Monday, November 30, 2009

Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind

Wow. The big reveal is today. I can't believe it.

My sooper sekrit project is a second blog called Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind. Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind is a children's and young adult blog about books set in Asia and books with Asian characters (regardless of where they are published and whether or not their authors and illustrators are Asian), and Asian authors and illustrators (no matter where they are in the world). I started the blog because of the sheer pleasure I get from such books and from getting to know such authors and illustrators.

Also, there aren't enough blogs highlighting Asian children's and young adult books. This needs to change.

I am not going to abandon Into the Wardrobe. Into the Wardrobe will remain my more general children's and young adult book blog.

I'm launching the new blog with interviews of two Filipino writers: Perpilili Vivienne Tiongson, the author of "I Hate My Mother!", and Candy Gourlay, the author of Tall Story. Coming soon: blog posts on the children's and young adult book scene in Hong Kong and South Korea! (I've also cross-posted a lot of relevant Into the Wardrobe posts over at the new blog.)

Click HERE to check out Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind! I hope you all like it. =D

P.S. Carlo Angelo Canlas ( designed both my blogs. Isn't he awesome? =D

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Sooper Sekrit Project

I've been away from Into the Wardrobe because of a sooper sekrit project. I'm going to reveal it soon. Hopefully next week. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at it. Feel free to leave your guesses in the comments section!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Publishing Giant Acquires Giant Novel - Written by a Filipina!

Press release:

David Fickling Books is enormously proud to announce the acquisition of a new stand-(tall)-alone novel, TALL STORY!

TALL STORY by Candy Gourlay is an outstanding and highly original novel for 10yrs+. The deal was negotiated by Hilary Delamere from The Agency and David Fickling.

This is a book about Bernardo, a boy who lives in the Philippines, and Bernardo is tall. Not just tall, he’s 8ft tall. Bernardo is actually a GIANT! In a novel packed with humour and quirkiness, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the comedic results of two very different cultures colliding.

Editorial director, Bella Pearson, knew there was something special from the first page: “It isn't often that I am in fits of laughter one minute and in tears the next - TALL STORY is one of the warmest, funniest, most moving books I've read in a long time - and Candy Gourlay is a rare and new voice in children's fiction. We are feeling immensely excited (and smug!) to be able to add her name to the DFB list.”

Candy Gourlay was born in Manila during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. She was in her twenties when she moved to the UK after covering the revolution that overthrew Marcos. In addition to journalism and writing for children, Candy is involved in a range of media: blogging, designing websites and even creating
YouTube videos.

Candy is passionate about embracing and exploiting the digital world to promote books, meeting other likeminded people and reaching out to younger readers online. She runs the popular blog Notes from the Slushpile for aspiring writers. TALL STORY will be Candy’s first full-length published novel.

TALL STORY will be published in June 2010 in hardback and will be launched with widespread digital publicity and buzz; David Fickling Books in the US will publish later in the year and Hilary Delamere has negotiated a separate edition to be launched in the Philippines by Ramon Sunico’s Cacho Publishing House.

For more information about Candy Gourlay see:

For more information about DFB see:

Notes for Editors

David Fickling Books is publisher of quality picture books and fiction, and is home to some of the most bestselling and highly acclaimed authors including Philip Pullman (published by DFB in the UK only), John Boyne, Mark Haddon (published by DFB in the UK only) and Jenny Downham. Its authors have won all of the major literary prizes including the Costa Children's Book of the Year, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and most recently the Carnegie Medal. David Fickling Books is an imprint of Random House Children’s Books UK and Random House Children’s Books in the United States and is based in Oxford, England and New York, USA.

For more information please contact:

Georgia Lawe, Deputy Publicity Director at RHCB
T: 020 8231 6413 or E:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Author Interview: Sang Pak

Today, I welcome debut author Sang Pak to Into the Wardrobe! Sang has English and Psychology degrees from the University of Georgia and is a denizen of Georgia, Southern California, and Seoul. His coming-of-age novel, Wait Until Twilight, was published in August. :o)

Sang, what motivates and inspires you to be a writer?

Writing makes me feel connected and gives me a sense of purpose and meaning.

Can you tell us a bit about your debut novel?

Wait Until Twilight is a story about a high school boy, Samuel, who comes across a set of deformed triplets and their psychotic adult brother. Samuel finds himself obsessing about the triplets, though he is repulsed by them. All this coincides with re-emerging emotional memories of his dead mother. It’s a southern gothic / coming of age tale full of grotesques, adolescent life, and violence.

Why did you write Wait Until Twilight? What's the story behind the story?

The story is based on a set of dreams I had one summer a few years ago. Over a two week period I had many vivid dreams I wrote down all set in high school. So I put the pieces together and fleshed them out into a novel.

What were the challenges and rewards of writing Wait Until Twilight? What was the path to publication for the novel?

The challenge was getting a strong central story arc for the disparate vignettes that comprised the book. Once I got the story arc it was fine. Getting published took a few years of submitting to agents until one of them loved it and was able to get a deal with HarperCollins.

Where were you and what were you doing when you found out that your novel was going to be published? What were your first thoughts and feelings? How did you celebrate the good news?

I think I was about to go out on a Friday night when my agent called me to tell me about getting the deal. My thoughts and feelings were basically it’s about time I finally got published!

I had drinks with friends! Woohoo!

What are your favorite coming-of-age novels? How have they influenced your own coming-of-age novel?

I love the psychological exploration and transformation in Demian by Herman Hesse and I love the humor and youthful angst of Catcher in the Rye by Salinger.

Well, the aspects I love about them, I hoped to incorporate those aspects into my novel. The psychological exploration of Demian and the humor and angst of Catcher. Also these novels showed how a coming of age novel can be done in a literary style without being boring....

What do you think is the importance of coming-of-age novels?

A coming of age novel is more or less a story of transformation, which is always interesting and relatable. It just so happens to be in the framework of child to adult.

What books would you like your own work to match or surpass (in terms of writing, impact/influence, popularity/sales, or awards)?

I really can’t say. I can’t compare. I don’t think I’m competitive enough!

What is your strongest or favorite memory from when you were Samuel's (your main character's) age (16)?

Wow so many. But what comes to mind this moment is just the impression of driving country roads with friends without a care in the world.

Are you working on another novel right now?

Yes I am but I don’t talk about them until they are finished! I’m superstitious that way!

Sang, thanks so much for stopping by and chatting with me!

Almost Wordless Wednesday: The Coming-of-Age Edition

Yes, that's me on the left. My best friend Luningning is in the middle, and my other best friend Amor is on the right. We were all fifteen and juniors in a Catholic high school for girls when this picture was taken.

Please don't comment if you have nothing nice to say. :P LOL!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Pieces of You by Daniel Armand Lee

Pieces of You is a collection of short stories written by Daniel Armand Lee. Lee is better known as Tablo, the frontman of Epik High, which is one of the best - if not the best - hip hop groups in South Korea. The ten stories in the collection were all written from 1998 to 2001, when Lee was studying creative writing and literature at Stanford University. (The Korean translations of the stories were published in 2008 and the original English versions were published just this year.) They are slices of life about family, friends, romantic relationships, secrets, being lost, unhappiness, and sickness, among other things. Several of the characters are creative types.

These are all stories I would like to read and puzzle over and reflect on again and again. Stories I would love to discuss with others. My favorite is "Andante" (written in 1998), which is a story about Jonathan, a Julliard student majoring in piano, his mother, and how they are dealing with Jonathan's Alzheimer-ridden father - who was a master pianist before he was stricken with the disease. It has been a while since a short story has touched and moved me the way "Andante" did. There is the immense strain from taking care of a very sick family member. There is a loving but incredibly complicated father-son relationship. There is a lost young man trying to find his way. And there is a real and palpable love for music in every sentence. Beautiful.

I hope Lee writes and publishes more short stories soon. He leads such a rich and fruitful life and career as an artist. I can't help but be curious about what he would come up with more than ten years after writing "Andante."

[I borrowed a copy of Pieces of You from my good friend. Thank you, Nice!]