Power ng Pinoy

Interview with An Award-Winning Author

Few weeks ago, we wrote about the story of how one’s hobby can turn into a fulltime career.  Power ng Pinoy’s Arnold Pedrigal sat down with Geraldine Solon, best-selling and award-winning novelist whose latest novel, “ The Assignment”, will be launched this coming Friday, March 8, at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco.  The BookLaunch is being sponsored by the SF Philippine Consulate, LIIF, Power ng Pinoy and  Manila Mail.

Geraldine wrote several novels including Chocolicious and Love Letters. In our interview with her, Geraldine shared some of her thoughts about her inspiration and tips to aspiring novelists.

Arnold Pedrigal (AP) : What’s the most enjoyable aspects of writing a novel and tell us about the process.

Geraldine Solon (GS): Writing a novel is an emotional experience. For me, it’s the greatest way to express my creativity and imagination. I enjoy writing the first chapter since that’s when the story is still raw and I’m filled with excitement. I also enjoy including the sub-plots and connecting the story together. The most difficult part is the rewrites and edits because you don’t get to use your creative side so much. It takes me six months to write the first draft and after writing the end, I set aside the book for a month. Yes, a month because that’s the best way to take a step back from your story. Once I dive in, I examine the bigger picture like voice, POV, structure, characterization, themes, setting, etc. and begin taking down notes on what I should include or delete. That whole process takes another month and then I start doing rewrites. After my third draft, I send it to my editor who takes a month to complete her edits before she gives the manuscript back to me. I then work on my final draft with all the changes and suggestions my editor has made. Writing a novel is a long process but the outcome is worth it.

AP: How do you market your books?

GS: I organize blog tours, use social media, connect with writer’s groups, cross-promote with other authors, conduct speaking engagements, teach workshops, TV interviews and magazine/newspaper write-ups. Basically, it’s a combination of different marketing strategies. I believe in the power of social media, cross-promoting with other authors, speaking engagements and networking with other writers. As authors, we spend a lot of solitary time writing our books and it’s important to be visible and connected with a writer’s community. You are basically a brand, and to sell yourself, you need to reach out to your readers and build relationships with them.  

AP: If you were to give one tip to aspiring novelists, what would it be?

GS: Know the difference between art and craft. Art is your raw talent, but art always requires craft. So keep learning and nurturing your skills. Research about the publishing industry and get connected with a writers group. Be visible in the community and of course never stop reading and keep writing. Don’t follow the trend and always find your own style and voice. I believe in the three P’s which are Passion, Perseverance and Prayer.

AP: What are you working on now?

GS: I’m writing another novel called, The Lady with the Silk Shawl which is set in the beautiful island, Boracay. It’s still in the early stages involving three women that are sent to each other for a deeper purpose. I’ve also completed my first screenplay and working on my edits now.

AP: I heard that The Assignment is going to be made into a movie and this is your second book that has been optioned for film. Can you tell us more about this.

GS: Yes, that’s true and I’m so excited. Dream Real Pictures is now filming Love Letters in Austin Texas and hopes to be completed by this year. Director Paul Soriano from the Philippines will be adapting The Assignment into film and will begin filming this year.

AP: Your books have won awards and made it the best-seller list. Can you share the info.

GS: Yes, both Love Letters and Chocolicious have made it to the best-seller list. Love Letters won the Beach Book Festival for Romance and made it to Finalist for the Global eBook Awards. The Assignment made it to Quarter Finalist for the Amazon Novel Breakthrough Award in 2011.

AP: Why did you decide to make the setting of your book in the Philippines?

GS: The Philippines has a rich history and culture that not many people are aware of and I believed it was the perfect opportunity to write a novel about my country. There are not too many novels set in the Philippines and I felt this was the perfect way to share my heritage to my readers. I’m so glad I did because I’ve received so many emails from my readers that they’ve enjoyed the book so much that they want to visit the Philippines and experience first-hand the culture and charm.

AP:What can you say about growing up in the Philippines?

GS: I enjoyed growing up in the Philippines and I’m very proud to be a Filipina. We Filipinos are known to be warm, hospitable and we are known for always going the extra mile. Life is so much simpler back home and we learn to appreciate and count our blessings. For a Filipino, friendship is always golden and we treat our friends like our own family. You’ll never die of loneliness in the Philippines and it’s always fun.

(For more information about Geraldine, please visit her website at www.geraldinesolon.com.   Any inspiring stories for Power ng Pinoy? Please email us at inspire@powerngpinoy.tv)

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