(NOTE: I received a digital copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This fact did not affect my opinion regarding the book and the content of this review.)
Only A Kiss was a really fun coming-of-age story that I've had the pleasure of reading earlier this year and, on that tangent, Ines Bautista-Yao recently published Just A Little Bit of Love which is an anthology of three short stories which is set in the same universe as the aforementioned book. Right of the bat, I've got to hand it to Ines for writing short stories that still had similar effects of the novel that inspired it.
This short anthology of stories really personifies what a cute contemporary story is. The only qualm I encountered when I finished the stories was that they were really quick reads! I wish some of the stories were longer because it felt like such a tease for my imagination and I would have loved to explore deeper in the stories, specifically of Anita and Carla. I still think that the writing style was effective enough to spark those kilig (or swoon-worthy) moments, despite the fact that they were all short stories.
You might be wondering, should you read Only A Kiss to be able to enjoy Just A Little Bit of Love?
For the sake of understanding some minor character references, it would be good to start off with Only A Kiss. But you are not going to be confused otherwise, so you're still in a win-win situation!
In celebration of the e-book's release last November 18, 2015 and this being my very first blog tour activity (yes it is a momentous event), I got in touch with the author and we had a little Q&A session for you...
Just A Little Bit of Love is set in the same world as Only A Kiss. What sparked you to write these three short stories within the same setting?
I wish I had a nobler reason or even just a cooler reason for using the world of Only A Kiss, but I don't. What I had originally set out to do was to write short blog posts to promote Only A Kiss. Then my husband said, "Why don't you put those blog posts together and give them away to readers and potential readers?"
When I put them together, I realized I needed to fix them so they could be a proper anthology I'll be happy to give away. I started adding to Anita's and Carla's story and I wrote “On The Sidelines”. It was meant to be just as short as the other two but I got carried away! And when I sent the stories out to my beta readers, they were upset that I wasn't going to release the stories. And since more than one said I needed to get them out there, I listened. And I'm glad I did!
Have you taken inspiration from any real life experiences or people you know of and written it into Only A Kiss and Just A Little Bit of Love? Can you share some of these tidbits?
Sadly, no. When it comes to my stories, maybe some events will inspire me and I would include them but nothing significant like someone's love story or personality. Like for example, when I wrote the soccer scenes in “On The Sidelines”, I thought back to when I watched my cousin's football games on the Ateneo field. For Carla's story, I just had to think back to the numerous weddings I've attended and the preparation that went into them. Anita's story ... well, I've always wanted my own shop. Maybe not necessarily a coffee shop but some form of shop.
Was writing short stories easier or tougher for you compared to writing a full-length novel?
Short stories are so much easier for me. I can finish them in days and still inject a full dose of kilig! Novels or novellas have more substance but they do take more out of me. What I love about writing short stories is I can finish them on my phone. I can't do that with a 30,000 word manuscript. And sometimes I can't get to my laptop and all I have to work on is my phone. I've written six short stories this year and a novella. You can see which is easier for me based on that haha!
Have you considered writing a spin-off book to any of the characters within Just A Little Bit of Love? If so who would it be and why?
Oh wow, I still haven't. I'm getting requests for more of Anita's story or a full-length story of John and Ina. I still don't know though. I feel as if there are so many characters waving their hands in the air begging me to get to them! I hope I will someday, soon.
What books or which authors (either Filipino or International) had a major influence in your writing career?
I love getting this question because I have a very specific answer! As a teenager, I fell in love with the Sweet Dreams books written by Jahnna Beecham. I scoured the shelves for her titles and collected them all. Then she came out with a YA detective romance series called Hart and Soul and I collected those too. But she wrote under Jahnna N. Malcolm because, apparently, it was she and her husband who wrote the books (Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner). I loved the quirky characters, the sweet yet swoon-worthy boys, and the chemistry flying all over the place. In fact, because I couldn't find my books anymore, I recently ordered the second-hand ones from Amazon and they have a place of honor on my nightstand.
What is your secret in writing kilig (or swoon-worthy) moments and do you have any pieces of advice for aspiring fiction writers (like myself) that you would like to share?
I think it's about knowing what makes you feel kilig as a writer. If you're kilig over a scene you wrote, then it's a good chance your reader will be too. Then you take it up a notch. But not too much that it's cheesy. Read the scene again and again. If it holds up and is still kilig after several readings, you've got a winner.
Advice to aspiring writers: Don’t give up. There will be times when you’ll feel like you’re the worst writer in the world or that no one will ever read your books, but if you keep at it long enough and hard enough, and work on improving your craft every single day, the readers will come. But at the same time, don’t quit your day job just yet! J
There you have it ladies and gents! Please don't forget to grab your own copy of Just A Little Bit of Love, an anthology filled with cuteness and charm! See the following links:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, and Only a Kiss. She has also written two short stories, “Flashbacks and Echoes,” which is part of a compilation called All This Wanting and “A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica: Love Notes from a Festival.
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 recently launched The Author Project, a section in her current blog devoted to the stories in her head.
She tweets and take Instagram photos @inesbyao and her author page is at https://www.facebook.com/inesbautistayao/
BLOG TOUR LINKS:
Thank you very much Ines for answering my questions and for letting me be a part of this blog tour!