Blog Tour~When Sparks Fly by Ines Bautista-Yao: Author Interview and Giveaway

Hello, Ines! I’m so happy to have you here at Cinderella Stories. Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for granting me this interview. First of all, congratulations on your new book, “When Sparks Fly.”

Thank you so much for having me! I’m so excited and happy to be here. 🙂

1. Would you please tell us about your book When Sparks Fly? How long did you write this?

When Sparks Fly really started out as a short story to promote Only A Kiss. It was my first time to self-publish a book and I wanted to put up a short story for free to entice people to read my new book. So I figured a prequel would be a good idea — about characters in the first chapter of Only A Kiss, Ben and Regina. When I started writing it, however, my friend Treena who reads everything I write while I write it (I think I need her to push me), told me that I couldn’t just keep it as a short story. She fell in love with Ben and Reg and she told me they needed their own book. Of course this threw me off because I had to go back and add scenes and I had to stretch the story — but the good thing was, I didn’t just stretch it, it grew on its own.

It took so long to write this book — almost two years — or a little more than two years — because other stories got in the way. I wrote five short stories and another book in between! But I realized I had to finish it because I owed it to Ben and Reg. 🙂

2. When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid, I would keep notebooks where I would write stories. I even put stickers on the first page to act as my cover. One of my classmates saw me writing one of my stories and wanted to read it and then the rest of the class started passing my stories around. I was surprised when they were getting passed to the next class too! But that was awesome and it pushed me to keep writing.

3. Ms. Ines, you’ve got a ‘day job’, what is your work schedule like when you’re writing? How does that work? Do you have a daily word count goal?

My day job is being a mother. And that is a 24/7 job with no breaks ever. So yes, it’s really hard to write. I also freelance — I write articles and I edit magazines and books. So sometimes, my fiction gets pushed aside while I need to focus on other things. I write when my kids are asleep, in school, or when they’re willing to play with my husband (but if I’m there, they prefer to play with me!!! Groan. Haha!). So this leads to writing in my notebooks — I do this when we travel. Or writing in my phone — I do this when I don’t have my notebook or if I have a sleeping child on me and I can’t move.

4. What is your writing process, do you work on an outline first or just go write without one?

I was just complaining about this last night! I usually write without an outline. I’m a pantser. I love realizing where the story is going while I write. It’s so exciting. BUT I know this is not ideal and if I do write an outline, I will be able to write faster and I wouldn’t have to read everything I’ve written again — I used to do that and it took so long! I hardly have time to write and it takes so much time re-reading what I’ve written so far. Plus, when I read writing books or watch writing seminars and workshops, they ALL say you need to outline. The last time I outlined, I couldn’t write. I was stuck. I was so uninspired. I closed my outline and I was able to write my story. For my next book, I did it again! I wrote an outline. And now, I’m not touching my story. I seriously wonder if something is wrong with me. Because you know, I love following rules. I’m a nerd that way.

5. What is one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

One of the most surprising things I have learned while writing is that I can push and push myself and I can actually do something I was terrified of doing before. And I can do it while I’m tired, while I’m sleep-deprived, and while there is loud, high-pitched music playing in the background as my kids scream and jump all around me. Although when that happens, I need to edit really carefully afterwards.

6. What do you think makes a good story?

A story needs a lot of elements to work together to be good. It needs a plot that moves quickly and has no loopholes, it needs a setting that is believable, it needs characters that are authentic, and so on. But what I look for when I read a book are characters I can relate to, characters who are so real that even if they cannot exist in real life because they are demons or fairies, there is still something about them that tugs at your heart and makes you care about them and what happens to them. I also appreciate settings that make me feel as if I’m in the actual place. It isn’t enough for the author to say that she’s in a particular country. If I can’t feel, smell, taste, or hear that place, it isn’t enough. But of course all of these things must work harmoniously. I should stop now because I can write an entire paper on this haha!

7. Do you have other works in progress?

Yes! My YA book that isn’t getting written because I made an outline for it hahahaha! I have serious thoughts about ditching the outline and just writing again. Then I will refer to the outline when I get stuck. I swear, I don’t know what is wrong with me. It’s frustrating.

8. Your tips for aspiring authors?

My advice is to just write. And not to expect your first book to be good. It most likely won’t be. Even if your mom says it’s awesome. Remember she’s biased. But keep at it. Keep writing and keep working on ways to improve. Read books, ask for advice from authors you admire, join a critique group, a workshop, a class. Don’t let the fire die. And remember, with each story you write, you will get better as long as you try.



Click the image below for a chance to win an ecopy of: When Sparks Fly, Only a Kiss, or a paperback copy of When Sparks Fly



About When Sparks Fly

Twenty-four-year-old photographer’s apprentice Regina has always felt like the plain, dull orange next to the shiny red apple that is her best friend Lana. But then she meets Ben—the first guy to ever break Lana’s heart, and the first guy to ever make Regina feel that he only has eyes for her. As Regina finds herself falling hard for Ben, she also finds herself breaking all the rules of best-friendship. Will she give up the love of her life for Lana, or will she finally realize that she deserves her share of the spotlight, too?

When Sparks Fly can be read as a standalone novel, but it is also a prequel to Ines Bautista-Yao’s other book Only A Kiss.

Purchase Link: amazon UK

About the Author

Reading and writing are close to Ines Bautista Yao’s heart ever since she was a child. She graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in AB Communication Arts. She has been a teacher at the Assumption College San Lorenzo and the Ateneo de Manila University’s English department.

Her debut novel One Crazy Summer was first penned in 2007 when she was pregnant with her first daughter Addie. Being a mother has taken much of Ines’ time so she was only able to write 13 pages of her novel. She completed her story in April 2011, while three-year-old Addie was sleeping and inspiration struck her again. Two months later her story was complete. After eight months, her dream of publishing her own book came true. The book was only launched last January 26, 2012, but Ines is already writing her second novel.

Most readers can remember Ines as the former editor-in-chief of K-Zone Magazine and Candy Magazine . At present, Ines is working as an editor of Summit Books. She is also married to photographer Marc Yao, whom she says she consults whenever she’s stuck in the middle of a story she’s writing.

One Crazy Summer Author Ines Bautista Yao on Juggling Writing and Motherhood by Belle Yambao
Spotlight on Filipino Authors: Ines Bautista-Yao (less)

Crushingly Close Blog Tour ~ Author Interview: Stella Torres

Hello, Stella! I’m so happy to have you here at Cinderella Stories. Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for granting me this interview. First of all, congratulations on your new book, “Crushingly Close.”

– Thanks, Jho! I’m glad to sit down with you for this interview. I hope that I can share more about the book with your readers 🙂

1. Would you please tell us about your book Crushingly Close? How long did you write this?

Crushingly Close started out as a story written for #buqosteamyreads in 2014—at that time, I had this concept of a news producer and an anchorman working late nights and butting heads at work before realizing that they were meant for each other. I ended up not being able to publish at that time (for reasons related to my PhD) but I had the chance to rewrite it later in July of that year as a novella for Camp NaNoWriMo. This time, I was able to expand the story because I had just come back from a trip to Indonesia, and I was also into soccer and the World Cup.

It took me one month to finish the first draft, and two more years of polishing and rewriting in between my PhD coursework, but I managed to get it out—and here we are!

2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I guess I’ve always known I wanted to be one ever since I was in elementary school. I liked telling stories, and I would always do things like rewrite fairy tales or draw “comics” with cartoon characters in adventurous situations. It wasn’t until I was in sixth or seventh grade when I realized that I wanted to write fiction, and I tried to work on my first novel back then. I was so ambitious!

3. Ms. Stella, you’ve got a ‘day job’, what is your work schedule like when you’re writing? How does that work? Do you have a daily word count goal?

Because my PhD is my “day job,” I’m lucky that I get to take semestral breaks to concentrate on my writing. For the remainder of the year, however, I’ve structured my days in such a way that I would have “office hours” where I would concentrate on my coursework and research during the daytime on Mondays to Fridays, so I can write fiction on nights and weekends. There are times when I deviate from the routine—say, when I have an important presentation that needs more of my time—but most days I can manage to get things done.

As for word counts, I had a goal of at least 1,000 words per day when I wrote this for Camp NaNoWriMo, since I wanted to come up with a 30,000-word story by the end of the month. The great thing about my Camp NaNo experience (as opposed to the regular National Novel Writing Month experience in November) was that I was able to set my own word count goals so I could take the pressure off myself. It’s good training when you’re starting out and writing your first draft.

4. What is your writing process, do you work on an outline first or just go write without one?

I used to write without an outline; the initial draft for my first book (Save the Cake) was written without one, and so were the first 30,000 words of Crushingly Close. It wasn’t until I started with the rewrites for Crushingly that I realized that the system wasn’t working for me: the plot was a mess, the characterizations didn’t make sense, and the scenes weren’t as funny or exciting as they were when I came up with them inside my head.

I had to go back and write a whole new outline for the book to guide me through the rewrites and check on how every aspect of the story worked together. The rewrites got easier after that, and now I can’t imagine writing (or at least rewriting) without an outline. My next two (!) books have outlines now, and they’ve made writing easier for me.

5. What is one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

One of the most important revelations that occurred to me while writing this book was the power of characterization. It wasn’t enough for me to say that my main characters were in a high-stress environment; I had to feel every emotion and every ounce of tension that they held in their body.

When I put this book through revisions, I worked on getting under my characters’ skins to figure out their motivations—what turns them on, what makes them tick, what keeps them awake at night. It got to the point where they were talking to me about where they wanted to go in the story. And I had to listen, because I felt like the story didn’t go anywhere when I had complete control over everything. That felt very freeing for me.

6. What do you think makes a good story?

That’s a good question! I’ve been reading non-romance books lately, and I find that the best stories are the ones where the author can make the reader care about what’s happening. The characters don’t always have to be likeable, but the plot must be steady and the writing has to be consistent. Also, the ending has to make sense—no use going all the way to the end of the book only to say, “What the hell did I just read here?”

7. Do you have other works in progress?

Right now I have an unfinished story that I wrote for another class, which I didn’t finish in time for the deadline but I’m planning on querying in the future for publication. It’s about a long-distance relationship between a call-center agent and a guy who works twelve time zones away—nothing too complicated, but it’s sweet and romantic and gives all the feels.

I’m also planning on joining NaNoWriMo again this November, but that story is still in the outline stages and I won’t be sharing any details about it until later this year. Of course, everything will depend on my academic schedule and how much I’ll be able to take for the next two years, but I’m hoping to have complete drafts for both of those stories by this time next year.

8. Your tips for aspiring authors?

Read, read, read! It’s the best way to discover who you are as a writer. You can learn a lot from other writers, not just in your genre, but from other genres as well. Don’t just study the “classics” in every genre—take them apart, piece by piece, so you can figure out why they’ve endured for years.

Also, don’t worry too much about what other people will say about you while you’re writing. It’s all background noise. Finish the book first, and everything will take care of itself.


Book: Crushingly Close
Release Date: July 19, 2016
Author: Stella Torres

About the Author: Stella Torres is the author of Save the Cake and the short story “Be Creative” from Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Arts Academy (Vol. 1)). She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature and worked briefly in public relations, but has chosen to pursue her post-graduate studies in the field of education. She loves dark chocolate, hates flyaways, and is constantly in search of comfortable shoes.

Connect with the author:


About the Book: At twenty-four years old, Agnes Escueta has risen from the ranks to become a producer for Sports Tonight. No one can touch her, it seems—not even crush-worthy anchorman Daniel Ferrer, who she gets to work with every single day. When a road trip to Indonesia throws Agnes and Daniel together, they find themselves working in close quarters. It doesn’t take long before Agnes finds herself being charmed by Daniel, and her defenses start to melt with his touch. With deadlines looming and a big game coming, Agnes must figure out how to let Daniel into her life without risking her professional reputation—and without breaking her own heart.


Amazon (pre-order): or



“Anything you want with your coffee?” Daniel said. “Cream? Sugar?”

My gaze fell on the containers of sugar and creamer that Daniel had taken out of the cupboard. “I thought you took your coffee black?”

“I thought I’d take them out for you.”

I may not swoon at the feet of Daniel Ferrer on command, but I wouldn’t deny that he was handsome. His hair was short enough to keep the emphasis on his almond eyes and sharp cheekbones. His skin had the kind of glow that came from running at the break of dawn, which he always talked about as part of his regular-day workout routine. And while he cut an impressive figure whenever he showed up in his suit and tie on-screen, the jeans and polo shirts that he wore to work showed off his lean muscles, especially in his arms and chest.

And his abs.

And his butt.

There, I’ve said it. Daniel Ferrer had a hot bod. But his body was beside the point. First and foremost, he was a co-worker, and co-workers weren’t supposed to think of each other that way.

Right? Right.

He smiled like he knew how his presence would affect me. “You look like you’ve got a lot of things on your mind.”

Of course I had a lot of things on my mind. We had a show to produce tonight, and a meeting in two hours about our trip to Jakarta for the football friendly between the Philippines and Indonesia. Not to mention the text messages that I wasn’t getting from my mother and brother…

“You make this face whenever you’re worried,” Daniel said.

“What face?”

He pointed to my mouth. “See that? Your lips curve downward when you press them together.”

“No, they don’t.”

“You’re making that face again.” He cocked his head to the side and leaned forward. “See? Your lips press hard, and your eyebrows scrunch in the middle of your forehead. Then your eyes go blank, like you’re spacing out.”

“I don’t space out.”

“Really? Then why haven’t you stirred any cream and sugar into your coffee?”

I looked down into my cup, and—just as Daniel said—my coffee was still black.

“It’s getting cold,” he said. “Here, have a spoon.”

Bumasa at Lumaya 2: A Sourcebook on Children’s Literature in the Philippines Blog Tour ~ Author Interview: Zarah Gagatiga

Hi, Zarah! I’m so happy to have you here at Cinderella Stories. Welcome to my blog and thank you for granting me this interview. First of all, congratulations on your new book, “Bumasa at Lumaya 2: A Sourcebook on Children’s Literature in the Philippines.”

1. Would you please tell us about your contribution in the book “Bumasa at Lumaya 2: A Sourcebook on Children’s Literature in the Philippines.” How long did you write this?

My contribution to BL2 is an article on setting up libraries and reading centers for young people. It took me two years to finish the piece. It’s the shortest piece in the collection but I labored in revising it. I think, if my memory serves me right, I wrote three articles. The first one was very academic and sounded like a paper meant to be presented at a conference for librarians. It received comments that, to this day, give me shudders. I tried my best to reframe my mindset. I removed myself from the article but I kept the comments of the editors to heart. Nasaktan ako, symepre. I had doubts on my capability to write a decent article. But my editors are, first and foremost, my friends in the industry. They always have the best intention at heart. It was then that I realize how lucky I am to have true friends in the industry. This is what I learned early on. Never compromise the quality of work over the personal. The ideals we aspire to achieve, the standards we envision to meet and the integrity we bring to our craft should be over and above our personal interests.

So I went back to the writing table.

My second article was epistolary. I used the persona of Pilar Perez, one of the Philippine’s prominent and influential librarians who championed children’s library services. In the letter, she gave tips to her nephew who is a new librarian and how he can serve children better.

It was rejected.

Because life happened, my final article was written sometime in 2014 with much coaching now, from Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz. I worked on the comments and followed through and it ended up as a DIY article. Very practical and easy to do.

Am I happy with what I wrote? No. Because, I just recently discovered a better way to approach the organization of library and reading centers. This came later on when one of the editors, Rayvi Sunico, engaged me in a convo over at Messenger with a friend who needs tips to organize a school library as she was a teacher with no library and information science background. It was Rayvi too, who pointed out that my tips were more appropriate for the BL2 collection. He encouraged me to go back to it and try sending it as an additional piece.

But, again, life happened.

I still hope that this “convo” piece will see the light of day. I have partially blogged about it. But putting it in a printed book is a different experience. Am I proud of what I wrote for BL2? Yes, to some extent.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I read Judy Blume and SE Hinton. There was something in them, especially on Blume, that made me dream to be one. Blume gave me hope. Hinton showed me possibilities. I was 14 years old then.

3. Why write children’s books?

It’s fun! It’s a lot of hard work too. You learn from your team: the publisher, the editor/project coordinator, and the illustrator.


4. What is one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I learned how little I know of the world of children. I learned to respect children more. I am always humbled to go through the process of creation. So every work or story I put out there must be carefully produced. Well thought out and lovingly crafted. But, book publishing can be messy.

5. What do you think makes a good story?

A good story speaks the truth of the reader – which changes from one reader to the next. A good story finds its place in the heart of both the young and the graying. A good story stands the test of time.

6. Do you have other works in progress?

Yes. I have two picture books in the works and laboring on two series for early readers.

7. Your tips for aspiring children’s book authors?

Find the stories that changed your life. A significant human experience. Tell it aloud first. Several times. Over and over. Then, write it.

We can talk about the messy part of workshopping a story and the steps into publishing later on. For now, write. Just write your story.

About Bumasa at Lumaya 2

“Twenty-one years after its first ever resource and reference book on children’s literature in the Philippines, the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) again offers readers a second look at where Philippine children’s literature is today: the huge strides it has taken and the many more fascinating destinations it has set its sights on.”

Contributors: Eugene Y. Evasco, Rene O. Villanueva (+), Neni Sta. Romana Cruz, Lara Saguisag, Christine S. Bellen, Ramon C. Sunico, Luis P. Gatmaitan, Mailin Paterno Locsin, Russell Molina, Carla Pacis, Augie Rivera, Zarah C. Gagatiga, Jomike Tejido, Beth Parrocha, Perpilili Vivienne Tiongson, Lin Acacio Flores, Ruben de Jesus, Liza Flores, Paolo Chikiamco, Ani Rosa Almario, Leonor Diaz, Dina Ocampo, & Felicitas Pado.


About the Author

Zarah first learned the magic of storytelling from her maternal grandmother. Her first reading teacher was her mother who also introduced her to the wonder of books. She married her first love and they live in a small house near the city. Her first born is a budding musician and her daughter always wants to be the first in everything she does.

Zarah blogs at

List of Works:


Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories by Dianne de Las Casas and Zarah C. Gagatiga, ABC CLIO/Libraries Unlimited, 2011

The archipelago nation of the Philippines is comprised of more than 7,100 islands on which over 170 dialects are spoken. This is not surprising given the many ethnic groups that have settled in the Philippines, each bringing traditions that have been assimilated by the Filipino people. One way to understand this varied nation is through its colorful folklore.

Purchase Link:


A Tale of Two Dreams: a parable from Mindoro (2013)
Illustrated by Bernadette Solina Wolf

Two childhood friends meet again after many years of being apart. One stayed on the island while the other had adventures in far away lands. They chose different paths but both discovered the meaning of home.

My Daddy! My One and Only! (2013)mybooks_2016
Illustrated by Jomike Tejido

A narrative in verse celebrating the joys and delights of fatherhood. Tejido’s clean and colorful illustrations extend and further develop the context of the narrative.

Dear Nanay (2014)
Illustrated by Liza Flores


A little girl writes a letter to her mother expressing how much she misses her every day. This is an homage to the OFWs and their families they left behind.

Big Sister (2015)
Illustrated by Ruben de Jesus

A little boy ponders on how much his big sister (Ate) means to her despite the many ways she annoys him.

Start Right Reading Series Kindergarten Level (2014)
Illustrated by Bernadette Solina Wold

A learning package with resources and teaching materials for Kindergarten students, teachers and parents. It has 12 story books with accompanying teachers’ manual and parents guide. Ideal for classroom use and homeschooling session.

Blog Tour ~ Interview and Giveaway: Underneath It All by Ysa Arcangel

Hello, Ysa! I’m so happy to have you here at Cinderella Stories. Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for granting me this interview. First of all, congratulations on your new book, “Underneath It All.”

1. Would you please tell us about your book Underneath It All. How long did you write this?

Underneath It All is a story forgiveness, love and the courage to follow your heart’s desires. It’s a story about a graduating college student Agata Ferrero and the newly appointed young dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Reeve Gates.

This story not only focuses on two people fighting for their taboo love, but about love fighting the dark eyes of hatred and crashing a heart of stone. A kind of love that endures pain and forgives sins that brings the family back together.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

As cliche as it may sound, when I haven’t read what I really wanted to read.

I’m an avid reader and an active member of the read/write site called Wattpad. You  think you have read it all but there’s more! I aspired to be one of those writers I look up to. My aspirations became a dream and that dream is now a reality.

3. Ms. Ysa, you’ve got a ‘day job’, what is your work schedule like when you’re writing? How does that work? Do you have a daily word count goal?

I don’t just have a ‘day job’ but also a perpetual job.I’m a mother of three and a wife of very grumpy hubby who hates to see me up until the wee hours writing like crazy.

At work during down time, I write.  On the train, on my way to work, I write on my phone. I writer wherever I can. I don’t have a daily word count goal but I see to it to write at least 1k whenever I can.

4. What is your writing process, do you work on an outline first or just go write without one?

I consider myself a half-blood pantser. I need a plan, a general idea. I write a rough outline of  the beginning, middle and end then pants all the way through.

5. What is one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Along the way, I have learned a few hard and soft lessons in creating my books one of which is not to expect every reader will love your book.  As the old adage goes, you cannot please everybody. I just continue creating quality stories and branch out to different genres to broaden my audience and sharpen my writing skills.

6. What do you think makes a good story?

I think for me, when I think about a ‘good story’ I think about the actual construction of sentences, how the author put words together, creates well-developed and multi-dimensional characters, draws the readers in and the overall organization of the story. That’s the technical part of it.

But I think that the best indicator of a ‘good story’ is if it touches your readers in some way. That your readers might be able to completely put themselves in the shoes of your heroine.

Funny thing, one person’s trash-read is another person’s great-read. I do believe that just because you have a great story doesn’t mean you write well and the same is true in reverse.

7. Do you have other works in progress?

I have two paranormal/urban fantasy WIPs.

8. Your tips for aspiring authors?

My advice to aspiring writers, just write it! You’ll never know how long it’ll take you to write a story unless you begin writing. Go ahead, make that first step. Do not be afraid to share your work to the world. Criticism may break you but it will always sharpen your skill. Your work may not see the light of the day in an actual published book but at least you enjoy the journey regardless.

Build your author platform and fanbase before you take advantage of all the publishing path and tools available for you. Write as much as you can and when you get published, publish more books. Especially, do not give up on what makes you happy.



A senior at Gates University, Agata Ferrero knows without a doubt that Reeve Gates is off limits…

Students can’t date faculty, and Reeve has been appointed by his father as the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. But when a near accident with the front end of Reeve’s sleek sports car brings her in close contact with him, Agata can’t deny the flash of desire that consumes her.

Reeve Gates is a man hell-bent on revenge…

Abandoned in the care of his step-mother as a child, Reeve accepts the position at Gates University for the sole purpose of ruining his father’s career. What he didn’t expect was to be sidetracked by the sultry eyes of a student.

Resisting temptation is even harder than it looks…

When a sorority pledging incident leaves Agata stranded on campus in the middle of a treacherous storm, her better judgment falters and she accepts help from the young Dean she can’t get out of her head. Certain there is a beating heart underneath his stone-cold exterior, she escapes with Reeve on a romantic retreat away from prying eyes.


Blinded by retaliation…

Reeve manipulates his dying father into handing over control of the university—and immediately threatens to shut down the school as a form of cruel payback. His scheme sparks a campus-wide protest that leaves one of Agata’s professors dead and her future hanging in the balance.

Agata must fight to convince Reeve he is capable of forgiveness, and their taboo love is worth more than revenge.

But is there really a bright future awaiting…

Underneath It All







Forever Night Stand:

Snippets of Memories: A Forever Night Stand Bonus Book (99 CENTS)


Ysa Arcangel is a Filipino author based in Manila. She works as a Spanish-English GDS Helpdesk by day and a writer by night. She is a loving partner to a chef and a mom to three amazing kids.
She enjoys creative writing and uses her obsessive nature by writing contemporary paranormal and romance fiction with lots of laughs, tears and sighs showcasing sweet, funny and badass female leads with raunchy and hot male love interests whether human or supernatural.
She’s a lover of coffee, tattoos, and giant dogs. She is also an extreme sports enthusiast. When she’s not writing, you can see her spending time with her family, reading, or having TV series marathons.



Author Interview: Marie Claire Lim Moore

Hello, Claire! I’m so happy to have you here at Cinderella Stories again. Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for granting me this interview. First of all, congratulations on your new book, “Don’t Forget the Parsley.”

1. Would you please tell us about your books: Don’t Forget the Soap and Don’t Forget the Parsley. What led you to write these books and how long did you write these?

Thanks so much for inviting me back to Cinderella Stories. And appreciate all the good wishes and support on my new book.

Don’t Forget the Soap and Don’t Forget the Parsley are family memoirs. In many 02e7c-czje9-yu8aaza2o2blargeways, Don’t Forget the Parsley picks up where Don’t Forget the Soap left off. Many of the stories from the first book were from my childhood and focused on early career experiences. While the second book still includes family anecdotes from when we were kids, there’s more I share about life after children, life after writing my book, etc. There are also a lot of fun stories about my father (and other family members) as well as my mother.

I’ve always wanted to document my parents’ story as new immigrants to Canada and the US, however, only when I had kids of my own did I have the inspiration and discipline to sit down and get it done. I wrote both books during maternity leave with my second and third child.

2. In a nutshell, what do you hope the readers would take away from your family memoirs?

“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything.”

3. What’s your most cherished family tradition? Why is it important?

Breaking bread! That is, family meals. This can mean big holidays when it’s with all our relatives and friends or every day with just the five of us. Sitting down for dinner together has always been the highlight of every day for me because it’s when family members get to talk and share with no other distractions. No smart phones, tablets, blackberries or TV.

Don't Forget the Soap Book Cover

Don’t Forget the Soap by Marie Claire Lim Moore

4. In an interview, you mentioned something about legacy. You said, and I quote, “A legacy can come in many forms. In one way, my children are my legacy. In another way, my family memoir is my legacy. If I had to summarize, I would like my legacy to be that I lived my best life, learning from my past, living in the present, and building for the future.”

Each and every one of us long to leave a legacy, what is your message to readers who are currently struggling to make their own mark?

Don’t underestimate the importance of simply living each day to the fullest. The right attitude combined with an appreciation of one’s own roots and values will lead to a successful and positive life.

5. On to the writing side, what is your writing process, do you work on an outline first or just go write without one?

I start with a very rough (and flexible) outline and then try to build out as much as I can.

6. What are the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I’ve been delightfully surprised to learn how much the book has resonated with so many different people. Not just Filipinos and Filipino-Americans but all immigrants, women trying to balance it all, everyone who feels close to their family, etc.

quote 2

7. Do you have other works in progress? Say, a third book on the family memoir?

I’m currently working with a number of amazing Filipina women (fellow awardees of FWN 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World) on a book on women’s leadership.

8. We all have our own stories to tell. What do you think makes a good story? What are your tips to others who want to write their own memoir?

Agree, everyone has at least one book in them. “Write the book you want to read,” is a great piece of advice someone once gave me.

9. Your tips for aspiring authors?

  • Book writing time can be anytime. Many people associate writing a book with going to a secluded place for days maybe weeks and knocking out a book… I had to squeeze in book writing in the 45 minutes between a client meeting and pumping session. Even if you get just one paragraph done during that time, it’s progress. Those minutes and paragraphs add up…
  • Don’t be a perfectionist. In order to do #1 you can’t worry about sentences being perfect, tone being consistent… at least not as you’re in the book drafting phase. Plenty of time to clean up those things later.

There you have it, guys! One of my favorite authors, Marie Claire Lim Moore! I hope you enjoyed the interview. I sure enjoyed writing the questions. If you enjoyed this, you are bound to enjoy her books, too.

Happy reading! ❤


Don’t Forget the Parsley ( a sequel to Don’t Forget The Soap)

Marie Claire Lim Moore

Non-fiction memoir
Also available at Fully Booked

Marie Claire Lim Moore builds on her first memoir, Don’t Forget the Soap, offering more entertaining stories about her family in this follow up. Like her first book, Don’t Forget the Parsley is a collection of anecdotes from different points in Claire’s life: stories from her second-generation immigrant childhood in Vancouver and New York City mix with recent expat experiences in Singapore and Hong Kong where she balances multiple roles as wife and mother, corporate executive and author. Her positively Filipino parents continue to have a big influence on her whether it comes to managing family and career, meeting heads of state and world leaders or simply making new friends.

From stray observations (everything is funnier at church) and midnight anxieties (if Jessica Simpson gets to go to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, why shouldn’t I?) to life mantras (don’t let perfection hold you back) and litmus tests (would you serve drinks at my mother’s art show?), Claire’s warm and honest storytelling will resonate with readers and leave them smiling.



marie claire lim moore - author photo

Marie Claire Lim Moore is a Filipina-Canadian-American working mother and author of Don’t Forget the Soap. After spending the early part of her childhood in Vancouver, Claire moved to New York City and attended the United Nations International School. She went on to study at Yale, climb the corporate ladder at Citi and travel around the world. She met her husband, Alex, while working in Sao Paulo, Brazil and they married in Manila, Philippines shortly before moving to Singapore. Now Mom to Carlos, Isabel, and Sofia, Claire also manages the Global Client business for Citi in Asia.

Claire is regularly ranked among leaders in the Asian-American professional community and her experiences have been written about in The New York Times, USA Today, Smart Parenting, Good Housekeeping and People Asia. She enjoys juggling her thriving career and growing family, fundraising for Filipino community events and promoting work-family balance for women through her talks as well as her writing. Previous speaking engagements have been hosted by Standard Chartered Bank, The Financial Women’s Association of Singapore, and MasterCard Asia.

In 2014, Claire received the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World Award™ (Global FWN100™) that recognizes Filipina women who are influencing the face of leadership in the global workplace, having reached status for outstanding work in their respective fields, and who are recognized for their leadership, achievement and contributions to society, female mentorship and legacy. Claire is also featured in women’s empowerment expert Claudia Chan’s Remarkable Women Series along with female role models Arianna Huffington, Tory Burch and Zainab Salbi.

Blog Tour and Interview: Linda O’Connor, author of Perfectly Honest and Perfectly Reasonable

Hi Ms. Linda, thank you so much for granting me this interview. Happy to have you here at Cinderella Stories.

Linda: Thank you very much for hosting me!

  1. First of all, would you please tell us about your books: Perfectly Honest and Perfectly Reasonable? What led you to write these books and how long did you write these?

Perfectly Honest (Book 1) was actually the fourth novel I’d written, but the first I thought had a spark. It took nine months to write. There are two parts in Perfectly Honest that specifically evolved from my medical experience. The first is when Mikaela helps deliver a baby in the middle of a hotel foyer. I’ve jumped in to provide medical care at church, on a plane, on the soccer field, at a beach, in an exercise class…medicine is rarely nine to five! And I’ve had some pretty funny reactions from people when they’ve found out I’m a doctor. The second scene is when Mikaela’s specialty eclipses Sam’s. My husband is a specialist and his specialty often garners more interest than mine when we meet someone new. Except once. One day, in the midst of a family doctor shortage, we were at the bank and the two women helping us were so excited that I was a family doctor that my husband’s specialty never came up. I had to chuckle when he mentioned that he noticed and I thought it’d be great to put that in a story.

I wrote Perfectly Reasonable (Book 2) right after I finished Perfectly Honest. I knew I wanted a series with spin-off characters, but I didn’t really (at all) plan the series before I started writing it. Not far into it, I realized that Perfectly Reasonable would need to be a prequel – time-wise. But I really wanted to share some of my expertise about applying to medical school. I’ve spent over ten years teaching clinical skills to medical students and it’s been very interesting talking to them about what they thought they did to be successful in their application. It was also a fun way to incorporate some of the medical and ethical dilemmas that doctors face!

  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Interestingly, I never thought I’d be a writer. When I was in university, a professor told me that I had no command of the English language (although I’ve taken A LOT of workshops so maybe he was right :D) But as a physician, I thought there was a need to disseminate basic medical information – like recognizing mental health symptoms, birth control myths, and basic preventative health care – in new and innovative ways. I had the idea to share the information in a romance novel, weaving it in the story and incorporating it into the activities I do on social media and through the book promotion. I hoped it would be a bit more appealing that the myriad of educational posters up in my office!

  1. Ms. Linda, you’re a doctor by day, what is your work schedule like when you’re writing? How does that work? Do you have a daily word count goal?

I’m balancing work and family with writing so having protected time to write is vital. I set aside two days a week to write (it used to be one). I won’t schedule any meetings, repairmen, or appointments on those two days. Actually, one of the things I love most about writing is being able to write at whatever pace I choose. As a kid, I always found it tough to come up with a story when the teacher asked because I had too many thoughts racing around in my head and needed time to mull it over. Luckily, now I have time to mull it over! I don’t get too wound up about writing a certain number of words a day, but lately I’ve tried to complete a novel within a season. It’s easier to keep the characters and storyline details in my head with a shorter timeline.

  1. What is your writing process, do you work on an outline first or just go write without one?

I start with an idea for the beginning, middle, and end of the story and then develop the characters. I try to get to know them very well, and I have to nail down their names. Male names are the hardest because I don’t want to use my sons’ names or the names of any of their friends. It has to be a completely new person in my head and not remind me of anyone (kind of like naming a child!). I’ve tried to make a detailed plot outline, but the characters often do something unexpected and it goes off the rails. Usually by the fifth chapter I can start to outline in more detail.

  1. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I wrote Perfectly Honest and I hadn’t realized how Canadian I was (with a British writing style) until I entered the manuscript into one of the RWA chapter contests in the United States. The main character, Mikaela, was tired at the end of a long day and agreed to do a favor for a friend, so she stopped on her way home for a double double. Two of the contest judges commented that they had no idea what that was. What?? Canadian babies’ first words are momma, dada and double double. How could you not know what that was? Haha. It’s a coffee – two creams, two sugars. Plus, Mikaela routinely went to the drive thru at Tim Horton’s (our most popular, one-on-every-corner, don’t drive anywhere until you’ve stopped there first, coffee and donut shop) to pick up the double double. One judge wrote, “Who is this Tim Horton? Need to develop his character.” I was going to write back that he’s a relative of Dunkin’!

Since then I’ve learned a few things about writing for an American audience!

  1. What do you think makes a good story?

For me, the best kind of story is one that makes me laugh. I’m usually reading to relax at the end of a day, and I much prefer a fun story with a happy-ever-after ending.

  1. Do you have other works in progress?

Book 3 in the Perfectly Series, Perfectly Planned, was just released on November 24th! I’m currently working on the second book in a holiday series.

  1. Your tips for aspiring authors?

The best advice I was given about writing was to remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time – not only to write a book, edit and polish it, but to get it out there for the world to see and develop a loyal group of readers. If I had to pass on advice to an aspiring writer, young or old, I’d say, if you’re passionate about writing, stick with it. But be patient little grasshopper.

Thank you again, Ms. Linda, for gracing my blog. I had fun doing this and I loved reading your answers. 🙂 Good luck on your current work-in-progress and looking forward to reading your books. ❤


Author Bio

Linda has been writing romance novels for three years and sincerely thanks Debby Gilbert at Soul Mate Publishing for the ultimate encouragement to her writing – with the leap to publishing. She has many titles including Doctor, Mom, and proud Canadian, but “Linda O’Connor – hereinafter called the Author” is one of the sweetest.

Contemporary romantic comedies are her favorite novels to read and write. Linda balances writing with her work as a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic and being a mom to three sons (luckily grown and capable of throwing together a decent meal, in a pinch). She also likes to keep active and cycle, cross-country ski, skate, walk with her husband or dance every day.

Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Author Website:

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Perfectly Reasonable

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Purchase Links

Perfectly Reasonable

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Author Interview: Ana Huang author of All I’ve Never Wanted

Hi Ms. Ana, thank you so much for granting me this interview. Happy to have you here at Cinderella Stories.

To our dear readers, Ana is better known as ACRL37 in Wattpad where she has over thirty seven thousand followers. She posted four stories there that garnered a combined views of over twenty million! How did she do it?

Without further ado, here is Ms. Ana to share with us how her writing experience had been so far:

1. First of all, would you please tell us what All I’ve Never Wanted is all about? What led you to write this book and how long did you write this?

All I’ve Never Wanted is about Maya Lindberg, an ordinary girl who attends a school for wealthy students that’s run by the Scions, a clique of four very popular and powerful guys. She has an unfortunate run-in with them and gets sucked into their world of drama. Even though she dislikes them at the beginning, she gradually starts to realize that her original assumptions about them may have been wrong. There is romance in this book, but it is primarily a story about friendship, and it was inspired by a Taiwanese drama called Meteor Garden. I loved the show’s general plot, so I decided to write my own story based off it.

2. I understand you first posted this story in Wattpad? How long have you been writing in Wattpad?

Yes. I finished AINW when I was seventeen but didn’t share it until I discovered Wattpad two years later. I started writing on Wattpad about five years ago, but I haven’t been as active as I’d like recently since life has gotten really busy for me, but I’m hoping to change that once I figure out how to have a healthier work-life balance!

3. Are you cross-posting your stories in other websites? If yes, in which site did your stories garner more views/reads? If no, what made you choose Wattpad out of all the other writing communities?

When I first joined Wattpad, I did cross post one or two chapters of my stories on other sites like Fictionpress and Figment. However, it was quite time-consuming and I decided it was better to just to post on Wattpad. Plus, I thought Wattpad had the best format and the most active and supportive community. It was really easy to share and discover new books, and to comment/like stories, which isn’t as easy on some other sites.

4. Let’s talk about your writing experience in wattpad. How are you liking it so far? How long have you been writing before your stories have gotten the attention of the readers?

I love Wattpad! I was pretty lucky in that my stories–especially All I’ve Never Wanted–gained attention pretty quickly. I would say it started really gaining attraction after a month or so on the site. I really have to thank my readers and fans for that, because they are so amazing, supportive, and patient.

5. What do you think are the factors that led to your success in Wattpad?

There’s a lot of factors that lead to success in any field, not just writing on Wattpad. However, I did try to interact with readers as much as possible by replying to their messages, comments, etc. and I think that helped a lot. It got a lot harder to reply to every message and comment after my stories got really popular but I do read all of them and I take all of their suggestions and constructive criticism to heart when writing my next chapter or story. Of course, it’s important to write a story that engages and entertains readers, but a large part of it is also luck. There are some fantastic stories on the site that don’t gain as much attention, so sometimes it’s just about where the dice falls.

6. Do you have other works you would like to plug?

Lol not plug exactly, but I am rewriting my study abroad romance If We Ever Meet Again–based off my own study abroad experiences–and I hope to publish it sometime next year, so keep an eye out for that!

7. Your tips for aspiring authors? 

Don’t give up, don’t take it personally, and do other things you enjoy. I love writing, but even when I had time to work on my stories regularly, it wasn’t the only thing I did. I hung out with my friends, traveled, watched movies, etc. and I got a lot of inspiration from what happens in daily life. Putting your work out there is hard, especially when you read a negative comment, but it’s important for writers to know how to take constructive criticism that will improve their writing (and to learn how to ignore others that are simply attacking the writer out of spite or some other non-relevant reason, because those types of people will always exist, especially on the Internet). It takes a lot of patience, courage, and hard work to finish a story and put it out there for all the world to see, but it’s all worth it in the end.

There you go! Thank you, Ana, for answering my questions! ❤ Readers, I hope you enjoyed reading her answers. I hope you’ll check out her book All I’ve Never Wanted below.


About the Book

Title: All I’ve Never Wanted

Author: Ana Huang

Genre: YA


The Scions were the four richest, most powerful guys at Valesca Academy, and they ruled the school with iron fists. Everyone wanted to date them or be them…everyone, that is, except Maya Lindberg, who just wanted to avoid them until she could graduate. 

She almost succeeded, until an ill-advised outburst on her part put her right in the Scions’ path. Just like that, one became her fake boyfriend, one her unwanted matchmaker, one her guardian angel, and the one she couldn’t stand the most? Yeah, he’s her new housemate.

Author Bio

Ana Huang, better known as ACRL37 on Wattpad, primarily writes Young Adult and Romance. She started writing her first novel, All I’ve Never Wanted, when she was sixteen; it was originally inspired by the Asian manga Hana Yori Dango. Her second novel, If We Ever Meet Again, was loosely based on her own study abroad experiences in college. Her stories currently have a combined view of over 20 million on Wattpad.

Besides reading and writing, she also enjoys shopping, brunch, and traveling.



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