That Elusive Thing

This is a bit of a personal reflection–not “call out my ex” personal (as I’ve done a few times on this blog) or “have a meltdown on Twitter” personal (which I have also done too many times), but something closer to the original spirit of The Great Big Jump when I used to blog more regularly.

Before we continue, though, let’s watch this video from Carla de Guzman, shall we?

Yes, one of my favorite #romanceclass writers have mentioned Save the Cake as one of her first reads from the class. Up to now I’m still processing this because I’m both happy to be part of this illustrious list of writers (seriously, go check out the links in her video) and proud of what Carla has achieved in the last four years as a writer.

But it has gotten me thinking–a lot–about where I’ve been as a writer for the last four to six years.

One of the comments I’ve received from readers of Save the Cake was that they loved how Eloisa was competent in spite of being in the situation she was in with her family. This resonated with me because I’m about three books in, and two out of three of them show women in the workplace. Personally, I’ve never thought of myself as someone who writes “competency porn,” but now that I’ve seen the response that people have with this book, I’m beginning to think that, after six years in publishing, I may have finally found my “thing.”

Never mind that I currently work from home, alone, as a freelancer and asset manager/caregiver for my parents. Never mind that it’s been years since my last office job, and the last time I had been gainfully employed was a lecturer position right before I went to UP Diliman for my graduate studies.

I want to say that it’s weird for me, and I wouldn’t be lying if I said that it wasn’t. What is obvious to me right now, though, is that I’ve been channeling all those hopes and dreams that I had as a “working girl” in my twenties and thirties into something close to positive. And while I am proud of my work on Nine Years Away, it was such a departure from what I had done that it still felt like an outlier.

Which brings us, then, to where I want to go looking forward.

Yes, I will be going back to the competent, hard-working heroines that have been part of my early repertoire. Which is not to say that I’m not going to write about the unemployed–the last story in the Hideaway Trilogy, in fact, will actually have a heroine going through that–but I want to go back to characters who are good at what they do, who aren’t “plain” and not waiting for “the next big thing” to change their lives.

Except there will be better relationships, better romance, the right amount of heat where needed.

I’ve learned a lot about romance these last six years. I can stand to learn more in the next few.

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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