Author Interview | Ana Tejano
Ana Tejano: I was in Grade 3. I “met” Elizabeth Wakefield for the first time that year, after I borrowed some Sweet Valley Kids book from a classmate. I think it was the book Jessica’s Big Mistake where I told myself that I could be a writer just like Elizabeth. How hard could it be, right? (Heh) I can’t remember if I started writing stories by that time but I am pretty sure I wrote my first ones by Grade 4. J
TPW: Do you read much, and if so, who are your favourite authors?
AT: Yes! I read even more than I write, I think. :D My favorite author depends on the genres I read - for YA/Contemporary, I love Sarah Dessen, Sara Zarr, Melina Marchetta, and Sarah Addision Allen. For the non-contemporary/speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, etc), I like Jasper Fforde, Mira Grant, Patrick Ness, Ilona Andrews, and Maggie Stiefvater. As for the ones I read for fun and research when writing, my staples are Kristan Higgins, Stephanie Perkins, and Mina V. Esguerra.
TPW: What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
AT: As far as “starting” is concerned, I suppose I have started writing for a long time, ever since I joined National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2004. But that was really just all “starting” because I never tried to have anything edited or submitted. I told myself that one day, I will finally send something out into the world. Then 2013 came, which I called my “Year of the Brave,” and just in time, Mina V. Esguerra started a free contemporary romance writing class. What’s there to lose, right? I joined, with full intention of really letting something out, and the rest fell into place. J
TPW: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
AT: I don’t know how interesting this is, but when I write, I need to talk it out with someone, especially when I run into plot holes. I think the act of verbalizing things help me to see it all in other angles that I miss when I keep it to myself. I have three friends who serve as my sounding board when I hammer these things out. They don’t even have to say anything - they just have to listen, and then a few minutes later, I know what to do.
TPW: Where do your ideas come from?
AT: Here’s a secret: some of the things that happened in Fall Like Rain (and in the next few books) were patterned after real life experiences. Some of them are mine, but as they go through the writing and editing process, they changed so much that they don’t resemble its source at all. Some ideas I get from conversations with friends, or stories from my brother and his wedding clients, while others were from books, and Pinoy romance movies. :D
TPW: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
AT: That it really wasn't so easy. I mean, it seems like it is, especially after some friends did it but really, the middle of the story slayed me a bit. Everything just felt so blah, and even after I have written it, it was hard to revise after my editor sent some comments. Another surprise came after the book was released - apparently, a lot of people could relate to the story. I didn't expect that at all. Must be the friend zone, haha.
TPW: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
AT: Haha, the first thing that came to mind with this question is to say that Rain is a workaholic! But taking it from there, I think I can say that Rain is dedicated and loyal. She’s a bit stubborn and self-absorbed, and she keeps to herself and her closest friends a lot, but she’s loyal to this close circle, and the people she cares for. It would take a while for her to really warm up to people, but once she does, then she’ll be your friend for life (until you give her reasons not to be your friend, but that’s another thing).
TPW: Tell us about the cover/s and how it came about.
AT: I love, love, love this cover. Initially, a friend was supposed to make it, but she got busy, so I thought I’d make it myself since I do some graphics stuff for work. Then I realized that I can’t make it because it will look like something I made for work, so I looked for some artists online. Then I remembered Aia, who I met at one workshop, and remembered that she mentioned building her portfolio on her blog (www.aiaaa.net). I sent her an email, asked if she was interested in making a book cover, and then we started working on it.
I’m not a cover person, really, so it was kind of hard to come up with a cover idea. I just knew that I wanted one particular scene in the story on the cover, but I didn't know how to interpret it visually. I gave Aia the scene, and some ideas of what that scene was like, and then the colors I wanted. It took us about two iterations before I settled for one, and it was all color adjustments and text after that. I love how it all turned out, and it seems like a lot of people like it, too!
TPW: What draws you to this genre? And do you see yourself writing from a different one (genre)?
AT: I've always called myself a “fluffy” writer, even when I was writing NaNoWriMo novels. This genre is just easier for me to write, especially since I read and enjoy books from that genre as well. I would like to write in a different genre eventually - I still have a fantasy novel idea somewhere in my hard drive, and that dystopia one that I never got to figure out. Perhaps after I've finished the three more contemporary romance novels I have playing in my head. :D