04 May 2019

Author Interview #27: Ana Tejano | #lovelocal #romanceclass



Today we have a very special guest on the blog. I've known Ana for a while now, having read her books and promoting them to anyone looking for Filipino romance books (or even if they're not looking. Tee hee.). So you can just imagine my excitement when she agreed to this interview. :)

Read on and learn more about Ana and her work! 

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Hi, Ana! Welcome to the blog! How are you?

Hi, Sab! I'm great, thanks! It's been a while since I did a blog interview, so I'm really happy to be here! :)

Tell us about yourself. Were you always a writer? What got your started?

I'm a writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines and I think this is the only time I'm able to really say that I am a writer not just as a side hobby but also in my day job! I work as a Communications Professional for an Australian payroll and HR company (so if you just happen to be looking for those kinds of software and services, then you can actually reach out to me, too :D), and most of my job there is all about writing and preparing content for marketing and internal projects. Then, as I mention, on the side, I write romance books. 

I guess in some ways I've always been a writer, but I really wouldn't have even thought of being one if not for Elizabeth Wakefield and that first time I read a Sweet Valley Kids book and found a character who wanted to be an author. I've been trying to write stories since then, from short stories about friends who fight about a slumber party to pretend Unicorn Club newsletters, Animorphs and Backstreet Boys fanfiction, eventually to longer pieces when I joined National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It wasn't until 2013 when I joined the first batch of #romanceclass when I actually considered publishing what I wrote.

What inspires you to write? 

I am such a wordy person so I can't imagine myself not writing anything. Inspiration hits at the most random times, really, but maybe the most common thing that gets me to think of something is other people's stories. I love hearing how married couples got together, as well as some daily, unfortunate mishaps that would make for good plot devices. At the core of it all, a lot of it is just knowing that there's a story to tell - despite the millions of romance novels out there, there's always still something different that I can contribute because our stories are all unique and unrepeatable. 

Are any of your stories and characters based on real events and real people?

Yes, some of them. Haha! Like any other writer, most of the main characters were based on myself when I started writing. The characters eventually transformed when I wrote more with the intention of publishing and they started growing into their own kind of people. The love interests...some of them may be based on some real people but I will never tell who (lol)...except for Nico from Keep the Faith, who just kind of sprung out of nowehere and I'm still really looking for a real-life one, haha. ;) I do admit to naming some of my secondary characters after my friends - and when they get around to reading it, they're always in for a surprise.

Like I said in the previous question, I do take some real-life events into my fiction - not always the exact same scene but similar to it, especially for the ones that I've actually experienced. Best example is in It's a Match from You Could Be the One, I actually was dabbling in online dating at the time I wrote it. Nothing came out from there, but it made for a good story I think.

One thing I noticed and love about your book, Keep the Faith, is the influence of Catholicism. It doesn't entirely revolve around religion but it gives a fresh take on romance. What's it like writing from this perspective? What are the challenges in writing romance this way?

I'm a cradle Catholic and I've been a part of a Catholic lay community almost all my life, so faith and religion always played a huge part in my decisions. This is why I sought for books with characters whose faith played a big role in their lives, too, and while I did find some, most of them were non-Catholic Christians and not Filipino. I didn't really intended to go out and write this way when I wrote Fall Like Rain, but it just came out in Keep the Faith, and from the feedback I've received, I realized that I wasn't the only one who was looking for that particular kind of representation in the Filipino Catholic women. And it felt right to write this, and there's thing we have in #romanceclass where we address the gaps as we see them. I think this is my gap. 

Filling the gap is the main challenge, because like I said, there's not a lot of material around so it almost feels like I'm groping in the dark. And also, let's admit it - romance and Catholicism doesn't seem like it really goes well together, what with the rigid "rules" of the religion. There's not a lot of time to explain it, but when you get to dig deeper into the Catholic faith, romance is actually very central in its entire story. Maybe it just needs more people to tell that.   

A side story in this - when I was about to graduate from college, I was feeling a little overwhelmed at the decisions that were about to come my way - what will I do after graduation, my job, should I go and become a fulltime missionary, etc. I was about to leave for Davao for a CFC Youth for Christ (the Catholic community I belonged to back then), and during the send-off event, there was a worship and one line from HIllsong's To the Ends of the Earth jumped out at me: "And I would give the world to tell Your story." It's a pretty unremarkable line but it left an impression on me and I knew that I was going to write. It wasn't until a few years ago, while writing my fourth book, that I saw the planner where I wrote that line and I remembered it, and I knew that I was on the right path.

Do you have anything in the works that will take a similar direction?

My next book, Win Meah Over, takes that direction - maybe even more so than Keep the Faith, and that's probably why it took me ages to finish it. But yeah, this next book's love interest has a pretty complicated past, and a group of friends who are part of a fictional Catholic lay community who will eventually be main characters in their own books later on. (You can see a preview of this group in the third story in You Could Be the One). 

Lastly, would you pitch your book boyfriends to us? We're dying to get to know them!

Heee. Okay, so Mark (Fall Like Rain) is the artsy, loyal friend who's secretly in love with you but doesn't really know how to say it yet but he will do everything to make you happy, and you can count on him to save you from anything - be it a southwest monsoon flood, or a zombie apocalypse.

Nico (Keep the Faith) may look rough outside but is a complete softy inside, and he will charm you with that smile and the way he works. He provides a steady, reliable presence while you figure out things on your own - no matter how long it takes.

Gabriel (It's a Match / You Could Be the One) is that hot guy you've always had a crush on but has always seemed unattainable, until you become business partners, and you find out that he's also a dork inside. Oh, and he's definitely going to invite you to go for a walk with his dog, Thor, for one of your "business meetings".

Ian (Fake It Till We Make It / You Could Be the One) will always be there for you when you need him, even if it means pretending for months on end that you're together just to stop people from asking you questions...but is he still pretending? 

And finally, Joseph is your friend's attractive friend who is a softy around dogs but is just a little snarky around people - especially you! He's going to annoy you with all his questions but when you try to avoid him, you realize that you actually miss how his questions reveal a little bit more about yourself, too. 

Super thank you for dropping by the blog and sharing your passion, Ana! So excited to dive into your next book. :)

Speaking of!

Here's the synopsis for Ana's next book, Win Meah Over, coming out in the first half of 2019:



WIN MEAH OVER by Ana Tejano 

It's been three years since Meah Constantino hooked up with Joseph Rodriguez in Boracay and it's one night she'd rather forget. No one could ever know what happened between them - after all, she's everyone's shrink, the stable friend, the person who fixes everone's problems. How could anyone trust her if they find out how much she had messed up?

When Joseph shows up in her life again and joins her latest project at work, Meah is determined not to let their shared past affect her. It's just four weeks, and there's many reasons to avoid him: he's arrogant, he asks too many questions, and he seems to enjoy getting under her skin. Joseph is bad news and Meah has no time for that...so why can't she seem to stay away from him?

About Ana



Ana Tejano has been in love with words and writing ever since she met Elizabeth Wakefield when she was in Grade 3. She’s been blogging for years and has contributed several non-fiction pieces in print and online publications using her other name, which isn’t really a secret identity. When she’s not writing romance, she works as a marketing communications manager for a payroll and HR company, extending the marketing things she learns at work back to her author life. She’s an active member of CFC Singles for Christ, lives in Metro Manila with several dogs and cats, and is always trying to catch up on sleep. And she loves peanut butter.

Connect with Ana
Twitter/Facebook/Instagram - @itstimeana
Website: anatejano.com

Buy Ana's books
Ebook/Print International (Amazon): bit.ly/itstimeana
PH Print editions: bit.ly/anatejanobooks

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