Writing is something I always knew I could do. When I was at school, some of my friends could sing, some could draw… I could write. I was the editor in chief of the school paper so I edited and wrote news articles, I wrote many of the school plays I performed in, I entered poetry writing competitions and performed spoken word poetry, I wrote the speeches I delivered in oratorical competitions, declamation, debates, etc. At the time, I thought I was doing so many different things, but looking back, everything I chose to do involved writing. When I was writing Heartbound, there were times when I didn’t agree with my characters’ actions, but I couldn’t change anything because it wasn’t my decision anymore. That’s when I realised what being a writer truly meant. Everyone can write a story, but to create a world with a life of its own, that takes a writer.
When a powerful idea hits a writer, it’s no longer a choice. You have to write it, or it will drive you mad. The idea for Heartbound hit me so hard that I had to stop what I was doing. I picked up a pen and paper and started to scribble. My husband walked in and found me on the floor with pieces of papers around me. At that point, the outline of Heartbound was completed—chapter by chapter, from beginning to end.
When I finished and edited Heartbound, I was initially reluctant to get it published. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to share my world to, well, the world. When my friends and family finally managed to convince me to just give it a go, I did some research on credible agents and publishers that would be interested in my genre. I randomly picked one from the list, just to see how the process worked and what a rejection letter looked like. Two weeks later, I got a request for the full manuscript, and two weeks after that I was offered a contract. I had a difficult decision to make because I hadn’t really tried anything else at that point. However, from what I heard, querying agents could take months for a reply (even a rejection reply), and even if someone took me on, there was no guarantee the agent could sell it to a publisher—and I already had a publisher interested. In the end, it made sense to seize the opportunity.
I expected the journey to publication to be far more difficult, but I suppose I got lucky in finding my publisher. I have to say that I made the right choice signing with them. The whole team—from the editors, the cover artists, the authors—have been so accommodating and supportive. I’ve learned so much from Debby, the chief editor. Most importantly, because SMP, New York is not a big corporate publishing machine, I feel like I’ve had a voice in the whole process, which is something that I didn’t expect from what I know of other authors’ experiences with other publishers.
At the moment, I’m working on three novels. One of them is Heartless, the second book in the Heart Series. The other two came to me at the same time and bugged me until I paid attention get some chapters written. I’m also building a (spoken word) poetry collection that will hopefully be ready for publication next year. There’s a video performance available for Unmoving, and a few more from the collection should be up soon.
She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.
Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.
Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.
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