Alive, and with a new book cooking!

First things first: Berry The G, my long-time-in-the-making manuscript, is finally done! You can read the first chapter here. Some details about this book:
– It’s in the New Adult (NA) genre
– It has romance elements–romance figures heavily in the plot–but isn’t a romance per se as it does not fulfill the HEA/HFN requirement of the genre (I’m putting this out there now just so expectations are aligned oh god I’m using corporate-speak in my blog please help me)
– Like Well Played, Berry The G is set in a Philippine university very closely resembling UPLB
– Also like Well Played, Berry The G’s plot is taken from a classic novel–this time Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

So what’s it about, and why did it take so long to write? (I started this right after finishing Well Played, which was published in August 2013. Eep.)

What’s it about: Bookish, gawky, mouthy Berry is the ugly duckling of her soap-commercial-attractive family. She has high hopes for her freshman year in college–her first time away from home and all the comparisons she fails to measure up–but university life proves disappointing until she joins the staff of The Clarion, the university paper. That the editorial team’s advising professor is hot, temperamental and as brooding as her favorite fantasy heroes has nothing to do with it. (Nope. Nothing. Really. Okay, maybe a little?) But there more to Professor Adam Martinez than meets the eye, and Berry’s young heart is in for a roller-coaster ride.

Ultimately the book is about growing up, becoming open to new experiences and knowing what to do with the fall out of those experiences.

Why did it take forever: I’ve been writing steamy romance under another name, which some of you may already know (ask if you don’t!)
– The honest truth is just I picked really difficult source material. Jane Eyre is plain, hardworking, angry and a proto-riot grrl, which I loved, and her romance with the prickly, brooding Mr. Rochester also drew me in. But there’s no denying that Jane Eyre the book is problematic. I couldn’t just translate most of the plot in a modern Filipino college town, as I did with Pride & Prejudice and Well Played. For example, I had to think long and hard about the attic situation (something like that today would be crime fiction, not new adult!). The relationship between a young woman and a worldly, older man also has an inherent power imbalance that I also needed to think through. So I did a lot of thinking, and whenever I was stuck…I went and wrote a steamy romance. Heh. I wrote six while this manuscript was in the works so that tells you how often I was stuck while writing this!

My biggest struggle was trying to do justice to my characters. I wanted them to be three-dimensional, and I wanted them to have flaws, but not have those flaws define them. I didn’t want easy answers to the problems they face, and I wanted to leave a few things open-ended. So…yeah. This took four years to do.

Where is it now: With my beta readers, whom I hope won’t recommend too many changes huhuhu crosses fingers!

When will it come out: If all goes well…October…ish? Yay? Yay.

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So what else is up?

Well Played made it to a couple of amazing lists! Please read both articles and check out the other book recommendations too–I know I will!

12 Essential Romance Books – for Buwan ng Mga Akdang Pinoy, Mina V. Esguerra rounded up a list of 12 Filipino romance books and kicked it all off with a kickass essay about Filipino romance. You all have to read this!

6 Classic and Contemporary Jane Austen Readalikes by Authors of Color – Whew, what a mouthful! But I am so honored to be part of this list in Book Riot, compiled by Casey Stepaniuk. Added a few books here to my TBR pile too.

That’s it! Thank you all. Please wish me luck in getting Berry The G out soon!

About Author: Katrina Ramos Atienza

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