Tag Archives: Ines Bautista Yao

Welcome back, Ines Bautista Yao

Britbear’s Book Reviews is pleased to welcome back author Ines Bautista Yao, talking about her new book, Just a Little Bit of Love.

just a little bit of loveAbout Just a Little Bit of Love:

Three short stories about three young girls: Anita, Ina, and Carla. Each one finding their lives disrupted by a boy. Maybe it’s because he wanders into the coffee shop where she works after school every Tuesday. Maybe it’s because he won’t leave her alone even if she has made it clear that she is crushing on his football team-mate. Or maybe it’s because she’s spent one unforgettable afternoon with him—despite being oh-so-forgetful. Three small doses of love that serve up a whole lot of feels.

Buy Just a Little Bit of Love on Amazon.

Welcome back, Ines!

When we last spoke, it was about Only a Kiss. Tell me a bit about your latest release, Just a Little Bit of Love.

Hi, Elise! Thank you for having me again! 🙂 Just A Little Bit of Love is made up of three stories that are all set in the world of Only A Kiss. What I did was imagine who else could have possibly been in particular settings of the book.

In the first story, “Watching, Waiting”, I used a scene where my main characters were in a coffee shop. Naturally, there will be more people there with their own stories, their own problems, and their own hopeful endings.

The second one, “On The Sidelines”, is about a girl who is also obsessed with Ethan, the boy Katie, my main character in Only A Kiss had a huge crush on when she was a kid.

The last one, “Sticky Notes and Forgetfulness” is about a minor character who comes out in Only A Kiss too. I found her so adorable, I wanted to write more about her.

Both Only a Kiss and Just a Little Bit of Love are sweet romances. What do you like about writing in this genre? What draws you to the genre?

I love this genre! I love reading it and that’s probably why I love writing it.

Just a Little Bit of Love is a series of short stories about three girls. Are the stories connected or related?

They aren’t really related, but they happen in order. And I guess you can say the characters are all basically at the same point in their lives as each other, age-wise — if that makes any sense. The first one happens in high school, the second in college, and the third after college.

I love that as a way to organize your stories!

Your Goodreads bio says you used to be an editor for two magazines and that you currently work as an editor for Summit Books. How does writing compare to editing? Do you find your job as an editor helps you to write? Do you consult an editor prior to publishing?

I believe everyone needs an editor. If you say you don’t, you’re either too full of yourself or you have some magic power I wish I possessed haha! Even the best writers need feedback because they’re too close to their stories and to their words. Sometimes, when something makes sense to me but isn’t too clear to my editor/readers, then I know I have to change it. Because I’m an editor, I know how important it is to have my work edited and I never release something unless I have it edited first.

I prefer writing to editing because it is less technical and it’s more creative. Editing is work. But I enjoy it too. I learn a lot as I go and it also helps me when I write. I have a better idea of what works, what the best practices are, and what I should be mindful of.

Your bio also says you’ve been a teacher in the past. Were your students aware of your status as an author? How did they react when they found out? Have you ever mentored a student to help with his/her writing career?

I wrote and published my first book after I stopped teaching. But my former students are so supportive and so wonderful! They come to my launches, buy my books, and spread the word. It’s wonderful!

I help a lot of people with their writing. I guess it’s because I used to teach? So it comes naturally. When I find out friends have been wanting to write since forever, I encourage them till they finally do it. I love it when people finally realize their dreams!

My last question is a wild card. Choose a question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview. What is it? How would you answer it?

Why do you write?

I don’t think anyone has ever asked me this question. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t need to be asked, or because writers interview me so they too have the same feelings burning within.

I write because there’s something inside me that needs to be satisfied, sated, addressed, acknowledged. It’s not anything I can pinpoint, but it’s there. When I’m not writing, I don’t feel complete. But when I am, I feel more alive—like the world is more interesting, my life is more fun, and I am filled with an enthusiasm I never really knew before—or maybe I did when I was teaching.

But this is different. While writing, I’m lost in another world, yes, but at the same time, something happens to me. Maybe it’s because I’m creating something, maybe it’s because I’m finally doing what God created me to do. Whatever it is, writing makes me happy. That statement is so simple and I feel doesn’t fully capture the wonderment, the vividness, and plainly, how much more alive I feel when I’m doing it. And not just the act itself but while I’m writing something, I pay more attention to what’s happening around me, I’m constantly thinking of what will come next or how I will work a particular scene—I’m more engaged, not so lost, but oh so free.

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About the author:

photo-2Ines 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.

Interview with author Ines Bautista-Yao

Today’s author spotlight is on Ines Bautista-Yao and her novel, Only A Kiss.

only a kiss cover

About Only A Kiss

When she was nine-years-old, Katie knew she wanted Chris to give her her first kiss. It wasn’t because she was in love with him (no way, he was her best friend! Besides, she was in love with his fourteen-year-old big brother), it was because she could make him do anything she wanted.

Besides, it didn’t really mean anything. After all, it was only a kiss.

But things started to change. They grew up. They parted ways and went to different high schools. Then other girls and other boys—well, just one particular boy—came into the picture, throwing their lives upside down.

Told from the alternating points of view of Katie and Chris, this love story between two best friends will tug at your heartstrings and leave you thinking about how the simplest things mean so much.

Read my review of Only A Kiss on Britbear’s Book Reviews.

Buy Only A Kiss  on Amazon and Buqo.

Welcome to Britbear’s Book Reviews, Ines. Tell us a bit about the story behind the story. How did you come up with the idea for Only A Kiss?

I had just gotten confirmation from my publisher that my second book was going to be published and I wanted to work on my next book. I had no idea what to write but I was dying to have a work-in-progress. So one day, after a meeting with a client, I found myself having a snack alone and I had my computer with me. I opened a new word file and typed in the words: Only A Kiss. Then I let those words inspire the lines I typed next: Katie appeared wanting a kiss from Chris, her best friend. I told myself, what if I make this a short story? So I did, but I wanted to continue the story. So in a way, the book is divided into 5 chapters that are also short stories.

There are a number of words in the book I didn’t recognize. Where does the story take place? What is the cultural backdrop for Only A Kiss?

Yes, I feel this is something I should have worked harder on! Or at least mentioned at the beginning of the book. It is set in the Philippines. I had originally written the book for a Philippine audience so I didn’t feel the need to explain where they were. But because I self-published this on Amazon, I realize that I will have readers other than Filipinos! Haha!

Here are a few differences in our culture:

  • In the Philippines, most high schools are all-girls’ and all-boys’ schools. This is why when they reach high school, Katie and Chris are no longer classmates.
  • There is a scene where they are packing relief goods in the park. This is because every year, we are hit by massive typhoons and when this happens, we all rally together to help out those who lost their homes and everything in it. It is so sad that it has become so regular, but several teenagers get together and learn to help others during these times and I think this is something good that comes out of it.
  • The Filipino words I used are mostly terms we use for older family members. Ate means older sister, Kuya means older brother, Tito is uncle and Tita is aunt. I can’t remember what the other words are but I think I should include the definitions now at the end of the book!

That does help to clear some things up.

Your stories alternate points of view between Katie and Chris. Which of the two was the easiest to write for?

It was much easier to write Katie’s! But I loved the challenge of writing from a boy’s point of view. I didn’t think I could do it, so when I had to write his story, I tried (really hard!) to think like a boy. I would imagine what my male friends would think if they were in those situations and of course, I had lengthy discussions with my husband about it. As for dialogue, I listen to how boys talk and imagine what they would be telling themselves in their heads as well. It was a lot of fun that I wrote two short stories from male points of view afterwards! But it was definitely a lot easier to write Katie’s.

Do you have a favourite story in the collection? A favourite character?

I love Making My Way, the fourth story. I loved it because it’s where all the feelings come out—and most of them come from Chris. My favourite part is the senior ball scene where he sees her in a different light for the first time. I read it over and over again, picturing it in my mind and wanting to share it with the world after I’d written it haha! And yes, I love Chris. Poor Chris, who went through so much and hurt so many girls along the way, but always knew in his heart that there was really only one girl for him.

Chris is an artist. Does he remind you of anyone you know?

I know several artists, being in the creative field. But I didn’t really pattern him after any one particular guy. I like to take the best aspects of the guys I know and meet and put them together to form a character you’ll care about and fall in love with.

Your writing CV is quite impressive. What made you switch to young adult fiction?

Thank you! I’ve been writing fiction all my life, but when I was growing up, there never really was a venue for me to do it for school or professionally. I always found myself writing feature articles or essays. And because that was what was available, I took it. Anything to write.

When I joined a teen magazine as managing editor, the people in the cubicle a few feet from mine were busy launching chick lit books. I was dying to sign up and tell them I wanted to write a book too, but they weren’t writing young adult. They were writing chick lit for the Cosmopolitan crowd, with a required sex scene. Definitely not my scene. So I didn’t even try. But when they began publishing young adult, I told myself it was time. So I wrote my first book and they published it—and the one after that.

If you could claim any book as your own, what would it be and why?

That’s easy. I would claim The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. I fell in love with that book. So much so that I gave it away as a birthday gift to almost everyone the year I read it. I love the magical way she writes, the way she makes you fall in love with her characters, how they are flawed but redeem themselves in the end, and of course the fantasy woven into the story. She focuses on the relationships between the characters, which is what I like to do too, but everything in the book happens to be magical: the people, the places, the food, the houses, even the wallpaper. I love that and I want to be able to write something like that too someday.

What are you reading right now?

Right now (literally a few minutes before answering this question), I just finished Thea Stilton and the Cherry Blossom Adventure. I took a break from reading indie authors and read my six-year-old’s book because she asked me to. She’s been devouring these Thea Stilton books and when she told me she wanted me to read them so we could talk about them, my heart soared. This is the best way for me to bond with my daughter, over something I love doing too. And I can’t help but be grateful that she loves to read, just like her mama!

That’s so amazing to hear. I’m trying to do the same with my daughter by maintaining this blog.

What’s next on your writing agenda?

I just finished two short stories and a children’s book. The first short story was for a young adult writing workshop I joined (and I learned so much – about the genre and about myself as a writer!), the next is a submission for something else (I don’t think I can talk about it yet), and the children’s book is a submission to an ASEAN contest my cousin and I joined.

What I had to put on the shelf when all these started happening was my prequel of sorts to Only A Kiss. I have begun writing about the love story between Regina and Ben, the couple that gets married in the beginning of the book. I wanted it to be a short story at first, but now it looks like it can become a novella. I don’t know yet what’s going on but I think it’s time to start plotting out the story and not just letting my characters run away with me. Haha!

Thank you for doing this interview, Ines. Before we sign off, do you have anything else you’d like to tell your readers that hasn’t been covered by this interview?

I’d like to ask them to give other Filipino authors a try as well! There are so many of us now and the stories are very good. J I am trying to read as many as I can and I am enjoying myself so much.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

| Facebook | Twitter | Website | Amazon Author Page |

photo-2Ines 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.

“Only A Kiss” is sweet and slow-buring

only a kiss coverLove takes time. That’s the message behind Ines Bautista Yao’s sweet and slow-burning love story, Only A Kiss.

In Only A Kiss, nine year old Katie crushes on best friend Chris’s older brother Ethan. Katie takes Chris as her “plus one” to her older cousin’s wedding and demands he kisses her. Though Katie thinks it romantic to duplicate her cousins’ first marital kiss, Chris is terrified, complying only because he’s too scared to tell Katie “no”. It is this totally unassuming kiss that foreshadows the totally expected, yet wholly satisfying end to the story.

Bautista Yao emerges at the end of Only A Kiss as an expert storyteller. Her prose is simple and grammatically correct (worth noting, especially for an indie author). Told from the alternating viewpoint of Katie and Chris, she paints both characters as believable and sympathetic, building pathos from the first page of the book when she sets Katie up as a hopeless romantic, destined to suffer through her unrequited relationship with the Disney-prince-worthy Ethan. And while serial dater Chris sometimes gets the short stick in the way Katie and the others paint him, he emerges as quite sympathetic in his own right, a testament to Bautista Yao’s talent.

Though Only A Kiss could better be described as a series of linked short stories following the main characters over a span of sixteen years, you won’t be disappointed if you read it. Whether you’re a pre-teen, teen, or adult, there’s a message everyone can take away from Only A Kiss – if it’s meant to be, it will happen. Love–true love that lasts–takes time.

Mamabear gives this book:


Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.