Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Author Interview: Joanne Crisner Alcayaga (Amazed and Brightest)

Yay! We were able to finally catch up with new author of inspirational book Amazed and co-author of children’s lit Brightest Joanne Crisner Alcayaga to have this interview…

 Tell us about your younger self. When did you find out that you wanted to be a writer?
When I was younger, I really didn’t know what I wanted to be. All I remember was my first attempt at writing a piece as I was about to graduate from grade school. I wanted to write about embarking on a new chapter as I enter High School. But that written work was purely for my own enjoyment. It was written at the back of an empty notebook which I wasn’t able to keep. During High SchooI, I tried out for the school newspaper but failed and joined an elective class in writing. I started to love reading pocketbooks and novels which I think propelled me to discover my own writing style and what genre I would enjoy writing. I guess, it was during college when I realized I wanted to be a writer which is why I took up Journalism. But after that, I found out that creative writing was really my passion.

  Do you remember some Eureka moments when you wanted to leave everything undone, go to your laptop and write something?
 Eureka moments for me mostly come when I am by myself, usually when I am traveling or commuting to wherever I am going. Those quiet moments when I just sit at the jeepney and realize something out of the blue. When I observe something at the street or just outside, some kind of enlightenment comes which I try to write about.

 In what genre do you want to write more? Who are the writers who inspire you the most? What are your favorite books?
 I just love writing about the essence of life. How to make a meaning out of it. How humanity struggles and triumphs. Mostly, I write inspirational essays, short stories and poems to touch other people’s lives. But I would love to venture into writing love stories or romance novellas since I grew up reading them and feeling “kilig” all over. Mitch Albom is my greatest inspiration in writing especially his theme and writing style as reflected in Tuesdays with Morrie. I guess Nicholas Sparks also made an impression, since A Walk to Remember is really the first novel I read, it brought me to tears. I also admire his writing style with a silent, flowing rhythm. Though I haven’t read their books, I have come across some works/quotes by these incredible writers, Marianne Williamson and Henry David Thoreau. I am also a big fan of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I am truly amazed by her insane imagination, creativity and her clever and impeccable writing. Every word had a purpose. Every word had a timing. Every word fit into her plot.

 What and where is your dream place where you would sit and write to your heart’s content?
 In my mind, I have already kept a dream place where I could just look out the window, breathe in the fresh air, feel the rich culture around and write to my heart’s content. It’s in Italy. I can see myself there. If you have already seen the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, there is a scene there where Dianne Lane just sits at her chair and types on her laptop, facing outside, with windows wide open. That’s me, hopefully, in a few years.

 Tell us about your books and how you came about to writing them. Do you have anything new in the drawer?
 I have already co-authored a children’s book with Josephine Litonjua and artist Johann De Venecia, entitled Brightest. It is filled with beautiful images but its content can also be targeted to adults. I also have a related essay inside the book which supports the overall message of the story. Just recently, my first ever solo book, Amazed, has also been published and released with the help of crowdsourcing. It is a collection of personal and inspirational essays and short stories which I have written since way back. Most of my life experiences and learnings can be found here including works of fiction. It tackles the complexities of love, work, family, and life in detail.

 What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
My advice to aspiring authors is to read. Never stop reading because that will be your foundation in writing. Always observe, practice your imagination, be curious enough, engage in meaningful conversations, listen to people’s stories, watch more movies with great content, expand your perspective, and just simply take in everything, every information, every snapshot and every idea that would cross your path. These can help you better understand yourself, what you want to write about and who you want to write for. It will lead you to your purpose on why you want to write. Make sure also that you don’t give up, there are so many outlets and venues out there for you, the perfect opportunity will come along when the time is right.

 How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Facebook: JoanneCrisner.Author, Amazed Page, Brightest Page,    
 Twitter: iamcrisner, Amazed020614
Goodreads: Joanne_Crisner, Amazed, Brightest

Friday, April 18, 2014

Author Interview: Kristel S.Villar (Blast from Two Pasts)

Kristel Villar

We are lucky to have interviewed Ms. Kristel S. Villar, the newest #romanceclass author who has published her romance novella, Blast From Two Pasts.

Tell us about your younger self. When did you find out that you wanted to be a writer?
       As early as nine years old (or is it late?). I couldn't remember when exactly, but I remembered my first attempt at writing fiction when I was
 nine years old. I wrote a short story about a female gymnast whose arrogance got in the way of her sporting dreams. I got loose clean pages
 of a spiral notebook and wrote the story, accompanied it with drawings, then made a book cover with a short folder and stapled the pages to make it look like a book. It's one of my proudest moments.

 Do you remember some Eureka moments when you wanted to leave everything undone, go to your laptop and write something?
       Yes! While on my day job, most of the time. Haha! Ideas normally pop out unexpectedly, and whenever it does, all I wanted was to write it while it was still "fresh". I try to sneak up a few minutes so that I won't lose the idea, then go back to work.

 In what genre do you want to write more?
      Contemporary romance. Young adult. New Adult. I quickly grabbed the opportunity when Mina Esguerra hosted the #romanceclass. I wasn't writing anything fiction for years until I joined that class. It rekindled my passion for writing fiction. I've always been a fan of young adult. I grew up reading and writing love stories about high school. There's something about young love that gives me all the 'feels'. I'm trying to concentrate on writing love stories about characters my age (late 20s, early 30s). It's easier to weave situations or mold characters.

 Who are the writers who inspire you the most? What are your favorite books?
     Elizabeth Chandler was my idol way back in high school. I'd buy all her Love Stories books. I love how her female characters are created strong and independent, and not clingy and overly mushy. I vowed to dedicate a novella to her. I also love Meg Cabot. Like Chandler, her characters are also independent, witty and bubbly. I love her The Mediator series. I had a story plot similar to that series when I was in high school, but I didn't pursue writing it. Mitch Albom is also an idol. I'm inspired by the books he wrote. (Him being a sportswriter is a plus). Stephen King is a god. My husband is a big fan and he influenced me to read his works. I just love his story-telling. It's so polished. He's so good, I wanted to be like him. My favorite books are mostly about romance. Outside romance, it has to be Yangze Choo's The Ghost Bride, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert... I couldn't remember all of them, they're too many! Growing up, I love Sweet Valley, Love Stories, Encyclopedia Brown, Goosebumps, and anything written by Christopher Pike.

What and where is your dream place where you would sit and write to your heart’s content?
     The coffee shop! If I can just live in Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I'm not picky. All I want is unlimited coffee and a nicely-lit corner (cushioned seat optional).

Tell us about your books and how you came about writing them.
      Blast From Two Pasts is my first contemporary romance novella. I wrote it for my #romanceclass. I was supposed to write about an arranged marriage trope, but Mina said tropes like arranged marriage are tough to write and make it realistic in the Philippine setting (because one, we don't have divorce, and two, there are tons of legal/paper requirements before a couple can get married). It took me a long time before I could come up with this new plot. Then it landed right on my lap. Everybody has puppy loves, has crushes when they were kids. What happens to those feelings after we grow up? And then, most people have exes. What happens when we look back? How do we handle it? Nothing was personal in this book except for the wedding preparations. I learned that from #romanceclass. It was totally Cara, Oliver and Lucas' stories. But I wanted to write about wedding preparations (having been recently married at that time), so I still injected it as a sub-plot (Ayen and Chad's story) My short story, The Rumor About Me, is part of Kids These Days: Stories About Luna East Arts Academy Vol. 1. Like every other plot I have, it just came out of nowhere. It's a young adult romance, set in high school, but it also tackled about social issues like bullying. My free published works on my Wattpad account are Carly's Dare and One-on-One, also a young adult romance connected to The Rumor About Me.

Do you have anything new in the drawer?
      Yes. A lot! Hahaha! But lately, I'm focused on finishing A Serendipitous Kiss. I plan on making it a short story, but with the way things are going with the outline, it could be a novelette or a novella.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
      Keep on writing and reading! And, taking it from a tweet that I read a long time ago: "It takes one negative comment to kill a dream. Remember that all the time."
How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Twitter: @tellytabachoy Amazon:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jatujak: Thai Food Heaven

It was again, the Pyrotechnics Festival held in Manila Bay Philippines. So off we went to the Mall of Asia 
to watch and have dinner at the Jatujak Thai Food Restaurant.
It was a small resto, with cute little green chairs and mostly contemporary ambience.  But the food was good. Though not really a foodie, I was satisfied with the asian inspired dishes that has a similarity to Filipino
dishes with a touch of coconut milk and spices.

Paul Boulangerie and Patisserie at SM Aura

For the longest time, Alvin and I wanted to see our good friend Joan whose date with the stork was near.We had a chance to meet at the Cafe Paul Boulangerie and Patisserie. What struck me most about the place was the avant garde ambience. Tha music was mainstream jazz, more trumpety and horny (well, more horns,teehee). We had coffee and creme brulee while Joan ordered Croque Madame as it was just late morning. Aside from the setting, the waiters were really everywhere, maybe a little too obstrusive for me. The manager asked us if we needed anything more. maybe a little privacee?
I want to try their pastry next time, why not?It is a great place to be.