My first featured writer is a lovely young Bicolana whom I met late last year when she came to Japan as an exchange student under the Trans-ASEAN Global Agenda (TAG) Program. The University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki is her home base until spring, but in the Philippines, she studies Food Science and Technology at Central Bicol State University of Agriculture. She's also one of the first students from CBSUA to qualify for the competitive TAG program.
On Wattpad though, she's more popularly known as MissSayuri, the author of We're 49 Days in Love (to be published by Lifebooks).
Here are the details of our little chat ;-)
CPSanti (CPS): So MissSayuri, how are you liking Japan so far?
MissSayuri (MS): Japan is a very beautiful country. I never thought that I would be able to visit this place and am very thankful for the opportunity that has allowed me to experience new things. I really love this place particularly the changing seasons and discipline of the people.
CPS: What have you enjoyed most about living in Japan?
MS: The food and the people around me.
CPS: What was the very first story that you published in Wattpad (WP)?
MS: My first story was about a nerd named Samantha. It's actually a bit cliché --- she has two gorgeous best friends, Ericka and Jenny, who helped her transform herself. However, due to a sudden twist in the story, Ericka and Samantha had a conflict and it became very hard for Samantha to fix their relationship, especially when both of their happiness was on the line.
CPS: I heard that We're 49 Days in Love will be published soon. I checked out your book on WP, but only the first chapter of your book was available. Can you tell us what it's about?
MS: It's all about a girl named Yera who lost her memory of her bestfriend who secretly in love with her. When they meet again in highschool, Yera had a bad encounter with Timothy and started to hate him because of his arrogance. Timothy wanted Yera's memory to return, so he made a plan. Part of the plan is to make Yera his girlfriend for 49 days until she recovered her memory and fell in love with him.
CPS: Wow. That does sound intriguing! So when did you start writing?
MS: When I was in high school I became interested in writing short poems and stories. Two years ago, I was influenced by my classmates and I decided to write a teen fiction stories in WP. Actually writing a story is a very difficult task---especially when you are a beginner in WP because you need to attract the readers with your work, and you need to think of something new that other writers don't have in their storyline. Well, when I first started out, I noticed that most of the stories with ‘red-numbered-reads’ contained mostly bed scenes, sex, and seduction. But because I was a newbie in WP I didn't have the courage to write stories like that, so I just wrote anything … things that appealed to me, like short cliché stories. Hehe.
CPS: What kind of things inspire you to write?
MS: I am inspired by random stuff --- food, certain people that have different stories in life, places and songs.
CPS: What authors do you read who have served as inspiration for your writing?
MS: Before I wrote my first story on WP I was an avid reader of alyloony and haveyouseenthisgirl. I read almost all their works and I learned that in expressing thoughts and ideas, you need to be creative in order for readers to feel that your character is a real living individual. You always have to put yourself in your character's shoes.
Author MissSayuri (photo from author FB page)
CPS: What are some of the problems you've encountered as a writer and how have you solved them?
MS: As a writer, some of the problem that bothers me are writer’s block, laziness in plotting and writing chapters, and the lack of time because of other priorities in life. In order to suppress these problems I just eat chocolate or listen to songs. (CPS notes that in the past few months, MS does have a feral gleam in her eye when it comes to all things chocolate) Then when I feel that I’m in the mood to write, I face my laptop and write something. These are applicable for the first two problems, but with the last, I can’t do anything about it I just write whenever I have free time.
CPS: How has writing on Wattpad helped you?
MS: Wattpad helped me to express my thoughts and feelings. I didn't even realize that embody character’s attitude towards certain situations. It also served as my diary---as if the characters exist in real life.
CPS: Any future projects we should look out for?
MS: Aside from We're 49 Days In Love, I have a soon-to-be-published book entitled Feelings Behind and also a collaborative book which tackles One Sided Love.
Cover of We're 49 Days in Love (Wattpad edition cover)
CPS: Can you offer any advice for budding writers?
MS: Ahm, advice? Hehe. Just write. Even if you don’t have many reads on WP, just stick with the idea that you write your stories and that you are expressing yourself. People will notice you because of it. Treat your stories as your babies and make the most out of them. And always remember that number or reads in WP is just a number, appreciate those real readers who support you even if you don’t have ‘red-numbered-reads.’ And most importantly, don’t write just to because you want to be a famous writer, instead write to inspire others.
CPS: Thank you very much MissSayuri and I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Japan J
MS: Thank you for giving me a chance to have this kind of interview. To your readers: I hope that you'll grab a copy of my book when they are already released in the market. Thank you :)
MissSayuri's book We're 49 Days in Love is soon to be published by Lifebooks. You can get the copies at all leading bookstores nationwide (National Bookstore, Powerbooks, and Fullybooked).