First things first: Don’t forget to follow the #PaperPlanesBackHome blog tour this week, join the giveaway, and get a chance to win a free e-book copy of Paper Planes Back Home! (Open to Philippine residents only.)
She seems reluctant to unfold a plane, but when she looks back up at him, she sees a paper plane drop on his lap. The look on his face is inexplicable. “Someone thought of you,” she points out, feeling an ounce of hope for this man in front of her.
QUESTION: In a few sentences, can you tell me about Paper Planes Back Home? Not including the book description… As in kunyari hindi ko pa siya nababasa, pano mo siya ipapaliwanag sakin?
T: Okay, uuh…
C: [evil cackling]
T: Okay, so, Paper Planes Back Home is an urban fantasy. Which has these two characters in a coma. And the way to get them to wake up, is for them to get these paper planes which are thoughts from their loved ones. So, we’re introduced to this place, that we don’t know where, but it’s kind of a limbo, where they’re standing on clouds. Those paper planes, when they get a lot of them they can build a bigger ride, and they can finally take the journey back home — which is synonymous to their families or their actual bodies… yung corporeal vessels!
C: Yes! [secret brain hemorrhage #1]
T: That’s basically the gist of the story, but there’s ano, a dash of romance lang. Here and there. Kasi one of the characters has a boyfriend. Tapos one of the characters has a girlfriend pero something wrong happened. Which explains why he’s not getting any paper planes. Basically that’s it, the journey of these two souls stuck in limbo and how they found their way back home.
QUESTION: Where did the idea for the story come from?
T: It came from this illustration I saw on Tumblr. I can send it to you na lang. I saw it once, I saved it on my computer kasi it looked so pretty. It’s of a girl looking up and a lot of paper planes flying overhead. Pero yung surface na kinatatayuan niya isn’t land. It looked like… Di ko alam kung tubig o langit. A lot of Tumblr artists kasi that I follow medyo whimsical yung dating nung art nila. So that was one of the images that I saw. Nung nakita ko yun, sabi ko, oh my gosh ang ganda. Tapos ginawa kong wallpaper.
C: Yun na yon? Picture lang tapos may storya na?? [not-so-secret brain hemorrhage #2]
T: Eh, after a while nung tinitignan ko siya nang tinitignan sa wallpaper ko, sabi ko, parang, there’s a story here. I want to tell a story with this kind of image. Kasi hindi mawala sa isip ko yung itsura niya eh. Parang, ang ganda naman nito, ano’ng kwento dito? Why is this happening? Hindi naman siya actively na nag outline ako, talagang tinignan ko lang siya. [she shows me the photo]
T: I started to write something, a draft, May 2013. It started with, yun nga, the cloud scene. Dun lang, dun siya nagsimula. I kind of winged it also. Talagang kailangan ko lang siyang ikuwento. Hanggang sa umabot ako doon sa length na yon. But it took me about six months.
QUESTION: Did the entire story go as planned? Or were there unexpected changes that happened?
T: …wala kasi akong plano. [collective cackling] As in, seryoso! When I started the story I just wanted to tell the story of these two souls, and how they’re going to get back to their bodies. Pano ko sasabihin na there is hope for somebody else kahit… walang nagmamahal sa kanya.
T: Di naman sa walang nagmamahal sa kanya but…
C: [ugly crying]
T: You know, nobody remembers him. So bakit walang nakakaalala sakanya? This other person, she’s well loved and a lot of people are encouraging her. That’s what people say when someone’s in a coma diba? You talk. Because they can still hear you. But this other person, wala siyang nakukuha. So how? How does that work? Ang alam ko lang was how I wanted it to end. So yun lang yung goal ko, they started at this point, they will end at this point.
C: Tapos you just filled it in…
T: Tapos dire-direcho na ako nagsulat without any outline at all.
QUESTION: What is the best response that you’ve gotten so far about your story?
T: The best response, so far… Ah. Teka lang naiiyak ako.
C: Oh. Wait, I remember this story.
[real tears happened from here on out, from both of us]
T: I have a friend who has another friend who is in a coma right now. Hindi pa talaga siya nagigising kasi wala pa ako naririnig na balita. Pero the time I wrote the story two years ago, hindi pa siya in a coma nung time na yun. Hindi ko lang inexpect na I will give this book to somebody who is experiencing the actual thing when I gave it to them. Nalaman ko sa kanya before we met up so she could get her book. Pero hindi ko alam kung sasabihin ko sa kanya na yung story ko was about a person in a coma. So di ko na lang muna sinabi. Then I received a text message, umiiyak daw siya because of the story. And then nag-post siya sa Instagram niya na message for the friend who’s sick, tapos she quoted Paper Planes. Parang ako, oh my god. Alam mo yun parang, sandali lang! I am hoping you get a lot of paper planes because I want you to come back home, sabi niya dun sa friend niya. Na-touch ako na…
C: Teka lang! [pause for feels]
T: Sana totoo yung story ko kasi that person has a lot of friends and family who really care for him. So I just thought na sana magkatotoo yung rules na I set in my book. Na somewhere in this world we’re living in it’s true. Para he can come back home din. I don’t even know this person pero, sana makabalik ka. Yun yung the best na nakuha ko. Alam naman nating it’s fiction, it’s not true-
C: You never know! [#superfeelswoman]
T: Pero ayun nga for her to say na I want this story to come true for her friend, ayun. Yun yung best.
QUESTION: What was the worst review, if there have been any?
T: The worst? [sudden burst of laughter] Kanina kasi may nakita akong comment kay Jay na I was using a lot of adverbs daw. Tapos parang ako, oh my god I
have to check my manuscript! Ayun, kasi it’s not a conscious thing unless someone points it out. So I got affected. Pero not in a bad way! Nung nabasa ko yung review, sabi ko: talaga?! Hindi naman siya worst, pero it’s one of the things na gusto kong balikan to correct. Tapos, siguro… ah! Kasi may comments ako na nakuha na sana Filipina na lang daw si Gianna.
C: Eh… [my disapproving face is being used here]
T: Kaso, well, the muse is Korean kasi. I couldn’t have written her as another nationality. Tapos yung trope pa na ginamit ko is very Koreanovela. So yung influence ko talaga lumabas. But, it’s okay. I wrote naman na a Filipina protagonist. In that other story na lang siguro. And so far yun lang naman pero hindi pa kasi tapos yung tour. [awkward laughter] Hindi ko pa alam kung ano pa yung iba kong makukuhang reviews.
QUESTION: If you were Gianna, who is the person or people you would expect or want to get paper planes from?
T: My family, siyempre. Una na yun. Kasi, parang, hello??
C: FAMILY SEND ME SOME PAPER PLANES!
T: Pag hindi niyo ako pinadalhan parang jusko naman diba? Kawawa naman ako! Para saan pang may pinagsamahan tayo since birth! Pag di sila nagpadala, magmumulto ako! Yung ganon.
[slightly inappropriate laughter]
T: Sino pa ba… my friends, siyempre. High school friends ko, kayo my Clingy Girls. Sana meron din akong Aaron. [laughter and lots of blushing] Kaso wala eh!
C: Eh, dadating din yan.
T: …baka pag andun ako marealize kong meron pala! Parang oh my god, why am I getting planes from you? Like, this many?? Mahal mo ako?? [even more inappropriate laughter, with a lot of displaced kilig]
C: Si Radya papadalhan ka ng paper planes.
[long, long, pause, for feels]
T: WAG GANUN! [kilig]
QUESTION: If you could send a paper plane to every person who needs one right now, what would be written on it?
T: Well… there are people who need you down here. Please? I mean, it’s okay, pwede ka mag-limayon diyan for now. Kasi ang iniisip ko that place is also restful. It’s a place without disturbance. It’s a place where you realize how much love you really get. Magpalakas ka diyan, okay alng. But… come back. Come back here because there are people who need you, and love you. Yun.
Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. By day, she works in project management and events, and she writes down her daydreams at night. She began publishing fiction for public consumption in 2004, posting her pieces on various online channels like fan forums and Blogspot, eventually exploring other avenues like Livejournal, Soomp!, Tumblr, and most recently, Wattpad.
Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a 6-month-old male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.