Q1. How did you come up with the story of Eight Goodbyes?
Coming out of my previous novel, In This Life, I wanted to tell a “lighter” story, given that I’d just written something full of angst and sorrow. I recognized how lucky I was to have a career that allowed me to travel quite often. I thought, why not take my readers on my trips with me? I decided to use the places I’d visited as a backdrop for this love story. And then, with so many relationships that have grown out of my interaction with many people of different cultures, it wasn’t so difficult for me to build on the main characters and the way they fell in love.
Q2. Have you experienced an LDR (long distance relationship) before?
Ha. Yes! It’s interesting, you know, the way you handle these relationships has a lot to do with your stage in life. Where you are, what you think of yourself, how independent you are (or are not) – I think maturity has a lot to do with it as well.
Q3. Why Eight Goodbyes? What’s the significance of the number 8?
I’m not sure if you know this, but my stories and my characters are influenced by songs on Spotify! I wrote this particular book to the song, “Ten Goodbyes” by Tim Atlas. Of course, I wanted the title to have a personal significance so I chose the number 8. Its shape is closest to the infinity symbol which….well, you have to read the book first.
Q4. If you’ve gotten into a situation like the protagonist (Tessa) in the story, what would you do? What would you choose — Career or Love life?
What a question to ask a hopeless romantic! Of course, I would always choose Love! But that’s probably because I’ve been lucky in both. It’s funny because I married at such a young age (at least in the eyes of millennials) and I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life at that point. But I found someone who just stepped aside and allowed me to really figure out what would make me feel fulfilled. And then moving to a foreign country when the children were very young – I had this fire in me to really prove to my family in the Philippines, that I didn’t need to depend on any of them! I think that as a woman, a mother and a wife, you have to find your inner peace, your own accomplishments – what makes you proud of yourself. Whether it be being the best stay at home mom you can be or being the best career woman. The problem is that you don’t really know that in your twenties.
Now that I have a daughter in her late twenties, I always advise her to build her career first before settling down. I think it’s because I want her to be selfish with herself first before living a life of selflessness. I did it the other way around and was just lucky I married the right guy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Q5. How do you select the name of your characters? Are they real person (in real life)?
For Eight Goodbyes, I used the name Tessa because it is my sister’s name and I wanted to include her in this journey. In my previous books, I always researched the meaning of names and chose one trait that distinguished each character. Simon means “listen” and “obey”, which as you know, tells you so much about how Simon wore his heart on his sleeve. I also make it a point to use the names of the people in my Brae’s Butterflies private group. I like mentioning them randomly – not only because I love to surprise them, but because without them, I would not be here.
Last but not least, I also used the names of my actual friends from France.
Q6. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I’m doing it now! I have been so blessed to have a career outside of the writing world. Writing is really just an outlet for me, a stress reliever. On a daily basis, I actually go to an office, work with numbers and people, and try to make the right decisions for the company. I work in Finance as the CFO of an advertising agency – it’s been my home for fifteen years and I work with the most amazing human beings.
Q7. What made this book of yours special unlike all the other romance books out there?
This is actually a tough question, because I don’t think Eight Goodbyes is more special than one book or another. I think that a book is special to a person because it hits a nerve, identifies with a person’s past experience, or takes the person on a much needed respite from daily life. There are SO many romance books that sometimes, I think it’s really crazy that I keep writing and that I keep publishing books that get buried in the sea of other books. But then I remind myself, that I have always written for me, and that if this book can inspire even one single person, then all the hard work has been worth it.
Q8. What is your advice to all the couples who are in a long distance relationship right now?
I would say that LOVE will always win out in the end. If what you have is based on trust and respect and true love, nothing that happens around you will be strong enough to pull you apart. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. Expectations always find a way to ruin a relationship. Make sure they are managed and realistic. Love should make you happy, should make you soar. It shouldn’t be your whole life. It should complement your life. If your LDR is causing you doubt, or stress or makes you sad, then walk away from it before you lose yourself.
Eight Goodbyes is available for only P395 at National Book Store and Powerbooks branches. It is also available online at www.anvilpublishing.com.