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. This blog feature took a break last week but it’s back today, yay! Author and social media expert Tara Frejas is here to share her romanceclass journey. Take it away, Tara!
1) How did you discover romanceclass?
In 2014, I passed by a small-ish kiosk of books at EDSA Shangri-La and saw these pretty little books published by Summit. I took a photo of it, posted it on my Instagram, and told myself that I’ll someday get a book published. Minutes after the photo was posted, my high school classmate Jeni posted a comment asking if I was into romance because her cousin (whose book was in the photo) holds writing classes and helps her students publish books.
Her cousin is Mina V. Esguerra.
Now I wasn’t sure yet at the time if I wanted to write romance even if a lot of my online-published stories were love stories. Admittedly, I was one of those people who thought romance could be “elevated” to “something more,” (I know, kill me.) so I didn’t know if I wanted to focus on being a romance writer. Nevertheless, I followed Mina on Wattpad and read her posts about self-publishing and copyright.
Several months passed and I finished a book I really wanted to publish. At about the same time, Mina announced on her Wattpad that she was holding an Author-at-Once seminar in January of 2015 and I just went “to heck with it” and jumped at the opportunity. I published Paper Planes Back Home that year and decided to join Mina’s other projects/workshops afterward, which included Tales from the Metro, #SparkNA, and #StrangeLit.
I remember feeling so intimidated by the “first generation” #romanceclass authors at the first #SparkNA F2F. I remember seeing Chris Mariano show everyone a copy of Cover (Story) Girl and thinking “Wow, that’s really pretty” and “Sana ako rin.” I remember my very first #romanceclass event at Enderun, where I felt extremely out of place because people actually knew each other (I had friends who joined the #SparkNA F2F so it wasn’t that awkward) and well… I was an awkward potato who Mina invited because someone from Rak of Aegis was supposedly gonna be a “guest.”
So, yeah…from that very first workshop with Mina, I was hooked. And the more I learned about the community (online and otherwise), the more I grew fond of the people and the things we continue to create. I guess it’s safe to say I’m here for the long haul!
2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?
I’ve always said that #romanceclass is my happy place, but saying that is like showing you Disneyland from an aerial view. It’s pretty and colorful and fun, but once you’re on the ground, you’ll see that there’s a lot of different things going on.
First and foremost, being in #romanceclass means getting second chances. After college, I really wanted to write for TV or movies, but that wasn’t an easy path to take. I realized I didn’t have the stomach for that industry and I gave that dream up because I had to be practical. So for several years it was pretty much just work work work for me, until the Internet made it possible and easy to share stories to the world again. But I knew nothing about self-publishing and I thought the only way to be considered a “legit” author was to be traditionally published. I was so, so wrong… and I was so, so glad I stumbled upon #romanceclass when I did. The timing was just perfect.
Second, I know a lot of people don’t like high school, but being in #romanceclass feels just like high school. Without the drama and awkwardness, that is. Because everyone’s the cool kid, the jock, the overachiever, the cheerleader, the dreamer. A bunch of people organize fun events that people go to to have fun! We learn new stuff every day, we get to say what’s on our minds, we get to stand up for what we believe in. We meet cute people, talk about love and crushes and abs. We assign code names, have our own language, and giggle all the time. We’re like a huge, clingy high school barkada, and I love it.
Finally, being in #romanceclass means (and I will borrow this from Jay) finding your people. There’s really nothing more comforting than the knowledge that there are other people out there who understand you and accept you, quirks and all. I believe I’ve found my people in #romanceclass, and I hope more people do too.
3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?
Why must you hurt me this way? *sobs into a tissue*
Ah well, okay. I guess this is inevitable, so… in no particular order, here are SOME recommended #romanceclass reads:
Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera
The Playlist Series by Jay E. Tria
The Future Chosen by Mina V. Esguerra
Dare to Love by C.P. Santi
Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad
Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano
Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores (I know, I know. Just.)
If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Only a Kiss by Ines Bautista-Yao
Whew. That wasn’t so bad. 😛 Thanks for having me, Chachic! ❤
Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she’s not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.
Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.
Fun fact: She’s a Piscean. Go figure.