by KB Meniado
Ines Bautista-Yao knows a lot about love—she’s a daughter, a wife, a mother, a teacher, and… an author and editor of romance fiction! To open the month of love ;), here she talks about writing kilig, learning from aspirations and living one’s passion.
Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of young adult and contemporary, sweet romance books and short stories. Her first book, One Crazy Summer, was published in the Philippines by Summit Books in 2011. She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone magazines, and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher. She is also a wife and mom.
Hi, Ines! Happy month of love, and thanks for making time 🙂 You know kilig so well, having written, edited and published YA, NA and adult romance novels. When writing, what do you think are the most important things to keep in mind? Aaand to keep up with this month’s theme (teehee), do you have any piece of advice for the young ones falling in love for the first time?
You know, when I first seriously started writing fiction, I didn’t know if I could do kilig. It’s such a tricky thing. There are just so many elements to work with. But I think the most important thing to remember is you need to know your characters. That’s how you can make the kilig happen. You get to know them, get your readers to care about them, then use what you know about them separately and when they’re together to magic up the kilig. For example, why is it significant if he will give her a particular piece of candy at a significant moment? You can’t build a scene like that without planting all the necessary stuff beforehand. (I was originally going to use the word “information” but it sounded so boring, haha!) And when you have the ingredients all laid out that way, it does feel like magic when it happens.
And if you are young and falling in love, remember not to lose who you are. Sometimes it’s so easy to melt into someone when your entire world seems to be filled by that person. But remember that you need to be your own person, too. And that will make your love so much better.
Hear, hear! I personally loved your latest YA novel Swept Off My Feet—sports romance is right up my alley—and I can’t help wondering how this would be perfect for a TV or movie adaptation. If your book characters could appear or make a crossover to any existing YA romcoms, would you be open to that? Where would they be and why?
I’m actually watching Gilmore Girls for the first time on Netflix! And I think Lorelai and Rory would get along with Geri and her mom of Swept Off My Feet. They would fit in with the rest of the crazy town of Stars Hollow. Geri will dance in Miss Patty’s studio and maybe shoot hoops with Dean. And Rory could tutor her in math. I should stop before I start writing an entire crossover fan fic, haha!
Life’s short, Ines, SO WRITE FAST. Lol, that’s a GG reference; I mean no pressure. But I do love that show—it features a lot of strong female characters! That makes me curious now: Did you have any fictional superheroes growing up? How did they help shape who you are now?
I used to read lots and lots of Nancy Drew. I loved how she would solve mysteries on her own—or with the help of her friends—and the boys were really just on the side. I also loved and still love Mulan (from the film) [MULAN! RAGING FIRE! GREAT TYPHOON!—KB]—because of how she selflessly saved China but more so for how smart and resourceful she was. You could already tell in the beginning that she was smart as a whip and she used her brain to save her father and her country.
It’s important for young girls to have strong heroines because they act as their role models, as examples of who they can aspire to be someday. They can serve as a life peg, as inspiration.
I wanted to be these women. I remember asking my parents for a mystery I could solve. Only to be disappointed they didn’t have one.
Bet now that you’re a liiitle older (a wife and a mom! And an editor and a teacher!), you have more than plenty of mysteries to solve 😂 Speaking of something that usually involves solving… you’re an indie author. What is the hardest part about it?
That you have to do (and pay for!) everything yourself! You have no team to help you. You can recruit one but it will cost a pretty penny. However, what I love about being indie pubbed is the community support. I have #romanceclass that supports me here and clean indie reads that supports me on Facebook and in other countries. I love the friends I’ve met through both groups and they have taught me so so so much about writing, about books and about life.
And I’m pretty sure you’ve got some lessons to share as well! What is one thing you’ve learned as an adult that you want to tell your past and future self about, one that can also apply to the rest of us seeking advice about love and life?
I will tell my past self not to get caught up in what may seem like a fairy-tale romance (with the conflict in full swing), and to use my head a little more even if my heart’s voice is louder.
Meanwhile, I will tell my future grandmother self that I hope she has achieved what I’ve been wanting to achieve BUT if she hasn’t, it’s okay. All she needs to do to make me proud is to be content with her life and to continue to make the most of it. And to continue writing and teaching. The two things that make my heart sing. ☁️