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CPS: Tell us about the first story you ever wrote.
JET: Oh gosh. I honestly don’t remember the plot. I do remember an LI named Matt. I liked that name. Matt had brown hair and blue eyes and was likely based on Brad Renfro or Devon Sawa. I was in elementary then and I wrote on notebooks because I was inspired by Sweet Valley, Unicorn High, and Teen Beat. And the feels I got from reading weren’t enough so I had to write something down. I even pestered my friends to write their own stories so we could form a series. I was a bossy kid. But it didn’t work out because I was the only one who cared. Haha.
CPS: What’s your writing process like?
JET: This is going to sound corny, but for me it starts with a feeling. A heartbreak, an infatuation, a frustration over an ending I didn’t like, or a couple I was shipping but the ship didn’t sail. Before, I didn’t make an outline, but now I do. I don’t always follow it to the letter, but it’s there to give me structure, to help me stick to a schedule. It’s also a self-check mechanism of sorts to see if the plot is making sense. With my last few works I was able to write the ending and the beginning scenes first. That might be weird for some but I think that’s super great, because I find those are the hardest things to write!
CPS: When and where do you write? Do you have a set schedule for writing?
JET: I try to write every day. I write at home. Sometimes I write during my lunch break, or in between meetings, or before walking home. I wrote Slipstream while I was on the MRT from Ayala to Quezon Avenue. I write whenever, wherever, basically.
CPS: Tell us a little about the books you’ve published. Is there any overlying theme that connects them all?
JET: Blossom Among Flowers is a Japanese manga/drama-style high school love story. Songs of Our Breakup is heartbreak, indie rock and roll, and a hot celebrity. Majesty is a beautiful ghost visiting her mourning best friend. When I lay them out like that it doesn’t seem like there’s an overlying theme. Just a lot of feelings. But a reader recently said that I write to give hope to sad people. That’s a lofty theme to claim, but it’s a good one to try and live up to ☺
CPS: What are the last five books you’ve read? How did you like them?
I’ve been doing a marathon of Filipino-penned literature. Enumerating them below:
a. Only a Kiss by Ines Bautista-Yao – Ines got me from the first page. The story starts off with the POV of nine-year-old Katie, and she’s an adorable bossypants. I have a soft spot too for the friends-to-lovers trope, and when done right, like in this book, it goes straight to my list of favorites.
b. Janus Silang books 1 and 2 by Edgar Cabalia Samar – This series is killing me. It’s one of those books that betray you. Starts off as nice and friendly then hits you with the big guns—chills and tears all at once. I haven’t read in Filipino in a long time, so reading comprehension was my initial challenge. But Egay’s prose is fluid and at times, street, so it was easy to get deep into the story. I cannot wait for book 3!
c. The Year We Became Invincible by Mae Coyuitco – This is a very honest book. It’s telling me secrets, opening doors, whispering dreams to my ear every time I turn the page. Young Adult done best by a young adult. I wanted to hug this book.
d. Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra – the many times I blushed while reading this! This is the steamiest MVE book I’ve read, and I’ve been time-hopping across her backlist, so I know she started with sweet romances. It’s a fun ride. Grayson is <3 p="">e. Be Careful What You Wish For by CP Santi – I read you say somewhere that this reads like a Jdorama, and that your peg is Oguri Shun. For shame, woman. How dare you lure me? But I’ve told you this: this book did not disappoint. I enjoyed reading about a scientist MC (lab coats are sexy) and OguShun as Ken. So yes, I loved this book. It gave me feels. (Uy, sipsip! Hihihi - CPS)
CPS: What inspires you to write?
JET: Daydreams. Literally, daydreams. Blossom Among Flowers and Songs of Our Breakup are documentations of long, winding daydreams. I had another daydream that I was friends (okay, maybe more) with Robert Pattinson, and that resulted into a 30k+ word manuscript that I don’t know how to even begin editing. Music is always inspiring, and places. Humans are always inspiring, being we are so weird and amazing.
CPS: Of all the characters you’ve written so far, who’s your favorite and why?
JET: Why are you making me choose a favorite child?? This is a mean interview. That said, I love Shinta. I always say that the snobbish, Takeshi-type of guy gets me every time. But in reality what I really want is a Shinta. Someone easy and fun to be around with, smart and a smart ass. Someone who is patient but does not wait in vain. Someone consistent but not too intense. Someone taller than me, with abs. He also fits into the friend-to-lover trope quite nicely. Oh what’s that? You asked about my favorite character and not the character I want to be my boyfriend? Oops. (Tsk, tsk. Hahaha!-CPS)
CPS: What story are you working on right now?
JET: I’m working on Playlist#2, Songs to Get Over You. I’ve had the plot bunny hopping inside my head since I finished Songs of Our Breakup, before I even released it. Miki’s story is begging to be written. Here is a man who doesn’t seem to think he should find happiness in love. He’s so used to heartbreak. Dissecting his thoughts and feelings is so much fun and so much work! Haha.
CPS: Tell us about your latest release, Majesty (this story is part of #StrangeLit Darkest Dreams story bundle).
JET: When I was 25, my best friend died. She was 30. We’ve known each other for less than a year. I know that reads funny, but my grief was whole and my love for her was real. I wanted to capture those feelings when I was writing Majesty. Having written it with a paranormal/fantasy twist for StrangeLit class gave it the sparkle that it needed, I think. It’s my gift for my best friend. I promised her I would always remember.
CPS: Any writing goals you’d like to achieve in the next few years?
JET: I have so many ideas for new books, it makes me panic sometimes! I always feel like time is running away from me. I’ve written all the ideas down together with the dates I want them released, so I don’t forget about them and so I’m motivated to keep going on days that I feel like I suck. One important goal though is to learn the business side of this writing thing. The starving artist paints a very romantic picture, but I don’t want to be ‘starving’ as an author for too long ☺
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Thanks very much, Jhay . . . este Jay pala! Hihihi.
And happy happy birthday! *pasabog ng confetti and eats cake*
Connect with the author!
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If you want to read Jay E. Tria's books in print, check out the #romanceclassbooks box at UniqubePH (3F University Mall in front of DLSU Taft)!!!
Lots of freebies (including a free ebook!) with every purchase!!!
Photo from Mina V. Esguerra