ve mentioned before how PGS, in its original print, always-open-to-submissions incarnation, was instrumental in jump starting the writing careers of many Filipino authors, like myself, and I’m certain it will continue to do so in its shiny online edition. So, writers, submit and spread the word!

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Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.

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