Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!
This Saturday Night we welcome Ines Bautista. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.
Ines, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?
First of all, I love 70s music. When we were teenagers, my friends and I used to follow this 70s band called The Groove. We would attend their gigs and dance the night away. The drummer even had an afro. My favorite song was “Dancing Queen” by Abba. I was around 17 when this happened, I felt like the song was written for me. Ha ha!
But today, I am no longer 17 and I don’t have time to go dancing anymore. The only dancing I do is to Hi-5 whenever my daughters want to watch and dance together. I’m a mom to two little girls, one is 9 and the other is 3. They are my life and I have devoted my days to raising them. I write on the side, whenever I find the time.
I used to teach high school and freshman college English and literature and I used to be the editor in chief of a children’s magazine, then later, a teen magazine. I was also the editor of the chick lit books published by the same magazine company. I also used to and still write lots of feature articles. Today, I do all my writing and editing from home, in school, in Starbucks waiting for my kids while they’re in school, or on my bedroom floor while the kids are asleep.
I wrote my first book, One Crazy Summer, when my eldest daughter was three years old and took three-hour naps. I had actually started it when I was pregnant but shelved it because I thought it sucked (after thinking it was awesome haha). Then three years later, I stumbled across it again and wanted to know what was going to happen next. So I tried typing a few words and didn’t stop till I had a novella that I pitched to my publisher. They accepted it and published it and I came out with my second book, What’s in your Heart, two years later. I now also indie publish. It’s the best way to come out with books quickly. It takes a while for publishers to come out with books, and when you do it yourself, you’re in control.
The books I write are mostly sweet young or new adult romances. I love that age because everything is fresh and new but covered in so much angst and pain and confusion. I love having my main character figure her life out and grow up alongside an adorable boy who is usually hopelessly in love with her.
When did you feel like this is it, I’m an author whose words are going to be read by, and have an impact on, others?
It’s so hard for me to call myself an author. I know I need to own it. To claim it. To at the very least say it when people ask me what I do. But it’s been a dream of mine since I was a child scribbling stories in her spiral notebooks, and to claim it today still scares me. But the first time I felt like I could call myself an author was when I was interviewed by a magazine website about One Crazy Summer at its book launch. It was real. I had an actual book launch and next to my wedding day, it was the best day of my life. So many loved ones came to be with me, to have their books signed. It felt like it wasn’t just my win but everyone’s.
What do you want your readers to take with them after having read your books?
I want them to know that their dreams can come true. I want them to know that love can happen. But really, as long as they had fun reading any of my books, that’s enough to make me happy. I am not out to write a novel that will change the world or change the way people think. I love reading books that warm my heart, that make me feel safe, that keep me company when I’m lonely, that feel like friends. And I want my books to be like this for my readers.
What does the future look like for you, Ines? Future projects, releases etc.?
I have a YA manuscript that I am preparing for publication. I’m also currently writing a mommy lit book. It started out as a short story but there were so many things going on that I decided to turn it into a book. I’m excited about these two. I also plan to re-release two of my books, One Crazy Summer and Only A Kiss. I’m excited about these as well. So many things to do! But that’s always a good thing.
If one (or several) of your characters got invited to a 70s-themed party, what would they wear and what song and/or person would bring them to the dance floor?
A 70s-themed party would be the perfect event for my characters Tempest and Margarita Juan from Plain Vanilla. They’re two cousins who couldn’t be more different from each other. Tempest would wear faded bell-bottom jeans, a fitted t-shirt with a rainbow printed in front, and she would tie a thin, long ribbon around her head, allowing one end to trail down the side of her hair.
Margarita would wear a psychedelic-print dress. It would have long, bell-bottom sleeves and a short hem. She would pair it with high boots and huge hoop earrings. And when the song, “Last Dance” by Donna Summer will play, they will slow dance on the dance floor then begin to swing and jive when the beat kicks up.
You can easily look back at the 70s and see how the times have changed. If you look at the book community and publishing world today, what changes would you like to see for the future?
I would love to see more people read (and not pirate!) ebooks. In the Philippines, ebooks are slowly gaining popularity, but right now, a lot of readers still prefer print. I understand and I also love the feel of turning the pages and smelling them, but the dawn of ebooks has made indie publishing so much easier and more authors can get their stories out there without having to go through big publishers.
Ines, can you recommend two already published diverse books you’ve read and loved and one you can’t wait to read?
There are so many! But two published diverse books that I love are Once Upon A Player by Agay Llanera and The Kitchen When it Sizzles by Chrissie Peria. The one I can’t wait to read is Don’t Tell My Mother by Brigitte Bautista. I feel so lucky that I’m part of a group called #romanceclass (we write romance) because we now have so many books to read. Authors keep putting out books and it’s just wonderful.
Lastly, to end this interview, do you have a favorite 70s song to recommend your readers?
Why, “Dancing Queen” of course!
Thank you so much, Ines, for answering my questions. I hope you readers enjoyed this interview, I know I did! Eager to find out more about Ines Bautista? All information about her and her books can be found on her website. You can also find her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, her author blog, and Goodreads and buy her books on Amazon.
About The Author
Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, When Sparks Fly, All That Glitters, and Only a Kiss. She has written several short stories, among them is Plain Vanilla, Someday With You, Things I’ll Never Say (part of the Summit Books anthology Coming of Age), and Before the Sun Rises (part of the Ateneo de Manila University Press anthology Friend Zones).
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 and blogs about the many challenges and joys of motherhood at theeverydayprojectblog.com. She has a section in her current blog devoted to the stories in her head called The Author Project.
Since I promised a very 70s music-themed interview series, I have one last surprise, a favorite 70s song of mine (and there will be a new one every week yay). Now let’s get those dance moves on, here’s Best of My Love by The Emotions.
Do you want to listen to all of the songs from my Saturday Night Author Fever interview series?
To make things easier I have created a Spotify playlist that features all of the songs mentioned in my Saturday Night Author Fever posts. You can check out the playlist below or go here. Every time a new interview is published new songs will be added to it.
Thank you so much for tuning in this Saturday, what did you think of the interview and the music? Let me know in the comments below or on my Twitter!
*Thank you to the lovely Claribel Ortega for the gifs used in this blog series. You have to follow her on Twitter and check out her website here.