I don’t do romance, at least that’s what I was telling people up until early this year. I always say that I do write about people falling in love, but that love is never the core of the stories I wrote. When I joined #Romanceclass2016, I realized why I didn’t write romance before. It was difficult . . . for me. There were RULES (!!!?), which I realized I broke every time I wrote something where my characters fall in love.
I have killed characters suddenly. I have thrown in a twist or two toward the end. I have ended stories where there was no happily ever after. Damn. I never knew writing romance was going to be the hardest thing I had ever done.
But I rolled up my sleeves and just dove in. And I did it! It wasn’t easy. My initial draft had too much angst in it and I even put in a scene I shouldn’t have, breaking another rule (all sex should be consensual) and I realized it was really easier for me to write, focusing on the darkness of people’s psyches than highlighting the giddiness and kilig of love. So I did a major rewrite, just let go, and let my inner “girl” take over. It was difficult to rein in the crime fiction writer in me, and the paranormal/psychological horror writer, and even the speculative fiction writer. I couldn’t suddenly do a twist of the macabre to aid the story. I needed to write about real people, dealing with real situations, and focus on real feelings. I had to search deep within me for the raw, romantic feelings. And I can’t kill anyone off!
The end result is my first contemporary romance Kate, Finally, coming out on October 22. I think it is as close to a kilig love story as I could make it, and still staying true to my real nature. It helped that it has heat level 3. It still has traces of my “dark” influences, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am proud to put my name on it, and I have created characters that I have fallen in love with.
The story starts off with Kate travelling to six countries as part of her bucket list. She meets Layne in each of those countries and the sparks fly all over the place, as they spend six hot nights, one in each country. I used countries I have personally travelled to, so everything I wrote in the book are places I have actually been to: Sydney, with the beautiful sight of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour; Vietnam, and the motorbikes of Ho Chi Minh; China and the Great Wall; India, and the inside of a Mumbai hotel; Malaysia, at SkyBar Kuala Lumpur; and Singapore on Orchard Road. I truly enjoyed writing about Kate and Layne meeting, falling in lust and finally, falling in love in those places.
But when they individually go back to Manila, they are confronted with their respective realities. And that’s where the story really begins. Because it is something to flirt and get it on as strangers in a foreign land, and quite another to face reality and see whether they have it in them to have a relationship that would stand the test of the real world. And of course, there are all the people and situations around them in real life.
Let’s just say that it was a journey for me to write this story and I’m glad I took it. I have always liked challenging myself, and this was definitely a big challenge.
I hope people will also love the story as much as I do.
Printed books will be released on October 22 at #FeelsFest at Glorietta 5 Atrium. ebooks are up for pre-order on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MCQO2SI