If you’ve been keeping tabs on local bookstores, you might have noticed that they’ve been bringing in a lot of foreign authors these past few years. But we also have our share of Filipino authors who are definitely worth following. Some of them are even published internationally, such as Mina V. Esguerra, whom we featured last December, and fellow romance author Kate Evangelista.
Though her name may be new to you, Kate has been at her craft for a few years now and has a number of titles to her name. She writes for teens, adults, and everyone in between. Sometimes, there’s an element of fantasy in her stories; other times, there’s suspense. But if there’s one thing you should expect from her novels, it’s that they’ll feature a love story to have you swooning.
Kate’s latest novel, Relish, was released on January 12. It’s the companion novel to Savor and the final installment in her Vicious Feast series, which follows college student Dakota Collins as she photographs indie rock band Vicious and catches the attention of hot bassist Luka Visraya. You may think you know how their story goes down, but you’d be surprised by the twists that Kate has in store for you.
We had the chance to chat with Kate last week, and she happily gave us the lowdown about her journey to becoming an author and her creative process. Read on to learn more about this awesome Filipina who traded teaching English for becoming a full-time writer. Plus, we’ve got a special giveaway that may just win you a signed copy of one of Kate’s books and other cool prizes!
ModernFilipina.ph (MF): What sparked your interest in writing?
Kate Evangelista (KE): I think this question should be “who” in my case. My 2nd year high school English teacher sparked my interest. One single writing assignment changed my life. She asked us to write a short story and that was it.
MF: When did you realize that it was something you loved doing and that you wanted to do it for a living?
KE: I realized writing was something I loved doing early on. In high school, in fact. But I never thought of it as a possible career until more than a decade later. I read Twilight and I thought to myself I could do this too.
MF: What led to your decision to make the move from teaching to writing full-time?
KE: I loved teaching. I loved interacting with students and seeing that spark of learning in their eyes when something makes sense to them. But what I didn’t like was the paperwork. Checking papers and making lesson plans was the toughest part. I woke up one day and asked myself was this what I wanted to do for the next ten years? The answer was an overwhelming no.
MF: Looking back, would you have done anything differently in your career?
KE: No. I believe everything I did in my past needed to happen to lead me up to this point in my life and career.
MF: How much planning do your books involve?
KE: Sometimes I plan. Sometimes I don’t. It depends on the content of my books. For example, if I’m writing about a character who survived a heart transplant, I need to do my research so I know going in how I will develop that character based on his or her circumstance. But there are times when all I have to do is sit down and start writing. Most of the time these are my paranormal and fantasy books because I’m creating a new world not adding on something that already exists.
MF: How do you come up with the ideas for your novels, particularly your Vicious Feast series?
KE: I make sure I’m open to inspiration. Book ideas come to me all the time. I just wish there was more time in a day so I can write them all. Or type faster. For Vicious Feast, I essentially took the characters from my debut novel, Taste, and transported them into an alternate reality. I wanted to make Luka a rock star.
MF: Do you like to involve other people in your creative process?
KE: Yes. I do have critique partners and beta readers. These people are important to the process because they can give you avenues into your story that you may not have considered when you were writing it.
MF: Do you draw inspiration from your real-life experiences or encounters? If so, can you share an example?
KE: Yes. A great example is the way Didi, a character in my novel coming out from Swoon Reads, eats burgers. I had a friend who would eat burgers by following the circumference so it stays round the entire time until she reaches the pickle that is usually in the middle. That was her favorite part. Watch people. Observe your friends. Their quirks can be your characters’ quirks too.
MF: What makes your latest book, Relish, special to you?
KE: It’s a year in the making and the final book in the Vicious Feast series. It’s the final book I will write that will feature Luka, Demitri, and Phoenix. It’s bittersweet. A part of me is glad their story is done. But another part will miss them terribly.
MF: How do you keep your stories and characters fresh?
KE: I make sure I move on to another story. New story. New characters. New situations. I always try to challenge myself by writing in a genre I haven’t tried yet.
MF: What do you do when you hit a rough patch while working?
KE: I usually go to the mall and watch a movie. When I find that no inspiration is flowing, this usually means I’ve been in the house for too long. At about halfway through the movie I know what I need to do next with my writing. Works every time. Showers and taking walks too.
MF: Can you give us five tips on how both writers and non-writers alike can boost their creativity?
KE: Be open to inspiration. Be observant. Always challenge yourself to try something new. Discover what your limits are and push against them. And, most of all, have fun.