Today marks the first time for me to participate in a book blog tour, hosted by Book Junkie Blog Tours. This entry features Vintage Love., a novella written by fellow #romanceclass alum Agay Llanera and published in July.
Here’s the basic premise of the book:
26-year-old Crissy Lopez’s life is in dire need of a makeover. Her wardrobe revolves around ratty shirts and beat-up sneaks; her grueling schedule as a TV Executive Producer leaves no room for a social life; and worst of all, she’s still hung up on the Evil Ex who left her five years ago.
When her fashionable grand-aunt passes away and leaves behind a roomful of vintage stuff, the Shy Stylista inside Crissy gradually resurfaces. Soon, she feels like she’s making progress — with a budding lovelife to boot! But the grim ghost of her past catches up with her, threatening to push her back into depression. To finally move on, Crissy learns that walking away is not enough. This time, she needs to take a leap of faith.
Agay herself has been kind enough to share with us the inspiration behind Vintage Love, including the real-life inspiration for the fabulous Mama Maring. Let’s join her as we go through local stores and fashionable closets to find the real meaning of “vintage love.”
I’ve just gotten back from a tiangge where I’ve purchased two tops to the tune of two hundred pesos. As I’m writing this, I sneak glances at them– –a maroon sleeveless baby-doll-collared shirt with tiny white polka dots, and a loose army-green top with a gartered waist with a heart-shaped patch at its center.
I’m not a superfashionable kind of person, but my spirits do get an instant lift when I chance upon any cute article of clothing that fits me just right. And since I am a cheapskate kind of person, I usually shun brand names (unless they’re 50-70% off), and build my wardrobe from department stores; tiangges; small, unknown clothing shops; and yes, even ukay-ukay (secondhand clothing) stores.
The point is I believe fashion need not be expensive. And this is exactly what Crissy discovers when she finally decides to jumpstart her makeover. Using her Mama Maring’s vintage accessories plus ukay-ukay clothes, she revives her personal style–one that is no longer based on current trends, but on what makes her feel good inside and out.
Back in my senior year in college, when the baby tee–that small, fitted shirt– made its grand entrance in the late 90s, I didn’t hie off to to the mall to update my wardrobe; instead I raided my pack-rat of a mom’s closet, and pulled out her 70s to early 80s tops. They were styled as stiff-collared, button-down polo shirts, but they were fitted to show the a woman’s curves from the bust line to the waist.
I loved that I saved money, but most of all, I loved the thought that I was wearing something that my mom used to wear. My mom was (and still is) one of those effortless, towering beauties. Wearing her clothes made me feel as pretty as she was.
Wearing her Mama Maring’s accessories also made Crissy feel connected to her grandaunt, whose life experiences mirrored some of hers. Even after she had passed on, Mama Maring inspired Crissy to live a life that she had chosen, to take risks and be responsible for her decisions.
Mama Maring’s character was inspired by…well, Mama Maring–my husband’s late grandmother. Before we got married, the only things I knew about her were her penchant for vintage collectibles such as matchbook covers, crocheted table covers, and souvenir pencils. Later on, I heard stories about her inner strength and thoughtfulness.
I also based her character on my husband’s grandaunt (Maring’s younger sister), Nene, who, in her late eighties, still makes regular trips to the salon for her mani and pedi, and hair treatments. Her cheerful disposition and openness to new ideas are enough to convince any woman that she doesn’t need a man to complete her life.
Although the main theme of Vintage Love revolves around how Crissy has moved on from her past, the novella also talks about respecting the past–which includes our elders, the experiences that have molded us into who we are today, and yes, even the fashion trends of yesteryears.
Agay Llanera is a freelance writer for television and video, and a published writer of children’s books. She is a member of KUTING, a private, non-stock, non-profit organization, which aims to be the Philippines’ foremost writers’ organization for children.
Agay blogs regularly on http://agayisagirl.blogspot.com/. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @agayskee.
Vintage Love is available now from Smashwords and Amazon’s Kindle Store. Copies of the print edition are also available by request.
And now for the fun part: Get a chance to win one of three swag bags full of goodies from Agay Llanera and fellow blog-tour author Addie Lynn Co, including paperback editions and assorted trinkets.
Just follow the instructions below: Rafflecopter giveaway
And here’s a peek at the aforementioned prizes (toddler not included):
Go! Join! Now! 🙂