The winner of last week's SIGNED copy of ORCHARDS
Today, I have an interview with Mina Esveguerra, who wrote one of my favourite reads of the year, Fairy Tale Fail. Let's give Mina a friendly Points of Claire-ification welcome.
I'm a fairy tale-aholic, so I loved your novel Fairy Tale Fail. Can you tell us a little about the book and where the idea came from?
Fairy Tale Fail is about Ellie, a twenty-five-year-old living in Manila. She's fascinated with fairy tales, to the point that she stubbornly tries for "happily ever after" with the guy who breaks up with her, even though everyone else in her life is telling her to move on already. The story was inspired by something that happened to a friend, but I used the fairy tale template to give it structure.
The book is set in the Philippines. Did you make any special considerations to tailor it to the international market?
Surprisingly, not that much. There's a growing demand for English-language chick lit/women's fiction in the Philippines, so I wrote it for that market originally and didn't rewrite when I released it on Amazon. Whether it's accepted as is internationally, it's a toss-up. Some people can tell right away that it's not the usual America- or UK-based story, others don't notice until the few foreign words come in. Some mind that it's set in an unfamiliar place, others don't.
I hope though that people who wind up buying Fairy Tale Fail learn a little about what it's like to be a certain kind of woman in the Philippines. Maybe some experiences are the same, and hopefully whatever's different will be interesting anyway.
You were traditionally published for earlier books, but you now self publish. Would you like to share the reasons behind the switch? What are the pros and cons for you of traditional publishing and self-publishing?
In a way, I haven't made a complete switch yet. I still submit manuscripts to my traditional publisher. The way it works in the Philippines, if you want to reach more readers within the country you'll still have to work with a publisher who can offer nationwide distribution. Amazon's Kindle Store isn't that popular here yet, mostly because you need a credit card to buy, and many people here don't have one. But even people who have credit cards and Amazon accounts, many of those I've talked to don't really know what's up with the Kindle Store. Usually I end up explaining the Kindle store, the free Kindle apps, how to buy other formats at Smashwords... and that's a bit overwhelming for someone who just showed some interest in reading my book.
When I started the self-publishing experiment, I found out that my audience for that was global, rather than local. So now I try to do both: develop some stories for a local audience (to be submitted to my traditional publisher) and some stories I let loose onto the world via self-publishing.
Can you give us a quick idea of what to expect in your new novella, LOVE YOUR FRENEMIES?
Love Your Frenemies is about Kimmy, beautiful, twenty-seven-year-old manager-in-training, who isn't very well-liked because she's brash and headstrong. But then her wedding is called off humiliatingly close to the date, and it shakes her enough that she escapes overseas to regroup. The novel opens with her return to Manila, having decided that all she needs to make it work there again is to make some changes in her life, and get away from the people who got her in that mess to begin with.
Any pearls of wisdom to share with us, the aspiring authors still in the trenches?
What held me back for so long was a lack of confidence, and I didn't even really have it when I finally got published. For me it was a series of moments when I felt brave and just decided to go for it -- to finish the novel, to let someone else read it, get it published. Usually there's crushing regret and doubt immediately after, but at least I moved forward bit by bit. So if I were to share anything it would be that: write often, and then when the moment comes and you feel brave enough to put it out there, do it.
Beautiful advice. Thanks you for joining us, Mina!(Btw, Mina means 'everyone' in Japanese, so it feels weird every time I say it. lol.)
To win your copy of Fairy Tale Fail, just tell me:
Have you ever clung to a fairy tale instead of reality?
Open until Wednesday at 11.59 pm EST.
Open internationally, to everyone.