How This Writer Went From 'Teen Talk' To Becoming A Published Author Of A LGBTQ Book
For this edition of #POPFICASKS, peachxvision, author of Pop Fiction's latest LGBT book Tibok, shares how she was inspired to tell this story of two girls falling in love.
Before publishing, Tibok was a short story at first. What was your inspiration behind it?
After acknowledging my own sexuality and basically confirming that 548 Heartbeats was inspired by my past relationship with an ex-girlfriend and the unrequited frustrations with one of my guy friends, I finally mustered enough courage to tackle issues regarding not only my own sexuality, but also the experiences I seem to share with everyone who was like me.
As I grew more and more open about discussing it, I decided to write this particular novel about our struggles—how letting the world know who you are and who you love is not easy, especially when everyone else around you tells you that it is wrong. As I poured my thoughts onto the novel, I felt supported by my readership and community.
What was also new for me about Tibok was that I tried dabbling on a style of writing based on thematic concepts to aid the flow of the story. I thought that titling each chapter with a color of the rainbow was very appropriate. I used their connotations as plot devices that helped me tackle issues experienced by the LGBTQIA+ community.
What motivated you to keep on writing?
As mentioned, I think that the concept was already there, and I thought that it would be exciting if I made a decent story out of it. Also, my readers were a huge inspiration. They were already used to my previous endeavors on penning down HS kilig moments, but when I published Tibok on Wattpad, it seemed that they wanted this as well, even if the topic was more mature. Some of my readers, even from my Candy magazine days, opened up to me about their own sexuality, perhaps because they knew I could relate to them as I wrote about my own experiences in my blog. It came to a point that I could converse with them about these topics; I knew that they too had to be represented properly, and represented well. :)
Do you believe in soulmates? Or do you believe that loving someone is like a work in progress?
I believe in both. Haha. You can just tell if someone is your soulmate, maybe because you can connect with them well. Sometimes this can develop into a romantic relationship, sometimes not. But more so, I believe that love will always be a work in progress. Those involved in the relationship must continually work on it. Circumstances change, people change, which simply means that love languages may also change. It is imperative that each should be able to communicate effectively and openly with their partner. They should be able to respect each other’s time and boundaries.
Are you more like Kayi or Kabi?
Kabi. Besides her sexuality, she is often shown to be restricted by her own thoughts pressed upon her by how she grew up. She also had no one to depend on and go to; she was only by herself, until Kayi came, leading to why she got “confused” by how she felt. As she said, “Buong buhay ko, duwag ako. Takot na mawala si Luke. Takot na ma-fail ko expectations nina Papa. Takot sa lahat. Ngayon nga lang ako nagkalakas-loob na ipaglaban ang gusto ko.”
This was something I could wholeheartedly relate with. I am also very much someone who adjusts their personality to their current environment. There are actually only a handful of people whom I could be my true self with. :)
What would you want your readers to take away from Tibok?
Quoting Kayi, “Hindi naman black and white ang love, e. Love is a spectrum. Hindi porke’t pagmamahal ’to sa ’kin, kailangan, gano’n din ang depinisyon mo.”
Also, love wins. As Kabi said, “Hindi lang naman kasi acknowledgment ang kailangan natin, lalong hindi rin tolerance. Aanhin natin ’yang mga ’yan kung ’di naman nila alam respetuhin ’yong mga karapatan natin?” I hope through Tibok, I could encourage readers to continue fighting for equality.
As part of the LGBTQIA+ community, what message can you impart to readers coming to terms with their own sexuality?
Don’t let anyone else define you; only you can define yourself. But also know that determining who you are is a slow, gradual—sometimes confusing and scary—process. You don’t have to rush things, as if this were something to accomplish or figure out immediately. Allow yourself to be comfortable and get to know who you truly are.
Do you plan to write more books that explore one’s sexuality in the future?
This, I think, will be difficult. I feel that I’ve poured everything I wanted to say into Tibok. But I recently wrote a short story on Wattpad entitled “CR Break,” which is something akin to Tibok, dealing with the same themes. Maybe I might expound on that. I do plan on writing another GL novel, but it’s not as explorative, as they are already sure of who they are attracted to. Perchance, the conflict could be centered around other things.
Can readers expect to see more of Kayi and Kabi in the future?
Haha. Hmm. I’m not really fond of making sequels and series; even my readers know that I make standalone stories. But honestly, I don’t know. Let’s see.
What are some of your favorite LGBTQIA+ books, movies, and TV shows?
My favorites would be:
Book: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (I stopped reading for a long time, and this was the book that made me return to reading);
Movie: Portrait of a Lady on Fire;
TV Series: Sex Education; and
Anime: Asagao To Kase-San.
What representation would you want to see more in books?
If in literature, I would like to read more novels about two girls falling in love as it is my preference. It would also be interesting to read about asexuality. I know that there are already books with asexual characters, but I don’t think I’ve stumbled on one yet that my circle recommends.
Buy the ‘Tibok’ e-book here.
Originally published in Pop Fiction.
Minor edits have been made by Candy editors.
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Hi! It's been so long since I planned to post my story in another platform aside from wattpad and now here I am, hoping that my story can be featured here.
My story is entitle "Who Are You," it's a tagalog-english teen fiction story so I hope, those filipinos who visit here can read my story!
WHO ARE YOU: PRELUDE
Sinungaling na ba ako kung sasabihin ko sa inyo ang pangalan ko? Hindi ako sure kung anong sasabihin kong pangalan ko pero may nagsasabi sa aking wag nalang magpakilala sa inyo.
May gusto lang naman akong itanong... Paano kung may makilala ka sa kasalukuyan na nagpapaalala sayo sa nakaraan? Anong gagawin mo kung ang nakilala mo sa kasalukuyan ay may tinatago pa lang sikreto na kahit siya mismo ay walang alam pero may kinalaman sa iyong nakaraan? Anong gagawin mo kung ang dalawang ito ay may koneksyon? Anong pipiliin mo? Ang nakilala mo sa nakaraan? O ang nagpakilala bilang ibang tao sa kasalukuyan? Past? Or Present?
There was this guy I dated for a while but things didn't turn out well. I was so into him that one night I can't stop thinking about him, I've decided to send his MOM a message on facebook confessing how much I like her son. I wish it ended there but no. I had to make it so emotional, lengthy and detailed like the drama queen I am. Luckily, it went to message request so I'm hoping she hasn't really read it yet. Up until this day it makes me cringe whenever I think about it but hey, whenever it pops in my mind I make myself laugh too so thank you self for being unbelievably shameless and brave when it comes to love. I may age faster because I have made a lot of cringe-worthy moments that I constantly make faces out of embarrassment just reflecting on my antics but I know I've made more hilarious memories than what ifs and somehow that makes the disappointments feel more like assurances that I have gave it my all and I have lived as honest (maybe a little to honest) as I could. #ItsOnlyNatural #CanBnatural
I've been investing in arts, photography, and writing. I've also got back to reading the other day and I finished reading this amazing book entitled 300 Things I Hope by Iain S. Thomas. It is all about the things the author hopes his readers to do in all aspects of life. So, I decided to make a version of it with all of the things I'm hoping for.
I hope I get to see my friends be successful in life. I hope to make a big mural someday. I hope to be a well-known artist like the artists I look up to. I hope to marry the person I am in love with today. I hope to be a little kinder to myself. I hope to see happiness even in the smallest things. I hope to travel the world. I hope to be a good mother and a wife to my future family. I hope to have my artworks displayed in a gallery or an exhibit. I hope to learn more about creative writing. I hope I won't learn how to get tired and give up my passion. I hope I won't get too hard on myself whenever I don't get the results I've been wanting to see in my works. I hope to love myself more even on the days I hate it the most. I hope to lead and empower women; to be their voice and for them to believe in themselves that they can be the woman they look up to. And when I've reached my limit of these things, I hope I won't get tired of reminding myself that my emotions don't make me weak, hence, makes me stronger. These are some of the things I always hope for. What about you? What are you hoping for?
I started fixing myself this quarantine. I mean, I started trying makeup products. As a teen, I'm on my phone almost every hour of the day, scroll on my social media accounts, especially Instagram, and also Pinterest where you get to see nice and pleasing photography by bunch of amazing and beautiful people from different parts of the world. So I started taking my own as well. I did not know that taking your own photo and try to get an Instagramable one is sooooooooo hard, it's exhausting. I do not have alot of space in my room, and I would definitely not do it outside our house because of Corona Virus, and I don't want to be seen by our neighbors HAHA so I have no choice but to make tiis inside my room.
Out of atleast 25 shots, only 2 are a nice picture. While I'm all sweaty and tired, I am proud of what I could do beyond my comfort zone. And this definitely built my self confidence, (and I secret love the compliments I received from both people I know and don't know) It's not my first time visiting in here, Candy! But I'm new to writing my thoughts and experiences, so bare with me HAHA.
Until next time!