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“Stop! In The Name Of Love, Amen” author A.B. Castueras unveils secrets on creating novel characters

NoInk   |   27 February 2020

Gusto mo rin bang maging author tulad ni AB Castueras?

After having a successful run of published books, author A.B. Castueras is still writing for the path of her career as a novelist. Under ABS-CBN Books, she has published “Stop! In The Name Of Love, Amen” (SITNOLA) – a romantic-comedy novel that will make a reader feel all kinds of emotions from kilig to sorrow, and even the passion to pursue one’s dream. In this interview, we talked with SITNOLA’s author and di dipper more about life as an author and the love for writing.

In case you’re wondering, A.B. Castueras did not imagine her stories would be published as physical books when she first wrote them. Looking back, it was a hilarious idea together with her thesis groupmates that contributed to her first successful story as a writer, “My Facebook Boyfriend… For Real?!”. She shares, “Naisipan ko siyang isulat during my thesis days nung graduating ako sa college. It was so hilarious paano ko nabuo ang plot nito… Natatandaan ko na katatapos lang naming mag-meeting for our group project sa labas ng classroom. Nakaupo kami sa kaniya-kaniya naming upuan with laptop on our tables. Ewan ko ba kung bakit napunta sa desire naming magka-boyfriend that time hanggang sa nagkabuyuan na gumawa ng FAKE FB BOYFRIEND. So, bago pa naimbento ang Fake News, may FBBF na.”

Who would have thought that a story based on a joke among friends would become a published book in the future?

Castueras also shares that in order to become an effective author, Google should be your number one go-to tool. In fact, you need to be friends with Google. She explains that researching in writing novels is actually a thing that is not required but there will be times that it will be necessary. She tells, “Of course, kung sa isang chapter ng book ko (for example) ay dapat may alam ako sa isang sakit ng character, then I need to study it first bago ako sumulat. Siyempre, I need to write something na kapanipaniwala naman. Dapat parehas kami nung mga readers ko na may matututunan. Wala ata akong sinulat na novel na hindi ako nag-research.”

When it comes to creating the characters that readers would either love or hate, A.B. Castueras says that it’s perfectly fine if on the earlier stages of your writing career, you would be writing characters who are similar to you, especially when it comes to personalities. But she also promotes growth in the writing process, saying that there is a need for a writer to detach himself or herself when he or she writes story plots and characters. She explains, “I need to look around me, pagmasdan ang mga tao, hayop, mga pangyayari, lahat ng hindi ako parte. Dito lang kasi mag-uumpisa ang totoong journey ng isang writer/author, eh, kapag kaya na niyang lumabas sa sarili niyang mundo.”

Writing eventually became a habitual thing for our featured author but when she entered the corporate world, she admits that it is really hard to balance writing and doing her corporate responsibilities and she asks for the understanding of her fans who are waiting for the continuation of her pending story. *hugs, AB!*

Since she is known for her romantic comedy novels, the NoInk team also asked AB Castueras why she thinks romance is a special genre for her. She admits that she’s still unsure about the real reason behind but she just knows that being in love is a fleeting feeling. She tells, “Para lang sa akin e napakasarap ma-in love. Tipong ang sarap subaybayan nung process pa’no mai-inlove ‘yung tao sa taong ngayon niya lang nakita o matagal na niyang kasama pero kaibigan lang ang turing niya. Masarap ding umiyak dahil hindi ka mahal ng taong mahal mo at nakaka-relate ka.” We think we can all agree to this, right?

Writing Tips from AB Castueras

In each author we feature, we ask them to share some writing tips for their fans and fellow writers – even for aspiring novelists – so they can inspire other people. AB Castueras did her own version, and we quote her, in verbatim:

  1. Show what true love is. ‘Wag OA at ‘wag ding kulang. Be realistic pagdating sa mg conflict at kung paano ‘yun mareresolba. Itigil na natin ‘yung conflict na dala ng “MISUNDERSTADING” o nakinig sa usapan tapos umalis kaagad at hindi tinapos ‘yung pakikinig kaya akala niya hindi siya mahal. Graduate na tayo diyan. Isip na tayo ng problema na sasaktan mo talaga ng bongga ang mga characters. Tipong mag-go-grow talaga sila bilang tao. Kumausap ka ng mga mag-boyfriend-girlfriend, mag-asawa, mga may puppy crush, nabasted, na-broken hearted – diyan ka magkaka-idea ng love story. ‘Wag mo ang ikukwento buhay nila baka ipa-baranggay ka. Haha! Tweak it naman, friend.
  2. In writing scenes, ‘wag tayo mag-focus masyado sa makekesong linya at galawan. Hindi kailangan ng grand gesture para mapakitang gusto ng guy si girl. Hindi rin kailangang mahaba ang linyahan para masabing mahal na mahal niya ‘yung tao. At hindi rin kailangang madaliin ang lahat. We love the slow burn pagdating sa romance. Bilang isang reader, para kang kinakabahan kung sila ba talaga sa huli. Hindi ‘yung umpisa palang ng istorya alam mo ng sila at wala ka ng choice kundi abangan na lang ang happy moments nila. Wala ng thrill nun, my friend.
  3. Plot the story first before starting to write the whole story itself. Kumuha ka muna ng papel at ballpen saka mo buuin ang beginning middle at end. Tas may inserts sa three parts na ‘yun. Mas mapapadali ka paggalawin ang istorya kasi alam mo na ang kahahantungan ng umpisa gitna at ending. Gets?
  4. Kapag gumagawa ng chapters, mag-bullet ka ng bawat eksena. Tingnan mo kung sumosobra ka na sa eksena o may hindi kailangang eksena. Wag ka matakot magtanggal o magdagdag basta nakaayon sa ginawa mong plot.

About AB Castueras’ book with ABS-CBN Books:

Title: Stop! In the name of Love, Amen. 

Genre: YA Fiction

Target Market: Millennials.

Project Description:

A woman ready to live…

Torn between devotion and strong yearning to start a new life outside the orphanage after her college graduation, Rhian makes her choice. Shocking everyone in the convent who took care of her since a babe, she leaves her dream to be a professional fashion designer and sets out to be trained as nun in a well-known congregation in Rome - a last chance to help their convent-orphanage to come out of its big debt. But for an innocent but determined woman alone who thinks life is all about future plans, the world can be a hostile and hard-hitting world. And no one is in more threatening—irresistible—than Prince Harris Smith, the man who sent her in jail.

A man who wants to die…

Still sorrowful to his girlfriend’s past that died in a terrible accident a year ago, and now secretly suffering from anxiety and depression, Prince is convinced enough that he can seize this one last chance to live his life again for the sake of his family. But for someone whose heart got wrecked by his past, life can be treacherous and unforgiving. And no one is in more risky—enchanting—than Francisca Rhian Garcia, the woman he sent in jail. He never expected to find himself with a woman who makes him feel fully alive and hungry to live more. She never expected to meet a man who makes her feel loved and wanting to achieve more. But sweet words of love remain unspoken and elusive as it becomes a journey that will test their faith in forgiveness, love, and hope. And soon fate will force them to make a choice: trust their love or lose each other forever.