Category Archives: Author Interview

Ronreads interview: Merwin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria

Skyworld creators (from left) Ian Sta. Maria and Merwin Ignacio, with bonus Jay Tablante

I grew up loving comic books, but I admit that I haven’t really been able to keep up with them lately. And Filipino komiks? My knowledge and familiarity with them is even more embarrassing.

Thanks to my job, I’ve slowly been changing that. I’ve been able to familiarize myself with the works of Arnold Arre, Gerry Alanguilan, Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, as well as Carlo Vergara.

The latest komiks creators I’ve had the pleasure of getting familiar with are Merwin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria, the two guys behind the bestselling “Skyworld”. I spoke with them at the recently concluded Komikon, and they were very nice and humble about the success that their work has been getting.

In this interview, they talk about using Philippine folklore and mythology in their work, their early dreams for Skyworld, and what advice they’d give to other aspiring comic book creators.

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Merwin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria

Ronreads interview: Gregg Olsen

This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but I was too busy puking my guts out to actually finish going through the transcript. I may have caught a little something-something, because even as I type this up now I have snot literally dripping from my nose.

This interview with Gregg Olsen happened about a month ago. Going into the interview, I quite honestly expected something else. If you do a Google image search of Gregg Olsen, you end up with pictures of a stern-faced man with a rather impressive moustache, and I was prepared to interview someone with no sense of humor at all.

Happily, Gregg Olsen is far from being someone with no sense of humor. In fact, meeting him in person, you’ll quickly find no one likes laughing more than Gregg Olsen. In this interview, he talks about making the move from non-fiction to fiction, the humor he tries to put into his work, and what he really thought about the Philippines before coming here.

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Ronreads interview: Alex Gilvarry

It’s been literal months since I interviewed Filipino-American author Alex Gilvarry, but work has been se hectic and stressful and drama-filled that finding the time to just sit down and update the blog has been difficult to find. More often than not, I’d rather flop down on my bed and try not to sob uncontrollably.

But now I have a weekend where I can do actual weekend activities, so before I leave my humble abode to check out National Book Store’s Warehouse Sale, check out the transcript of my interview with the author of “From the Memoirs of A Non-Enemy Combatant”.

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Alex Gilvarry

Ronreads interview: Jennifer Hillier

Most everybody here in the Philippines knows that September is quite the busy month for bibliophiles. Because it’s the month when the Manila International Book Fair happens, September is the month where most of the local publishers bring out the big guns. It’s also the month where National Book Store brings a lot of foreign authors over.

One of the two authors that National Book Store brought to the country last month was Canada-based Filipino author Jennifer Hillier. The author of “Creep” and “Freak” was here for almost a month, squeezing in a vacation in between media interviews and a signing at the Manila International Book Fair with fellow Filipino author Alex Gilvarry.

Thanks to National Book Store, I got to spend a bit of time with Jennifer and ask her about making male readers uncomfortable, her writing playlists, and why you can’t have too much sex in a thriller.

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Jennifer Hillier

Ronreads interview: Alyson Noel

The crowd at Alyson Noel’s signing!

Yes, yes, I know I’ve been remiss with the blogging the past few weeks.

In my defense, work has really been hectic, and there was the matter of those pesky monsoon rains. Me and my books are safe, but a lot of people everywhere else could really use some help. Anyway, here I am trying to make amends and decongesting my backlog of blog posts.

A few weeks ago, bestselling YA author Alyson Noel graced the country and signed a few books for all of us fans. And thanks once again to National Book Store, I managed to spend some time with her and ask a few questions about writing petulant teenagers, the many careers she had to go through before becoming a writer, and just a little tease about what’s coming the next books of “The Soul Seeker”series.

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Alyson Noel

Ronreads interview: Kate Evangelista

If you haven’t done so already, the story that I did on Kate Evagelista came out yesterday on the paper that I work for. It outlines the journey she had to publication, and some advice she’d like to share with other young writers looking to break into the scene internationally.

But just like a lot of the interviews that I do, there’s also quite a bit that doesn’t make it onto the printed page — damned space constraits! So here’s the entire transcript of that interview, with all the other parts left in!

(Warning for spoilers!)

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Kate Evangelista

Ronreads interview: Lauren Oliver – Part 2

Yes, I know, the updates have been sparse, but it’s mostly because I’m on vacation in Singapore and I thought I’d give myself a few days with which to lounge around and basically vegetate.

It didn’t actually happen — I still ended up doing work stuff even here — but it’s all good. Now that I don’t actually feel any pressure, I’ve relaxed enough to type up my interview with Lauren Oliver and put it up for you guys.

I was a little worried going into this interview as most of the questions I had prepared earlier had gotten asked during the meet and greet with fans at Powerbooks. I had to think up of new question right quick, and was really worried that Lauren would think they’re redundant and pointless.

Thankfully, Lauren didn’t think they were — or she was being extremely polite, ahahahaha — and I got to get out of this interview with my dignity intact. Enjoy the conversation under the cut, which includes: LGBT characters, Manolo Blahniks, and how Lauren Oliver is a pro-non-virgin.

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Lauren Oliver – Part 2

Ronreads interview: Lauren Oliver – Part 1

The crowd at Lauren Oliver’s book signing.

She’s touring Australia now, but for a few days last week, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver was in the country stumping for her latest book, “Pandemonium”, the sequel to “Delirium”.

While her visit was short and sweet, Lauren Oliver was still able to squeeze in some time for an interview with yours truly, other media outlets, as well as with Ms. Xandra Ramos Padilla of National Book Store.

While I had my own time to interview Lauren, I also attended her interview with Ms. Xandra Ramos Padilla. For those who weren’t able to make it that day, I’m posting the full transcript of that interview under the cut. Tomorrow, I’ll put up the complete transcript of the interview I did with her.

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Lauren Oliver – Part 1

Ronreads interview: Junot Diaz

Unless you guys have been living under a rock lately, you probably all know that Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz was in town recently for the second Manila International Literary Festival organized by the National Book Development Board and co-presented by National Book Store.

Getting to interview him for my newspaper job wasn’t just a big honor, it was also stressful beyond belief. See, I have this thing of melting down right in front of really established foreign writers. Since I know that these authors have done a lot of interviews before, I try to think of the most unique question that I can – which really just end up in disaster, as evidenced by my interview with Neil Gaiman.

For this interview, I tried not to do too much research lest I end up psyching myself out like I did with Neil Gaiman. Aside from reading “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” and a lengthy interview he did with the Harvard Advocate in 2009, I pretty much tried to go into the interview with as clean a slate as possible.

I don’t really know if that worked out in my favor or if it relaxed me any, because I was still very, very nervous on the day itself. If it weren’t for the fact that Junot was such a nice guy and such an enthusiastic speaker, I feel like I would have made quite an ass out of myself yet again.

Anyway, under the cut is the complete transcript of my interview with him, while you can find the article I wrote for the newspaper here. And if you guys stick around, I might even announce a little giveaway later on!

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Junot Diaz

Ronreads interview: Alexander Yates

The huge crowd at the MIBF book signing for Alexander Yates and Samantha Sotto.

Alexander Yates was one of the many wonderful people I met at the craziness that was the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF). The onetime Manila resident was brought back to Manila by National Book Store to promote his debut novel, “Moondogs”, as well as to participate in a forum alongside fellow first time novelist Samantha Sotto.

I know I said the same thing about Lauren Kate and Samantha Sotto, but I can’t help it if the authors I get to interview are really nice people! I’m sure it would make a far juicier story if I said Alexander Yates was mean during the interview, but the meanest thing he probably did was insult Sookie, and Sookie isn’t exactly making it hard for people not to insult her.

Anyway, since my article on him already came out today, I thought it would be great to put up the full transcript of the interview with him. A lot of stuff got cut out of the article because of space constraints, so here’s a chance to read about everything we talked about!

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Alexander Yates