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. Today, romanceclass author Clare E. Marquez, nicknamed Jang, shares how she first found out about the community. Jang is one of the sweetest people I’ve come to know through the group, she’s so thoughtful and always has something nice to say in any situation. Thank you for being a guest on my blog today, Jang!
1) How did you discover romanceclass?
A friend of mine, Veron, told me about an online writing class that Mina V. Esguerra will facilitate in March of 2015. She was an avid follower of Mina and when she saw her advise, she thought of asking me to join her in this class. So I did and it was one of the best things that happened to me in terms of reviving my dream of being a writer.
Writing took a backseat after college for me. I had some scribbles here and there, mostly unfinished scenes, dialogues, stories that really never saw the light of day. I have notebooks since I was ten with all stories. My goal in attending Mina’s class was to just finish a full-length novel in less than 3 months – that was the length of the class – and that’s what happened. I was so happy about it.
So from Mina, I discovered this world of Filipino authors who write in English. I attended #AprilFeels in 2015 at the Pegi Waffles and met in person Filipino authors, experienced my first live reading of #GaHoates (Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates). It was so much fun but more than anything so meaningful to me. I was in awe and so impressed by everyone. It was a great place to be for people like me who loves to read – and write! – romance novels. I felt I was in a good place with the company of amazing people. So I started following other members of #romanceclass in Twitter, always checking out the happenings of the community.
When my first novel Simply Joei was chosen by Anvil as one of the novels to be printed from the 2015 class of Mina, I was ecstatic. It was nothing I expected but everything I hoped for. I learned a little about the ins and outs of traditional publishing when I was dealing with Anvil. Then I also learned about self-publishing and the #romanceclass people are the most selfless, supportive people one can find in this industry. All people I’ve messaged, whether I met in person or not, have helped me patiently, answered my questions and was so open to any other help I needed. So two months after Simply Joei was launched by Anvil in 2017, I launched my self-published book Just Kate in April 2017.
Again, the support of #romanceclass was unbelievable and I have never been luckier to find a place where I am so proud to belong.
2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?
To belong to a community that pushes you forward to be the best you can be, who accepts you for who and what you are and understands your passion – supports you selflessly – is a GIFT. #Romanceclass membership is a special gift to me, one I know I will forever be grateful for.
Being a member of #romanceclass means the world to me. It opened many doors for me, introduced me to awesome people (the best!) and I learned so many things about writing, publishing, (also food, k-pop, science, arts, politics, theater, Minola oil, among other things). When I participated in the #GoReadWrite2017 event at Raffles in 2017, it was so wonderful to share the experience with veteran and first time authors like me. I know for sure I would not have done anything I did in the last two years – writing, publishing, public speaking – without the #romanceclass community. I witnessed first-hand the unwavering, generous support the community has for each other. The community lift up each other and we have the pompoms to prove it.
My heart will forever be grateful for this world-class community and to be part of it is something I will always wear in my heart.
3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?
There are A LOT of books written by #romanceclass authors and here are some of my favorites:
Learning to Fall by Mina Esguerra
Midnights in Bali by Carla de Guzman
All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria
Sounds Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao
The Duke Takes a Bride by Suzette de Borja
Bucket List to Love by C.P. Santi
Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David
Clare Elisabeth Marquez enjoys sitting in her pajamas while looking out the window from her amazingly massive writer’s desk, reveling in the glorious beauty of snow-capped mountains as she sips her warm, soothing coffee.
Then she wakes up. And writes.
A closet romantic through and through, C.E. Marquez is a voracious reader, writer, and dreamer, never failing to believe that dreams can come true for those who wait… and do something about it! Her towering piles of notes of handwritten stories (which she started collecting when she was ten!) are her well-kept treasures, tattered and bruised, but still waiting for their chance to see the light.
She writes about things that matter: love, life, and everything else in between.
You can contact her through authorcemarquez@gmail. com — but only if you want her to reply!