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.
About the Author
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.