One of Ines Bautista-Yao’s greatest strengths as a romance writer is that she is able to tap into the romantic fantasies of our high school selves. You know the type. That moment in life when it does seem conceivable that a pop star can find you in the midst of a crowd of screaming girls and fall madly in love, or that the hot captain of the sports team harbours a secret crush on the nerdy math geek.
Bautista-Yao takes these fantasies, and repackages them into sweet vignettes that actually feel real, and more to the point, realistic. Rather than Nick Carter swooning as he catches your eye at a Backstreet Boys concert (ahem), perhaps it’s a cute, shy man at the coffee shop where you work. Or the (actually cuter) teammate of that athlete you’re crushing on. Or perhaps it’s the random cute guy you encounter once at a work event and fear you may never see again.
These stories make up Bautista-Yao’s newest book Just a Little Bit of Love, a collection of short stories that are tangentially related to the main characters in her most recent novel Only a Kiss. As the blurb says, these are just small doses of romance, but they do serve up a whole lot of feels.
Q&A WITH INES BAUTISTA-YAO:
1. These stories revisit the world of Kate and Chris from your novel Only a Kiss. What inspired you to return to that world and flesh out these characters?
I wish I could give you a more creative answer but the truth is, I started writing the story blog posts to promote Only A Kiss. Then my husband asked how many stories I had and suggested putting them all together in a collection. The problem was I wasn’t done with one of my stories and no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to finish it. So I stopped writing it and just started a new one which I fell in love with in an instant!
2. Two of the stories may be familiar to avid readers of your blog, where they were originally published. What was the reader response to those stories and what made you decide to include them in this collection?
Whenever I would announce the stories, I’d get readers and friends messaging me asking for more. So this is it! But of course, I’m still getting requests for more haha! But that’s always a good thing.
3. In “On the Sidelines,” the romance begins with tension — Ina finds John annoying. What about this type of beginning interests you as a writer?
I like complications because I want to see how my characters figure them out and come out better, stronger, and happier in the end. Also, it makes my characters and their relationships more intriguing.
4. I love Ina’s friend Robert, who cheers on her romance while being too afraid to pursue his own. His fear is compounded by his being gay, and unsure how his crushes will respond. What inspired Robert’s character, and do you think you’ll ever write a romance between characters of the same sex?
I have no idea. I didn’t plan for Robert to be gay, he just was. When I start writing, I have a very general idea in mind and everything comes together when I start putting the words down. So I don’t know if I will write a same sex romance. Who knows? I just might one day 🙂 As for inspiration, that’s a secret because I think it’s still a secret, if you know what I mean 🙂
5. John tries to woo Ina with cheese rolls and in “Sticky Notes”, Jacob charms Carla with a sticky note. What was the sweetest thing a guy has done for you, and what made it so special?
I believe there’s a fine line between sweet and creepy. The difference lies in your feelings for the boy. If Ina didn’t like John, his persistence would have been creepy. If Carla didn’t like Jacob, she would have been grossed out by the sticky note. So given that, I’ve had boys serenade me, draw me islands, write me poetry, give me bouquets of flowers, but the sweetest thing a boy has ever done for me was something I only found out about after it happened. Before my husband and I got together, he was praying a novena to St. Joseph that I would finally come to my senses and realize I was in love with him too 🙂
Thanks to the author for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour!
Just a Little Bit of Love is available on Amazon.