E. Lockhart in Manila

Last Sunday I got the chance to attend Bloggers’ Forum with best-selling and award winning author, Emily Lackhart organized by National Book Stores. Emily wrote one of the most buzzed young adult book last year, We Were Liars and other young adult novels such as Ruby Oliver Series, Fly on the Wall, and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks which won several awards like Michael L. Printz Honour Book, and Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and also a finalist for the National Book Award.

Lockhart's Books

The forum was held few hours before Emily’s public book signing so basically, we have an hour or two of Q&A and chatting with her. During the Q&A, Emily is so enthusiastic and “animated” (as what the other bloggers call it). She is also contemplative giving each questions pondering before answering them. And when she answer, she hold no barred, sharing everything even her personal life to us. For an award winning author, Emily is so down to earth and easy to talk to.

She answered every questions we throw at her without hesitation, even the silly ones. And it’s really fun watching her while she answered them. When she narrates how she start pitching her idea for We Were Liars to her agents/editors as “story about real estate” we are all laughing with her. She is so lively in front doing all the gestures and mimicking the reactions of her editors for us. It was so hilarious. Wish I captured that part on video so you all see what I’m talking here.

Basically, most of the questions are about Emily’s book We Were Liars and her writing process. I asked her about her inspiration for including fairy-tale stories in We Were Liars which she answered with her history of owning a huge collections of fairy-tale books from her Mom. As a kid she read a lot fairy-tales because they have these box full of hardcover fairytale stories which they kept on lugging around every time they moved places. Even if they didn’t have much furniture or shelf, this particular box of fairy tales books is always with them. Her mom loves these books dearly that every time Emily got the chance to read them her mom has to make sure Emily has clean hands before touching the books or watch her reading making sure she won’t damaged them. Later on she found out that these books are actually given by her Dad to her Mom during courtship, which makes her realized that they’ve been carrying around a box of “marital baggage” (Emily’s words not mine) and that she was symbolically asked to held her parents marriage dearly. With that childhood background, writing fairy-tales for We Were Liars came very naturally for Emily and it was midway writing the book when she started adding these fairytale stories.

Listen to the full Q&A through Jesselle‘s recording here.

E Lockart in Manila

Also, Emily is writing a new book which sounds so exciting. It doesn’t have a title yet but it is about an “international jet-setting nineteen year-old con artists” which will be out next year through Random House Publishing. When Emily said “con-artist” I just picture Matt Bomer from the TV series White Collar which is a favorite series of mine. I know Matt isn’t nineteen year-old but still. Anyway, I have to cut myself before I talk too much about Matt Bomer or White Collar which has nothing to do with Emily’s book or this post.

PHYABloggers(photo credit to Dea of Teen Readers’ Diary)

Watch Emily’s message after the Q&A:

“Well, you guys are all writers already. So I just applaud your spirit of inquiry and critique. I think young adult fiction especially, needs not only champions but critics. Who are willing to think intelligently and argue with one another and create an intelligent dialogue about literature for young people so I applaud you.”

Thanks you so much Emily for visiting us all the way here in the Philippines. It’s really a lovely and wonderful experience meeting and talking to you in person. Hope you got another chance to visit us again here. We are missing you already.

Thank you also to the people of National Book Stores and Powerbooks for inviting me to join the bloggers’ forum. It is always a pleasure joining your events.

Find out more about Emily Lockhart and her books through her website or Tumblr and follow her on Twitter for instant updates.


First Published in 1963, Bridwell’s Clifford the Big Red Dog® Series Has 127 Million Books in Print, an Emmy® Award–Winning Television Series, a Motion Picture and More

New York, NY – December 16, 2014 – Norman Bridwell, the author/illustrator of the Clifford the Big Red Dog series of children’s books, died on Martha’s Vineyard on Friday, December 12, 2014. Bridwell created the character of Clifford in 1963 and went on to write and illustrate more than 150 titles, all published by Scholastic, that now boast 129 million books in print in 13languages. In 2000, everyone’s favorite BIG red dog made his television debut on PBS Kids and the animated series quickly became one of the network’s biggest children’s hits.

“Norman Bridwell’s books about Clifford, childhood’s most loveable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor,” said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company. “Norman personified the values that we as parents and educators hope to communicate to our children – kindness, compassion, helpfulness, gratitude – through the Clifford stories which have been loved for more than fifty years.”

“The magic of the character and stories Norman created with Clifford is that children can see themselves in this big dog who tries very hard to be good, but is somewhat clumsy and always bumping into things and making mistakes. What comforts the reader is that Clifford is always forgiven by Emily Elizabeth, who loves him unconditionally,” Robinson added. “At Scholastic, we are deeply saddened by the loss of our loyal and talented friend whose drawings and stories have inspired all of us and generations of children and their parents.”

Born in Kokomo, Indiana in 1928, Bridwell grew up loving to draw. He studied at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and then moved to New York, where he took classes at Cooper Union for two years. Despite his passion for drawing, Bridwell struggled to enter the publishing world. His Clifford manuscript was turned down by nine publishers before landing at Scholastic, where Bridwell found a publishing home and remained for more than 50 years.

Clifford was originally to be called “Tiny,” but Bridwell’s wife of 56 years, Norma, instead suggested he be named “Clifford” after her childhood imaginary friend.The character Emily Elizabeth from the series is named after Norman and Norma Bridwell’s daughter Emily Elizabeth. For most of their life together, Norman and Norma Bridwell lived on Martha’s Vineyard, which some might say bears a rather striking resemblance to the “Birdwell Island” home of Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Norman Bridwell is survived by his wife, Norma, their daughter, Emily Elizabeth, son, Timothy, and three grandchildren. Before his death, Bridwell had completed two more Clifford books which will be released in 2015:  Clifford Goes to Kindergarten in May and Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah in October.

For more about Norman Bridwell and Clifford the Big Red Dog, visit: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/Clifford.

A 50th anniversary video about Norman Bridwell and Clifford the Big Red Dog, including an interview with Bridwell, is available at: http://bit.ly/1GMEf9j

* PR courtesy of Scholastic Philippines


Book Signing Tour : Tahereh Mafi in PH

Tahereh Mafi in Manila

Bestselling author Tahereh Mafi will be a having a book signing event here in Manila on March 2nd, 4 pm, at the new National Book Store flagship branch in Glorietta 1. There will be an exclusive Question and Answer with Tahereh Mafi too before the book signing which is open only for lucky invited bloggers and maybe reporters. I didn’t get a direct invite from the event organizer but I am lucky enough to join the Q&A because some of my friends where invited and each of them can bring one friend with them. Thank so much to Kai of Amaterasu Reads for extending the invitation to me. Thanks too to National Book Store for bringing Tahereh here in Manila. I’m so excited to finally meet and talk to Tahereh Mafi, that’s if I can manage to open my mouth and don’t eat my tongue in front of Tahereh.

To those who are going to the event, here are some important details you should know:

  • Registration starts at 3 PM
  • You may have any number of books signed as long as they were bought either National Book Store, Power Books or Bestsellers. NBS has the right to lessen the number of books to be signed depending on the influx of attendees.
  • You can also buy copies of the book at the event itself
  • Pictures with Tahereh Mafi may be taken but only one per group/person.
  • Shatter Me (paperback) and Unravel Me (paperback) are both available fore Php 329.00. Unravel Me (hardcover) will be available at the event for Php 599.00.

Who’s excited for this event? Can’t wait to see Tahereh and my Filipino book bloggers and readers friends.

Guest Post: T.P. Boje & The Eye of the Crystal Ball

It is my pleasure to welcome author T.P. Boje to my blog today. She is going to discuss her inspiration for her latest book, The Eye of the Crystal Ball. I’ll be reviewing the book soon but for the meantime lets all find out from T.P how she came up with the story of her book.

Quick Author Bio:

T. P. Boje is a mother of two, a stepmother of another two and a hardcore cartoon lover, Tim Burton enthusiast, and enjoys any movie the Coen Brothers have made (with the big Lebowski being her favorite strongly followed by Burn after Reading). She is also a Y/A fantasy and mystery-writer. She is originally from Denmark but currently living in Florida, USA. Her books are translated into several languages.

Guest Post: Author T.P. Boje

Inspiration can come from places you would never expect. Like something you read in a newspaper, or hear people talk about at work or from something you remember from your childhood.

The story in my latest book “The Eye of the Crystal Ball” is very new, but the main character – the gypsy-girl Sara – has been with me always. She appeared in my head when I was still a child.

Where did she come from? Well, my parents actually. It is kind of strange I admit, but I think it is part of the reason why I have such a great imagination still as an adult. The thing is, my parents (mostly my dad – but my mom didn’t contradict him) used to tell me that I wasn’t their child. According to their story I was left on the doorstep at their house as an infant. They found me there in a small basket with a note on the pillow telling them to take good care of me. They told me I was a gypsy girl and that my real parents were going to come and get me one day soon.

I know it sounds like a horrible thing for parents to say to their child, but it wasn’t like I was young enough to really believe them. But I loved the story, and it made me very interested in gypsies and whenever we went on vacation to the Southern of France – where we always went because we had an apartment there – I would always go out looking for gypsies and try to get in contact with them. I didn’t believe the story – but I think maybe a big part of me wanted to. And that is where I think my love for storytelling began. My dad would tell me vividly about the gypsy way of living (in order to prepare me for when I had to go back, he would say while winking his one eye) and I would get drawn right into these stories of the dark and mysterious people from distant and exotic places. Stories filled with music and dancing and fluttering skirts. And my new best friend became Sara, the gypsy girl in a long red dress that would dance in my mind and make me dream of being different, or at least something else than the pretty ordinary girl from a middleclass family in Denmark that I really was.

As I grew up she followed me. I knew in my heart that I would one day write her story, and after having written four mystery novels, three in Danish that are published in Scandinavia and Germany, and one in English, I finally realized some time this spring that Sara had returned and she was getting ready to go on a dangerous quest to find a cure for her little brother’s strange illness.

I told my parents that I had written the story and they laughed a lot about it. So did I. To their defense I can tell you, that they told my older brother that he came from the monkey-cage at the local Zoo, so I would prefer my story anytime over his.

But to be honest I loved that they gave me a world of imagination and they made me believe that I could do anything. Even fly. Yes, you heard me. Fly. My dad told me that he could teach me how to fly and every weekend for a long period of time we would practice in the driveway. My dad would put me on our garbage can outside and then he would have me jump towards him while he yelled: Flap your arms, flap!

And I jumped, of course, and flapped firmly believing that I one day would fly over the top of the roofs and look down at the small world underneath me.

Some small part of me still believes that one day it will happen. As long as I keep flapping … and believing.

The Book: The Eye of the Crystal Ball

When Sara was newborn her parents left her at the doorstep at Mr. and Mrs. Schneider’s house.

When Sara was ten she discovered she was telekinetic. She began to move stuff around when she got angry just by her will alone.

When Sara was twelve her real parents came for her and took her with them to live like the Gypsy that she was – or Romani as they like to call themselves. They told her she was going to fulfill a prophesy. That it was once said that out of the Romani people the greatest sorceress who had ever lived would be born.

When Sara was thirteen she had a baby brother and when she was fourteen he got very sick with a strange illness.

To save her baby-brother Sara sets off on a quest to find his cure – well knowing that it will cost her dearly.

Soon Sara finds herself going through the Singing Cave, crossing Wild Witches Valley, talking to a ten foot giant snail, rescuing the Beads of Souls from the Hell-hounds, escaping a spell in Vamila, the Forest of Vanity, visiting the king at the City of Lights before she finally reaches the Black Castle where she is told the Eye of the Crystal Ball can tell her how to cure her brother’s strange illness.

But nothing is free in this world – and as Sara soon will know – everything has a price.

To find out more about T. P. Boje and her works you may visit her web-page, follow her on Twitter and check her fansite on Facebook. And don’t forget to get a copy of The Eye of the Crystal Ball from Amazon or Smashwords.

Meeting Lauren Kate in Person

The night before the event Chai and I are still unsure if we will attend the book signing of Lauren Kate, author of Fallen series. Since I’m free that day I decided to give it a try so I asked Chai for the meet-up time. When we arrived there, the Atrium is already set for the book signing event and there were few people around the area already. We decided to buy the Torment (Fallen book 2) first at National bookstore to get the passes and have the books signed during the event. After few minutes we are already in line for registration. We are on the first and second slot for the 50 early bird who has the sure slot of getting the books sign and meet Lauren Kate in person. We waited for quite awhile until Lauren Kate arrived at around 5:30pm. While waiting we were given free Krispy Kreme donuts by the friendly organizer, we also meet other book bloggers and readers.

During the event, Lauren Kate answer questions from the speaker and two lucky special fan. After the interview, Lauren Kate signed their books. She also read the prologue of Torment. Listening to her is like listening to audio books. She read with such clarity and proper emotions. After the reading, there are some reporters who conduct some interview session with her. Then she began signing books.

She started signing first the VIP guess from media and reporters. After that we got our chance to have our books signed and talk to her. I was the first one from the 50 early birds to go up on stage with her. I asked her few questions about her next book Passion, the third book of Fallen series. I find her nice, down to earth and lovely. She was easy to talk to and she smiles a lot. After a few minutes Chai got her chance on stage so I went downstairs in front of the stage to take few photos of Chai and Lauren Kate. After awhile I went back on stage and have few photo shot with Lauren too. We also got one photo with Lauren Kate taken by the event photographer. Though I don’t know where can we get a copy of that photo. After we got our book signed we walked down the stage and received our free fallen shirts. We also tried the temporary tatoo. Chai choosed “Fallen” and I choose “Torment” painted on our arms.

This is our first try attending a book signing event. I still can’t believe we did. There are so much memories and we surely enjoy the experience.