I always liked challenging myself when it comes to writing fiction. By challenge, I mean trying out new genres or blending them. One such challenge I decided to take up was the Heist Club PH x Sachet Novels writing workshop.
This workshop is a tie-up between Heist Club PH, a group of talented Filipino authors writing about crime fiction, and Komikasi Publishing’s Sachet Novels, the Philippines’ mobile book brand available to Cherry Mobile subscribers.
Blurb: The Greatest Treasure by Mayumi Cruz
Joseph’s professional thieving business which he runs with his reclusive friend, Herman, is thriving, not lacking for internationally rich and famous clients from whom they accept “projects” and get sky-high commissions as reward for their “extraordinary skills.”
But this particular job gives him the creeps. He has to steal a rare Rizal bust wherein the national hero’s letters on the whereabouts of the richest gold deposit in the Philippines are said to be hidden. To make matters worse, the bust is located in a seemingly impregnable yacht fortress in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, guarded by dangerous creatures he prefers not to encounter.
The client also requires that one of her own people do the job with him, and Joseph always works alone. But okay, a beautiful, all-woman but equally skilled thief, Amanda, may not be a bad companion, after all. That is, until he learns that her marching orders are to dispose of him once the bust is secured.
Now why would an apparently insignificant piece of wood generate such homicidal act on the part of his client? Surely, those letters don’t hold the power to alter the course of history and change the world’s opinion about the great man who inspired the Philippine revolution—or do they?
As early as the first week of May 2018, the mentors, Maita Rue, Ria Lu, Yeyet Soriano, and Georgette Gonzales started the free writing workshop with the end in view of coming up with a romantic suspense anthology in time for this year’s Philippine Romance Convention sponsored by the Romance Writers of the Philippines.
Emails were sent, together with tips and learning resources to help us better understand the genres, and also the rules we have to stick to. The workshop required us to write a heist (robbery) story with romance involving a real or imagined valuable artifact belonging to a Philippine historical figure. Word cap ranged from 5,000-8,000 words, and several significant words and characters should be present in our story.
Writing a heist story was certainly challenging for me. It was very educational. From the mentors who shared with us their knowledge and expertise, I learned more about a MacGuffin, magical realism, and romance, among other things. At first, I was dreading the research work I had to do about Philippine history. As a student, I abhorred history classes because I remember them to be boring, sleep-inducing, and uninteresting. But I was surprised to find myself enjoying learning about my chosen historical figure, Dr. Jose Rizal, and in the process, reading up on other historical persons as well.
I also found writing a heist story utterly enjoyable. I loved Danny Ocean’s movies franchise, The Italian Job, and The Inside Man. I watched them all again. I also read up on heist novels. All these helped me a lot in finding my voice and style, thus creating and finishing my story, The Greatest Treasure, which is included in the A Time for Heists Anthology. (Please see Blurb above) Funny, I actually am thinking of writing a sequel to it–a full-length novel!
A Time for Heists will be formally launched on August 4, 2018 at the Philippine Romance Convention, which will be held at the IAcademy campus in Makati, Metro Manila. It’s already available for pre-order on Amazon for international buyers.
Aside from the book launch, there will be talks and panels on various interesting topics. There will also be an Indie Book Fair, where my other books will also be available for purchase.
Everyone is invited!