Book 1: Only a Kiss
When she was nine-years-old, Katie knew she wanted Chris to give her her first kiss. It wasn’t because she was in love with him (no way, he was her best friend! Besides, she was in love with his fourteen-year-old big brother), it was because she could make him do anything she wanted.
Besides, it didn’t really mean anything. After all, it was only a kiss.
But things started to change. They grew up. They parted ways and went to different high schools. Then other girls and other boys—well, just one particular boy—came into the picture, throwing their lives upside down.
“Only a Kiss starts off with that sweet, precocious whimsy of a Ramona book and moves into those first love blunders and aches we’ve all experienced at some level. It’s the Filipino version of the whole falling for the girl next door story. It felt so genuine that I wanted to jump right into the story.”
“I enjoy reading love stories, especially those that make your heart ache a little, give you a good cry, yet still leave a smile on your face and the feeling of being in love after. You will experience all these with this book.”
“I love realistic stories that remind me how magical life can be.”
Prequel: When Sparks Fly
Twenty-four-year-old photographer’s apprentice Regina has always felt like the plain, dull orange next to the shiny red apple that is her best friend Lana. But then she meets Ben—the first guy to ever break Lana’s heart, and the first guy to ever make Regina feel that he only has eyes for her. As Regina finds herself falling hard for Ben, she also finds herself breaking all the rules of best-friendship. Will she give up the love of her life for Lana, or will she finally realize that she deserves her share of the spotlight, too?
This story is not only about love . . . it’s about friendship, sacrifice, courage, and self-discovery.
“To say that I enjoyed reading When Sparks Fly was an understatement because with the easygoing and funny banter between the characters, the familiar warmth of the settings, believable progression of the story, and even when my feelings were played once, twice, thrice, I pretty much savoured it. Savoured. It shouldn’t go without saying that it’s topped with the writing prowess of THE Ines Bautista-Yao like a cherry on top. Overall, When Sparks Fly is yet another proudly-Pinoy masterpiece that would leave you feeling so satisfied. And you shouldn’t miss!”
Just a Little Bit of Love
(a related collection of stand-alone short stories)
Anita, Ina, and Carla are each finding their lives disrupted by a boy. Maybe it’s because he wanders into the coffee shop where she works after school every Tuesday. Maybe it’s because he won’t leave her alone even if she has made it clear that she is crushing on his football teammate. Or maybe it’s because she’s spent one unforgettable afternoon with him—despite being oh-so-forgetful.
“A sweet collection of short stories that will tug at your heart-strings.”
“They are so relatable and their experiences make me laugh, remembering instances that are similar while growing up with crushes I’d called unreachable stars.”
“Sweet, romantic short stories. Perfectly pleasant diversion for a lazy afternoon.”
CIR: What inspired Only a Kiss?
BAUTISTA-YAO: You know how there are certain lines in songs that jump out at you and take you away from the song itself and into another place, a place of possibilities and new ideas? That’s what happened when I began writing this book. I was listening to The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and as they kept repeating the line “It was only a kiss,” I felt, hey, why not begin a story with that title and take it from there? I typed in the title “Only A Kiss” and the rest flowed. When that chapter/short story ended, I looked for another line from another song to inspire the next part of the book and when I found it, the story, again, flowed easily. I did that for the five chapters/short stories in this book. It was such a fun exercise!
CIR: What is your writing process like?
BAUTISTA-YAO: I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer. I know. It’s not advised and it’s scary and it can be insane to edit, but that’s how I keep myself motivated. I love finding out what’s going to happen as I write. It’s as if I’m reading a book for the first time but I sort of (not all the time!) have control over what happens. I think about the story before I sit down to write, of course. And I have long discussions with my husband over what should happen next (he always has a good point to make, especially if he thinks I’m being unsympathetic towards some characters), but I don’t like to make outlines per chapter then just fill in the blanks.
CIR: What messages do you hope your readers will get out of this book?
BAUTISTA-YAO: A reader told me that the entire book felt like love advice! I did not set out to give love advice while writing it. All I wanted was to tell a fun love story. But the message I want my readers to take away from it is to be strong, to be true to yourself, and to fight for what you believe in. And of course, to know in your heart that love trumps all.
CIR: There are two main characters in this story. Can you tell us about Katie?
BAUTISTA-YAO: I love Katie. She’s opinionated, knows what she wants, yet cares very deeply about the people in her life and the things that are important to her. When she wants something, she goes for it. The only thing that rattles her is when she finds out that her friendship with Chris isn’t what she thought it was—and of course that causes all sorts of delicious complications in the story.