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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Samantha Sotto: Fascinating Facts about the Filipina Best-Selling Author

1) How Ninoy became her champion!
In 1984, The Benigno Aquino Jr. Foundation sponsored  an essay-writing contest on the theme “What Aug. 21, 1983 means to Me”. 
Sam Sotto (born a year after martial law was declared) was deeply touched by Ninoy's heroic act. The 11-year old grade school student  from Benedictine Abbey School-Alabang (now San Beda College-Alabang) decided to submit an entry to the essay-writing contest.
In those dark days of gloom in the country, it was not the easiest thing to do, even for a kid, considering how the Marcos authoritarian regime stifled any kind of news about Ninoy in all media.
Fortunately, Sam's piece won in the the English category (grade school level) of the essay writing contest. 
Sam Sotto is now an international best-selling author and mother of two kids.
2) Did you know that the "Before Ever After " novel was written in a coffee shop in Loyola Heights ?

It was during hours spent waiting at a coffee shop for her son to get out of school that Before Ever After started to take shape.

“I was just by myself; I had nothing else to do. If I go home [after dropping him off], by the time I get there, it will be time for me to fetch him again. And gastos pa ‘yun sa E-Pass and sa gas, so it was a practical thing more than ‘Oh, I have a dream. I’m gonna write.’ Hindi. Ayoko umuwi, ‘no," she explained, laughing.

Sam tells aspiring writers: "I can only advise what I did myself, which is to show up, plant your butt in the chair and write. That’s it: Butt. In. Chair.

Sam finished writing the book within one school year—yet another practical consideration—because she felt she will not have time to finish it once summer vacation started.

With a finished novel in hand, she approached the problem of getting it published by putting on her corporate hat. 

“Now that I have a product, how do I sell it? I didn’t know anything about publishing. Everything I knew at that time was from that Idiot’s Guide to Publishing that I accidentally saw in a book store and took as a sign."

Sam sent many query letters out to agents, some of whom sent back rejection letters solely based on the query. One asked for sample chapters but later told her that her work “wasn’t polished enough." 

“I was so naïve. It was such a raw form of the book. So I stopped sending queries altogether, and for 3 or 4 months, I revised the hell out of it."

Signs point to: chickens

An agent named Stephanie Kip Rostan would later tell her that she would be happy to represent the book, and Sam thinks that having her on board was fortuitous.

“I believe in signs, right? Her name `Kip’ in Dutch—and I only know this because I lived in Holland—means ‘chicken’. I told her, ‘it’s a sign; we’re meant to be together.’"

Rostan sold Before Ever After to Crown Publishers, a division of the largest English-language publisher in the world, Random House, Inc. 

3) Ever wonder how to say "Before Ever After" in Polish? 
"Before Ever After" : In English and Polish editions!

4) Do you know the "Before Ever After" Novel was No.1 in Amazon's Women Detective Fiction ?
"Before Ever After" Novel
No.1 in Amazon's Women Detective Fiction! 
AMAZON: Book Description
Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose–he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.

As outrageous as Paolo's claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn't he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down–if it is really Max– and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max's stories of bloody Parisian barricades, medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her "happily ever after." And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to. From the Hardcover edition. Amazon
5) Did you know that  "Before Ever After " turned out to be a strong tourism pitch for Boracay island?
Excerpt from "Before Ever After " novel by Samantha Sotto
"God, she decided as she waded away from the outrigger
that had ferried them to the island,
was selfish and this was where God hoarded
beauty like a secret stash of chocolates."

6) Did Sam Sotto outdo herself with new "Love and Gravity" novel?
From Before Ever After to Love and Gravity
February 7, 2017 (Ballantine/Random House)
In this unforgettable novel for fans of One Day and The Time Traveler’s Wife, a young Isaac Newton falls in love with a girl living in modern-day San Francisco, defying the laws of physics to forge a seemingly impossible connection.
“Thoughtful, magical, and alive with romantic alchemy, Love and Gravity is a rare gem of a book, both intellectual and beautiful.”—New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen
Andrea Louviere is seven years old the first time he appears. While she’s alone in her bedroom, practicing her beloved cello, the light shivers and a crack forms in the wall. Through the crack, she sees a candle, a window, a desk—and a boy. In the eerie silence, the boy clearly sees Andrea too. Then, as quickly as it opened, the crack closes and he vanishes.
Over the years, summoning the boy becomes an obsession for Andrea. On her seventeenth birthday, she receives a three-hundred-year-old love letter from Isaac Newton. Andrea knows that Isaac will change the world with his groundbreaking discoveries; the letter tells Andrea that she will change him.
As Isaac’s letters intensify in passion and intimacy, Andrea grows determined to follow his clues to their shared destiny—despite a burgeoning romance in the present. Only when she discovers the way into Isaac’s time does Andrea realize that she faces a heartbreaking decision between what was . . . and what might be.