It's almost the end of the year and still, Mina V. Esguerra's #romanceclass is going strong. Ever since the class ended in early June, there have been eight contemporary romance novellas out in the market. Making a book tour stop on Ficsation is one that I devoured in one sitting, Anne Plaza's In Over Her Head.
About the Book:
All she wants is to get even...
Erika Apostol's quiet and unassuming life gets disrupted when she learns that Richard Javier, the very same person who broke her heart many years ago, is now back in the country. Her world is turned upside down as old feelings she thought were buried resurface to haunt her once more.
Determined to give Richard a dose of his own medicine, Erika finds herself involved in an outrageous plan devised by her friends. They enlist the help of Jerome Gonzales, an attractive and charismatic DJ (with a playboy reputation), to pose as her significant other.
As the plan goes in full swing, Erika discovers Richard's jealous side, and that there's something more to Jerome than meets the eye. Will this grand charade work out the way it should, or will she be left with nothing in the end?
You can purchase the book through any of the following links:
• Paperback: Order here
One of the things I enjoyed about In Over Her Head is the Richard-Erika deal. Any child of the 80's will appreciate that! So I asked Ms Plaza more about her naming conventions and how she chose names and personalities for her characters. Did she know that she was going to name her leads over this iconic anime pair? Or did that come after?
Aside from forming a cohesive plot for a story, I take great pleasure in naming my characters. For me it's like a make or break thing that would either push me to finish writing or just get me stuck in a limbo of no return. Here are two main reasons why I personally give importance in naming their characters:But names and characters are just one part of the equation. Beyond these, the novella really moved me by the way the romance was handled. It took a familiar story (getting back at the Ex) and deftly infused it with rom-com elements and tropes (a love triangle, a player, schemes and lies) to up the ante. I think Ms Plaza really dealt with this excellently. It was so easy for me to fall into the story and its premise without question. At its core, it was still anchored around a very realistic situation, one that tugged at my heartstrings. I liked how the leads danced around each other -- just slightly beyond reach -- so that we can have something to root for in the end.
• A character's name is essential for me to be able to think of their personalities and visual pegs. Names that sound and feel right is something akin to inspiration—they usually hit me during the most unusual times (i.e., when I'm about to fall asleep, or when I'm taking a bath). And just like having that spark of an idea, I have to write it down; otherwise, I'd forget it.
• Thinking of appropriate character names for my stories is an exercise to show how characters come alive in the writing process—they evolve into distinct individuals with different personalities and quirks.
I never really thought to name my lead characters after the very famous anime couple, but when I was still just talking about the plot with my cousin, the idea was already there. I didn't have names at that time, and thought it would be great to go for it. I mean, who could ever forget Richard Hartford and Princess Erika? I was a sucker for romantic plots in the shows I watched when I was a kid, and Daimos takes the cake.
When it comes to fleshing out the characters, I try to come up with a visual peg (VP). When I outlined In Over Her Head for #romanceclass, I already had a mental picture of what my characters looked like. VPs help me describe the characters a lot more in detail, from their physical appearance down to their mannerisms and personalities.
For instance, my initial VP for Erika was Michelle Monaghan from the movie Made of Honor. Michelle's character in the movie was a go-getter, a person who takes things seriously career-wise, independent, and a hopeless romantic. On the other hand, my basis for Richard was Won Bin in the movie Friends (with Kyoko Fukada). In that film, his character was hardworking, youthful, and persevering. I imbued these characteristics in my leads, albeit with a few tinkering on the physical appearance.
I was also asked who I would cast for the role of Erika, Richard, and Jerome if the book was to be adapted into a movie. As much as I'd like to handpick the artists I earlier mentioned, I already have an idea which actors would be perfect for the part.
Anne Plaza has a degree in Psychology, but has actively pursued a career in writing in her previous work as a reporter and online editor. She currently works in the field of marketing communications and spends most of her time writing fiction (while not on the lookout for the nearest cupcake and cronut store). Aside from writing, she loves to read contemporary romance, young adult, fantasy, and historical fiction. She also collects stamps and postcards, and loves everything about cats. Anne is based in Quezon City, Philippines. In Over Her Head is her first published work in English.
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anneplaza2013
• Twitter: @anneplaza
• Blog: http://thoughtsbrewed.blogspot.com
• Email: email@example.com
Giveaway time! Get the chance to win one swag bag including the following: In Over Her Head postcard and bookmark, floral memo pad, A7 memo pad, and sticky notes, Idea Dream Think Memory Draw Japanese Wallpaper Planner, Jouets Origami Pure Diamond necklace (note: it’s not a real diamond. Haha!)
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