I enjoyed the love story of Chris and Katie in Only A Kiss (see my review post here) that I felt I couldn’t just move on from it. After discovering that there’s going to be a blog tour for Ines’s book, I didn’t hesitate to join. In this blog tour post, I had the privilege to interview the author herself, Ines Bautista-Yao.
1) What and/or who inspired you to write Only A Kiss?
Hi, Rhin! This is how it happened. I was pregnant with my second daughter and I was waiting for my second book, What’s In Your Heart, to come out. It was already in the process of being published and I wasn’t working on anything at the moment. When I’m not writing, I feel there’s something missing in my life. It sounds melodramatic, but it’s true. The same goes for when I’m not reading a book. I’m needy that way. Anyway, I had just come from a meeting and I was in a restaurant having a crepe by myself. I opened my laptop and wrote the lyrics that had been playing in my head over the past couple of days: a line from The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.” I typed in: Only A Kiss. Then I started writing about Katie’s first kiss and how she wanted Chris to give it to her. And the rest flowed from there.
2) How do you describe your first kiss?
Mine?! OMG hahaha! To be really, really honest (and my ex might kill me for this), I cannot, for the life of me, remember it. I can’t remember where or when it happened. All I know is that he was my first boyfriend and he kissed me. How sad is that?! Haha! What I do remember is when I first kissed my husband. Because that was a kiss that had been building up for eight years. And at first, I was afraid that it was going to be weird. Or awkward. Because I was awkward and nervous. But when I stopped thinking and just gave in to what I felt, it was the best kiss ever. I’m still trying to get my husband to replicate it to this day.
3) Only A Kiss deals with friendships, relationships, kisses, and love. Of all the characters, who among them do you see yourself most in? If none, are the characters’ behaviors and personalities based on people close to you?
I don’t like to put myself in my characters (that wouldn’t be exciting at all!). Or maybe that’s just what I tell myself. Because how can you do that, right? I mean, their emotions have to come from somewhere to make them realistic. So I tap into what I have felt, what my friends have confided in me, and what I have witnessed (or imagined) among the people I know.
I don’t really set out to base characters on anyone I know, but I do take inspiration from different aspects of the people around me. For example, Katie’s bossiness when she’s a child is very similar to how my six-year-old bosses me and her father around. Plus, the dress that Katie wore to Chris’s senior ball was inspired by what my sister wore to her prom. It was a beautiful dress.
But I have to admit that the idea of Chris was inspired by my daughter’s preschool classmate. He is a good-natured, good-looking, sensitive little boy. I borrowed his unruly hair too! But other than that, I totally invented my Chris’s personality. I don’t even know if the real Chris likes to draw! He’s athletic though. And yes, his name is also Chris.
4) What’s your take on love? Is it just as what’s shown in the book?
Lorra, the artist who did the calligraphy of my name on the cover and the intro page illustrations, said that she felt the entire book was like love advice. I was surprised because I didn’t set it out to be love advice. At all. I just wanted to write a fun, light, kilig story. But when she said that, I realized that yes, you could say that my take on love is clearly spelled out in the book.
5) I read in your Facebook page that you’re planning to write a short-story-turned-novella prequel to Only A Kiss. Care to share a little bit of information or gist to your fans?
I can’t wait to finish it! It’s almost there but I took a break when the holidays hit. And I haven’t continued since. I’m writing the love story between Katie’s Ate Regina and Kuya Ben. And so far, I want to keep writing and writing. I was going to make it a free short story for everyone. A thank you for those who have read and supported Only A Kiss and an invitation to those who want to read it. But if it wants to become a novella, then I might just give in to that. Maybe.
If that happens, I will still write a free story for my readers. That’s a promise.
And that’s the end of the interview! Thank you, Ines, for spending time to answer my interview questions! Hihi! And for those who haven’t read Only A Kiss, grab your copies now! The paperback of Only A Kiss is now available in National Book Store and Fully Booked in the Philippines. Plus, it’s only $0.99 on Amazon and Buqo.ph until February 14.
Don’t go yet, ‘cause Ines is giving away lots of things!
For Philippine residents:
One (1) winner will get a signed paperback of ONLY A KISS, a gift card from FILA, and a back issue of CAST comic book
Two (2) winners will each get a signed paperback of ONLY A KISS, light up laces, and back issue of CAST comic book
FIve (5) winners will each get an ebook of ONLY A KISS
About the Author
Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, and Only a Kiss. She has also written two short stories, “Flashbacks and Echoes,” which is part of a compilation called All This Wanting and “A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica: Love Notes from a Festival.
She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone magazines and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher. She is also a wife and mom and blogs about the many challenges and joys of motherhood at theeverydayprojectblog.com. She has recently launched The Author Project, a section in her current blog devoted to the stories in her head: http://theeverydayprojectblog.com/inesbyao-author-project/
You can also find her on Goodreads.