Her debut novel “Before Ever After” tells the story of love and magical realism set against a backdrop of Europe’s history. She shares with us how her book got published by the world’s largest English-language book publisher.
How did you start writing?
We had a food franchise business that started running on remote. My son also started school in Ateneo and I had all this time all of a sudden! I was just there at Starbucks with three hours to kill because returning to our home in Parañaque wasn’t even feasible. I totally needed something to do! So that’s when I started to write.
How did you get published? Did you encounter any rejection along the way?
I didn’t know anything about publishing after I had finished writing the book. Luckily, I found a copy of An Idiot’s Guide to Publishing and learned that I needed to find a literary agent to represent me. I went online and there was an agent that I really liked but I decided to set her aside because I didn’t want to be disappointed if she rejected me. After several rejections and when five other agents were reading my full manuscript, I mustered the courage to send her my letter. She immediately requested a copy of the book. She read it overnight and offered to represent me the next day. She pitched the book to publishers and on Dec. 23, 2009, she sold the book.
Any tips to aspiring writers?
If you’re not that kind of person, don’t try to write that kind of book. You won’t finish it if you’re trying to be someone else. It’s going to be like work. I don’t think the writing process should feel that way, but I do believe in discipline. So here’s my advice: butt in chair. Show up, do the task, and when you’re done, edit the heck!
What’s the greatest lesson that you’ve learned?
I believe that if you have a dream, God put it there in your head for a reason, that it’s there because it’s actually achievable. It’s up to you to make it a reality. It’s in your hands and no one’s going to do it for you.
What are misconceptions about writers?
I can’t really answer that because I don’t think of myself as a “real” writer.
Where do you splurge?
Vacations with the family. They’re like my happy campers. Our kids, they’re such good travelers! I want them to be citizens of the world. I want them to have a global mind set.
What’s your dream trip?
A trip to Europe with my husband and kids, which we’re doing next summer.
What’s your luxury?
Back rubs from my hubby—priceless.Before Ever After is sold at all National Bookstore outlets. For more information on Samantha Sotto-Yambao, visit www.samanthasotto.com.