Author Interview: Fred Figueroa

Getting to Know Pinoy Indie Authors

I truly feel Pinoy (Filipino) Indie Authors are underrated and, most times, under appreciated. In support, I am resuming my interviews with Pinoy Indie Authors.

In addition, I have also created a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group specifically dedicated to empowering and equipping Pinoy writers to write, publish, and promote their books.

If you’re a Filipino indie author or writer, come join us! You’re welcome — whether you write in English, Taglish, or Tagalog. We’re all in this together!

Author Interview: Fred Figueroa

We are proud to present Alfredo Fred Figueroa, our featured Pinoy Indie Author this week.

About Fred Figueroa

Fred is a photographer, an artist and a writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. A former bank executive, he is now using his hands for a myriad of creative things instead of crunching numbers.

Fred Figueroa

Fred Figueroa

Writer of Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry; Photographer and Artist

Connect with Fred Figueroa and purchase his books here:

Q & A with FRED FIGUEROA

What inspired you to become a writer?

I did not aspire to become a writer but I love books. I remember rescuing books from the thrash. Those that are discarded by the library due to torn pages or dismantled covers or for some other reasons. Others are perhaps misplaced or forgotten by the students who care less about their studies (we live close to a public high school). I remember sewing back the loose pages with the help of my mother and covering them with wax paper. So, perhaps the interest in writing is there even at an early age except I have so much happening in life that I did not recognize it.

The inspiration to become a writer came to me later in life. Although I admit to doodling some poems I was never serious about it. One day, I was transferring my old files from my external storage to my new computer when I stumbled into one of my old writings. It is a poem titled, THE FIRST RAIN OF MAY. Exactly at the time, 8Letters is having its 2nd LitFest and I submitted it for possible publication. I was so happy that it was short-listed as one of the top twenty contenders. It didn’t make it in the final cut but it inspired me to write.

Could you describe your writing routine? 

I normally start writing around eight or nine in the evening and extend at times even up to one in the morning but that is because I have insomnia. Lately, I have been trying to change this routine because it is bearing down on my health. It is a struggle though.

How do you develop your story ideas?

I am a pantser. I write without knowing where my story will lead me. Normally, I just have two paragraphs to start and from there, I crawl to move my story while conforming to the theme, if it is a call for submission. I always include shreds of real-life experiences and nuances of familiar people and lend them to my characters. 

The story may be fantasy but the settings, and the characters are all recognizable because they are from my memory.  The practice makes it easy for me to write fluidly as I just imagine their personality and place them in the story situation. In our anthology book; JOURNEY THROUGH EIGHT REALMS, a LitArt Hub publication, the place, Bihiya is real, and the bridge exists. 

As a kid, I always enjoyed visiting the place because of the sea, the Mango trees, and some of the nicest people I ever met. In one of our latest anthology books, LOVE IN STYLE,  a Paperkat/HS Grafik Print publication, I got the idea from our photography group, Alpha Camera Club, our trips to Ilocos. The falling of the camera tripod from the bus compartment, our surprise when checking in at a resort in Pagudpod that a Bikini Open is going on. Even the conversation I had with our camera club president discussing the acknowledgment page of the photobook we are developing brings birth to the wonderful exchange of dialogue toward the end of the story.

How do you approach creating memorable characters? 

To create a memorable character, I feel I have to have a connection – a shared value to that character. 

In my novel, SIGNALS OF TRANSCENDENCE. I created the character of Mr. Riggs a.k.a. Shawn Miley, a fugitive from the US who finds a home in one of the remote islands in the Visayan region. Mr. Riggs, although committed a crime, has a heart for nature and dares stand up against illegal logging. 

While writing the story, I had in mind his namesake, a Singaporean national we met while doing a photo shoot of the mangroves along the stretch of the place nicknamed Boracay in Kawit, Cavite. I admire him and his local partners for their dedication to preserving the mangroves against the backdrop of commercial development in the area. The character, Mr. Riggs, stuck to my mind because I share the same passion for nature and the same feeling of helplessness in a fight against its abuse.

 

Q & A with FRED FIGUEROA

How do you balance research and creativity in your writing?

I do research especially if it is a mythology but the beauty of fiction writing is that you are not constrained by the facts available through research. You can bend, and twist it for creative purposes as long as you retain the core elements. 

For example, you do not make a Tikbalang divide into half and fly at night but you can twist and make Tikbalang live in a penthouse in Makati instead of in a forest to give the story a fresh take.

What challenges have you faced as an author? 

I usually exceed the word count when writing for a call for submission. The challenge is how to cut down the words without sacrificing the story. 

Others are that I lost interest midway through writing because I found my story uninteresting. I usually find myself the meanest critique of my writing. In such a case, I normally shelve my story for a while until it becomes new again to my sight.

How do you deal with writer’s block or self-doubt?

To deal with writer’s block, read and read a lot to get inspired. Read anything and go back to your desk and write even one paragraph just to have something to start with.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors? 

Just write. If you have no use for it now, keep it. Later if there is a call for submission, you can always revisit your writings, revise, edit, and tweak them to comply with the theme if it is workable. It saves you time and effort.

Can you give us a sneak peek into your upcoming projects? 

We are working on writing collaboration and I hope it is going to be a success.

What’s the message in your latest book and why did you choose it? 

In our latest book, FLY BY NIGHT, an 8Letters publication, I want our readers to be acquainted with the beauty and mystery of some of the places in our province, Cavite. I want them to learn and appreciate the history and the tales, the mystery behind some of the known structures we have.

In my story contribution, THE SECRET OF SAINT GREGORY’S CHURCH, it is obvious that I drew my inspiration from Saint Gregory’s church in Indang Cavite. A mountainous town about fourteen kilometers away from the sea. My late mother used to narrate that before the church was renovated, saltwater springs from its altar. Now recalling the tale, I immediately connect it with the many tunnels and underground passages found in many historical sites. The Aguinaldo Shrine is one. The tunnel, although most likely already caved in, is said to be connected to Saint Mary Magdalene’s Church and then, there’s the magnetic field along the road between Maragondon and Ternate,  and I already have a story ripe to be written.  

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Did you know I wrote a Short, Sweet, Steamy Romance series? 

Here’s the second Book in the Series. I hope you can check it out – it might just be worth your time!

It's Always Been You MAYUMI'S BOOKS

IT'S ALWAYS BEEN YOU

Can two people who have played the cat-and-dog game for years end up playing house? IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is a funny, enemies-to-lovers romance and the second Book in my YOU’RE MINE Series of short, sweet and steamy romances.

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