Saturday, September 07, 2013

Well Played Blog Tour + Giveaway

What's great about being a blog tour stop is that you can ask author many things about the writing process. Author Katrina Ramos Atienza generously shares her experiences on writing the contemporary romance novella Well Played.

About the Book:
Patrice Reyes is starting her junior year at the University and she's convinced it's going to be the best semester ever. For starters, it looks like this is the year her team will win the regional football (soccer, for you Yanks) championships. Her subjects are looking good, and there's even a chance she might finally get somewhere with her rock star crush. But a new classmate—arrogant, cold Math nerd ( 'nuff said)—is seriously throwing off her groove. Will she ever get rid of him and have the awesome semester she deserves? Or is there truth to never judging (Math) books by their cover?

You can purchase the book through any of the following links:
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This is the first time that I've read a Filipino adaptation of a famous novel so I really wanted to ask Ms Atienza what challenges she encountered. How did she decide which characters needed to stay close to their original versions and who would get big changes in the adaptation?

For me, LB was the perfect fit for Pride & Prejudice. Austen set her story in this small, very insular world; in many ways UPLB is like that, too: a small college town where everyone knows each other and, sometimes, get into each other’s business. From the moment I decided to do the retelling I already knew that I’d have the landladies and tenants of Alta Women’s Dormitory as stand-ins for the Bennets; I knew that Netherfield / Meryton would be U.S.A. (in real life, an apartment complex called White House). For the balls, the different college parties worked great. Once I did the outline I knew I had to streamline some plot points from the original. For example, although Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine are the funnest characters in P&P, adding them into the mix would complicate a story already teeming with plot points (though I did consider doing Lady Catherine as a bitchy dean or something!)

Once the stand-ins were chosen, their traits from the original were pruned or enhanced organically -- meaning I wrote it through. There was a lot of thinking along the lines of “does it feel right for this character to do this? Would ‘Jane’ actually say this, or would she be as passive as her original? Would ‘Mrs. Bennet’ still be as interested in matchmaking?” The answer to the last one, by the way, is yes to a certain extent; you’d be surprised to find a lot of well-meaning old ladies taking a keen interest in your love life in UPLB!

With all the many different characters, I was conscious of making sure I didn’t have one-offs in the story just because they were in the original. I had to ensure that everyone I introduced would have some resonance or contributed to advancing the plot later. I actually had to do a bit of rewriting so that “Caroline” and “Mr. and Mrs. Bennet” had something to do with the resolution.

The real challenge was just the timing of the whole plot. I knew that the Wickham paninira had to happen, but when, exactly? And what would be the fallout from that? There was the temptation to just throw all the plot developments after that, boom boom boom, but in actuality it’s only the middle of the book, so there was still some story-building to be done. It was probably at this point that I got my yearlong writer’s block! It took a lot of rewrites to fix the pacing after that, but I think once I figured it out it flows pretty well. That’s the hope!

One of the things that I enjoyed about Well Played is trying to figure out which character was which and anticipating how my favorite scenes from the original version would be given a new spin. There was really much attention to detail -- not just in the setting but also in the characters themselves. You can tell what a big P&P Ms Atienza is! So if you're a big fan of Austen (or just romance in general), don't forget to pick up this book.

About the Author:
Katrina Ramos Atienza, born and bred in Manila, Philippines, has been writing all her life. She's worked in the fields of PR and corporate communications while blogging, freelancing and writing fiction. Four chick lit novels (Pink Shoes, 2006; The Hagette, 2006; If the Shoe Fits, 2008 and Shoes Off, 2010) are available in paperback in the Philippines, while her earlier short fiction works have been published in Philippine publications and collected in the Growing Up Filipino II anthology. Well Played (2013) is her first independently published novel. She graduated from the University of the Philippines at Los BaƱos and is married with two kids.

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Giveaway time! Get the chance to win one of three swag bags (containing 1 medium,gray Well Played shirt + 2 Pride & Prejudice Bookmarks + Think Free Bag Tag) from Katrina Ramos Atienza or one of three swag bags (containing 1 paperback copy of All's Fair in Blog & War, 1 unique trinket, 1 pocket journal, ebook voucher, postcard and bookmarks) from Chrissie Peria.

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