Mina V. Esguerra is an author who writes chick lit set in the Philippines, written in English. By now she have three novels out: My Imaginary Ex, Fairy Tale Fail, and No Strings Attached. Check her out on her website.
1. What inspired you to write?
I think I got the idea because Elizabeth Wakefield from Sweet Valley High wanted so much to be one.
2. What kind of preparation do you usually do before writing? Like rituals, etc.
I’m on a laptop or netbook most hours of the day as it is, so working and writing me wouldn’t look any different to someone who happens to pass by. I do like to plot stuff in my head before I write it down though, and it usually happens when I’m sitting in moving vehicles.
3. How did you feel when you got in hand your first published book?
Glee. A friend sent me a text that she saw it in a bookstore; didn’t even know it was out already.
4. Which of your books were the fastest, the easiest, and the hardest to write?
Fastest and easiest–My Imaginary Ex. It’s based on a short story I wrote in college so most of the plot points I had already worked out. Draft took about four weeks to finish.
Hardest–the yet-to-be-published Love Your Frenemies because the main character here was a “villain” in a previous book, and I didn’t want to change the way she was.
5. From your books, who is your most favorite character?
Tonio from No Strings Attached (but of course I like Zack, Lucas, and Dante, too.)
6. Was there any character in your books which was inspired by, if not living, a real person?
Almost all of them are but so much changes in writing that even if they read it, they probably wouldn’t recognize themselves in it. Most of the names are of actual people I went to elementary and high school with.
7. If there are any similarities between your female book leads, what would it/they be?
Oh, they’re all smart and beautiful to me.
8. I should give you credit for the creative titles of your books. How hard was it to think of a title?
It’s the most difficult part of the process, for me. My editor gets credit for No Strings Attached, though.
9. Who are your favorite authors, and why?
Jhumpa Lahiri (she knows how to do quiet pain), Neil Gaiman (love his imagination), Arundhati Roy (her book got me to read regularly again), Stieg Larsson (most recent provider of thrills). And must give shoutouts to YA authors Christopher Pike and Sheri Cobb South. Love them and was influenced much by them growing up.
10. Who are your favorite book characters from what books?
Most recently, Mikhail Blomkvist from the Millennium trilogy. In my mind, I cast George Clooney in the part.
11. What books are you currently reading?
[Charles] Dickens’ Great Expectations. Also, [I’m] in the middle of Switched by Amanda Hocking.
12. What book do you wish you had written?
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai, Booker Prize winner from a few years ago.
13. Are you working on your next novel? If yes, will you please give us a short teaser?
Love Your Frenemies is about Kimmy Domingo, “that bitch” from My Imaginary Ex. She took a year off to get away from certain people, and is back in Manila to start over — and to attend the wedding of her best friend.
14. Any advice for aspiring writers?
Not directly to do with writing, but here it is — start getting rid of that fear of being read and judged by other people. It won’t ever stop anyway, no matter how much you improve, so just learn to take it and deal with it. 🙂