romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. Whether they’re a reader or an author, all community members have their romanceclass origin story… various stories of how and when they joined the community. romanceclass origins is a blog feature that highlights these origin stories.
Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. I have loved all of the romanceclass origins posts that I’ve received and I’m grateful to everyone who has joined so far (HUGE THANKS ❤ ) but I just have to say that this is the first that has made me tear up. Huhuhu why, Jay, why?
Without further ado, please give romanceclass author Jay E. Tria a warm welcome to this book nook!
1) How did you discover romanceclass?
I had a book and no idea what to do with it. I’ve tried querying international agents and had a couple of polite rejections and a lot of ignored emails. The more I read and the deeper I went into figuring out how to get published, the more I felt that maybe this would be a hard path for a Filipino author to take. I felt like I had to look for someone – an agent, a publishing house – who was looking for an author who lived where I lived and who wrote the things I did, and it felt like such a specific task. A good-as-impossible scenario. So while in that state, researching on how Filipino authors get published, I came across several magic, life-changing words: self-publishing, Mina V. Esguerra, and #romanceclass. I found Mina’s blog Publishing in Pajamas, read almost all of her posts and bookmarked this one post about how she did it–wrote and published her book. I read it so many times like an adobo recipe I was determined not to fail. I clung onto that for strength to continue wanting and working to be published. I learned about her company Bronze Age Media and sent her an email asking if they accept manuscripts for publication. (Mina, if you’re reading this, please don’t go back and reread that email because all the cringing my goodness. I am so sorry /cries) Two years later (yes, it took me this long), I gathered up all I had and called her while on lunch break at the office to ask about getting an editor. She was very nice and very patient. I had a lot of questions. A lot. I remember the call getting cut and my anxiety at having to call again. But I did. I called again and asked more questions. I was instructed to send my manuscript and wait. I sent and waited. This was Blossom Among Flowers. While that’s happening, I went through old drafts and found one I’ve been working on and off for a few years. I finished it. By the time Layla Tanjutco emailed me, the first draft was done so I sent it to her. This was Songs of Our Breakup. While that’s happening I also joined #StrangeLit and yay, yes finished an urban fantasy. This was Majesty. I released Blossom Among Flowers first, and then Songs of Our Breakup before that workshop was done, with about a month in between. I remember Mina retweeting my SOOB tweet and saying I was a #StrangeLit participant. I remember her using the #romanceclass tag when she finished reading the book and said she liked it. ‘Lovely book,’ she said. The memory still gives me unicorn wings. I joined the Facebook group and made a warm nest of the community, its people. This was late 2015. I remember crying a little inside and thinking hey, look at that, I got to publish my book. Books. It’s not impossible after all.
2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?
Why are these questions making me cry, Chachic? It’s not the questions, it’s me? Okay let’s carry on. #romanceclass to me means possibilities. It means enablement and empowerment. It means you can do what you love while also doing the other things you’re good at. You don’t have to choose. In some ways, you can have it all. It means finding your people. For the longest, longest time I was the only person I knew who had voices in her head, running daydreams, episodic memories, imaginary people, stories that were loud and won’t shut up even after years and years. I had no one to talk to and no one who understood. I had bookworm friends sure, but it’s just not the same. People knew I wrote and that writing was my ‘thing’, but they didn’t know about my romance fiction. They were not allowed to know about my romance fiction. Joining #romanceclass felt so cathartic. It felt like freedom, like coming home. Also, we have pretty, wonderful people and we talk a lot about feels and abs. That’s always nice.
3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?
It’s like asking me to choose a favorite ice cream flavor. Chachic, please take time to evaluate how mean this question is. I still need to answer it? Okay fine. Top of mind, okay? What You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra, Only A Kiss by Ines Bautista Yao, Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera, Bucket List to Love by C.P. Santi, Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas, Sounds Like Summer by Six delos Reyes, What About Today by Dawn Lanuza, Takedown trilogy by Bianca Mori, Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano, Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores, The Queen’s Game by Carla De Guzman, Don’t Tell My Mother by Brigitte Bautista, Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano. Uggh there’s so many and it feels like I’m missing to mention a lot. Obviously this is not an exhaustive list. I have a lot a lot a lot to catch up on, and isn’t that the best problem? The thing you need to know though (I mean you, reader, if you’re new to #romanceclass) is that the magic of this community is that there are so many authors with such distinct voices, all bearing their own truths, that you are sure to find your book boyfriend, your story, the book (books!) that will belong to you.
Jay E. Tria is inspired by daydreams, celebrity crushes, a childhood fascination of Japanese drama and manga, and an incessant itch to travel. She writes contemporary young adult and new adult romance. Sometimes, paranormal fantasy too.
Visit her website http://www.jayetria.com