Over a lovely breakfast at La Mere Poulard, I had a chat with F/F romance author Brigitte Bautista. We talked about how outlining made her a better, more productive writer, why writing fiction is kind of like programming (her day job), and her new book You, Me, U.S. (out now on Amazon KDP Unlimited, also available as a paperback on April Feels Day).
When she’s not chained to a desk writing software code, Brigitte Bautista writes lesbian fiction and poetry. She participated in Anvil Publishing’s very own #SparkNA writing workshop, where her first book baby, Don’t Tell My Mother, was born.
Brigitte is a huge sports freak and considers crying over sports strangely therapeutic. She has never met a doughnut she did not like and atones for the overeating by taking long walks or riding her bike around the city
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Ansela:Welcome to Adulting for Authors. This is episode number 10. I’m your host Ansela Corsino, and I am a romance author. Adulting for Authors is a podcast about productivity. Productivity: you call it binge reading, I call it research.
In today’s episode, I interview Brigitte Bautista. She is an author of f/f romance books— that’s female/female. They are very adorable. I completely loved her first book Don’t Tell My Mother. It was funny. It was sweet. It was romantic and exciting and really hot.
And I generally don’t read FF romances, but her book was just … it was just wonderful. And I’m sure this second one —her latest book titled You, Me, U.S. — is going to be just as great. If not better. Because that’s how it is when you’re a writer: you get better with every new book right? Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading it. It’s on my TBR list.
Brigitte and I met up at this really lovely French place called La Mere Poulard. Apparently it roughly translates to “the mother hen”. I think. Anyway, they serve these really adorable fluffy omelets which we all ordered. We had a couple of other people along with us. And it’s a really nice place. It’s quiet in the morning, if you’re in the mood for a quiet breakfast. It got really busy as soon as lunch rolled in. We did manage to have our chat and I hope you enjoy listening to it.
Now before we move on to the interview, I will read the blurb of You, Me, U.S.
Best friends Jo and Liza are as opposite as night and day. Sex worker Jo swears by the worry-free, one-day-at-a-time dance through life. Salesclerk Liza has big plans for her family’s future, and there is nothing bigger than a one-way trip to the U.S. But an almost-kiss, a sex dare, and news of Liza’s engagement to her American boyfriend unveil feelings Jo and Liza never thought they had. Deciding between staying together and drifting apart puts Liza’s best-laid plans and Jo’s laidback life in jeopardy. When love clashes with lifelong ambitions and family expectations, someone has to give in. Question is: who?
And now here is my interview with Brigitte Bautista.
Ansela: Hello, Brij.
Brigitte Bautista: Hello, Ansela. Thanks for having me on Adulting for Authors.
A: Yes. Thank you for coming. We’re here at La Mere Poulard. I hope I’m saying that right.
A: Yeah, we’re at La Mere Poulard in SM Aura. I’m sitting with Brij Bautista. Author of the fabulous Don’t Tell My Mother. And I’m here to talk to Brij about productivity.
A: Please tell us something about yourself.
BB: Hello, I’m Brigitte Bautista. I’m a #RomanceClass author. So when I’m not chained to a desk writing software code, I write romance fiction. I write FF mostly. Like, 100% of the time.
A: Of course.
BB: My first book — Don’t Tell My Mother— I published that during the Spark NA writing workshop held by Anvil Publishing and mentored by Mina V. Esguerra. The book has since gone to land on National Bookstore’s bestseller list.
A: Yes, I know. We saw!
BB: Yeah. So more recently I worked with #RomanceClass authors to publish the anthology Start Here: Short Stories of First Encounters. I served as co-editor with Ronald Lim for that. I also contributed a short story to the anthology.
A:What was the title of the short story?
BB: “Lemon Drop Friday”
A: Yes! It was so cute.
BB: Thank you!
A: I first listened to an excerpt during … I think it was Feels So Prom?
BB: Yeah, that was Feels So Prom.
A: And she has a new book coming out.
BB: I’m going to release my second novel, You, Me, U.S. on April 15. That’s the digital release. And then —fingers crossed, everything goes well —I can bring print copies on April Feels Day on April 27.
A: Yeah, that’s at the Loft, right? At Ortigas?
BB: Yes at The Loft.
So if you’re… if you wanna get print copies of Brij’s new book — You, Me, U.S...
A: …they will be available. Yeah they will. I have faith.
BB : You have faith in the universe.
A: The annual April Feels Day.
A: On April 27.
BB: So that will be a party!
A: Yes, I know!
A: So what did you have? We had breakfast. Sort of. I guess it was breakfast, right? ‘Cause it’s not noon yet?
BB: So I had puff omelette. You guys had the savory type. I had caramelized apples with my puff omelette.
A: How was it?
BB: Pretty good. It’s my first time here.
A: I had the one with potatoes and bacon. Because I figured that would make it breakfast. So I got one with bacon.
BB: We missed rice. We didn’t have rice with our omelette.
A: Probably later. They have risotto here.
BB: Later na lang.
A: Yeah. I like this place because it’s quiet. I think they have more people in the evening. But it’s morning now so it’s mostly just us.
A: I actually didn’t know that you worked as a programmer. I had no idea.
A: Hello, fellow STEM girl!
A: I have to ask … what kind of technology software do you work with? What do you develop?
BB: I’m a COBOL programmer.
BB: So we’re rare Pokemons. We’re dinosaurs.
A: You mean people are still using COBOL now?
BB: Yes. Because they use COBOL for mostly for like high-volume transactions like banks, financial institutions. They use COBOL because it’s more accommodating of, yung nga, higher volume transactions and it’s hard to migrate that many … that much data into the newer technologies. So we’re still in demand for, like, a good 20 years. I’m still gonna be relevant for a good 10 to 20 years. After that I’m going to retire and just be my girlfriend’s wife.
BB: My lawyer girlfriend’s wife.
A: That’s the dream.
A: It’s so weird ‘cause, like, in school I did take up computer science in school. I don’t think we actually took COBOL but we did take it up in history. That’s why I’m really surprised.
A: Because normally a lot of languages… they get obsolete.
BB: Uh huh.
A: I’m sorry we’re talking about… We’re not talking about writing anymore.
BB: Adulting for programmers!
A: Yes. Maybe that could be another thing. I dunno.
A: You know, this is important. Because you have a regular — what’s that — a nine to five job?
A: So how do you balance the writing and your programming.
BB: When I’m working on a project, I really carve time to write. So either … it depends on my current situation. Sometimes I assign writing time early in the morning before I get the work. And sometimes it makes sense to, like, have an hour in the evening before I sleep. Just forming that habit every day. Showing up whether on the schedule that you impose on yourself.
A: Do you think about your current work in progress while you’re at your day job?
BB: Yeah! Sometimes I write — sorry. Sometimes I write on my day job because they don’t pay me enough to be overly serious at my job so… I think I made most of Don’t Tell My Mother …
BB: Please don’t tell my employer. Don’t tell my employer, but I know I did most of Don’t Tell My Mother on company time.
A: Well, you’re still employed so you seem to be doing a good job.
A: Good job.
A: I think it’s a writer thing that no matter what we’re doing …
A: We’re sometimes still thinking of our WIP. So that happens.
BB:That happens that happens to me too. When I’m working on a project, I think about it all the time just… The writing time, obviously, the writing time that I carve or that I schedule— it’s more for the manual work like typing. Typing stuff. Putting words in. But the brainstorming, the scene storm, conceptualizing dialogue— it happens all the time.
A: All the time.
A: Like, when you’re trying to sleep?
BB: And then you wake up and, like, “Come on, let me sleep! That scene can wait.”
A: Say you’re trying to sleep and you think of something that you feel that you have to write down. What do you … what is the first thing you reach for?
BB: Paper. And pen. It doesn’t matter. Well, I always have a notebook naman in my bag, but sometimes it can’t wait. So I just use backs of receipts, tissue paper. I’ve used tissue paper, scratch paper — anything to write. And sometimes my phone but I don’t … it doesn’t work for me … typing on the phone. ‘Cause when I write, that’s when, like, my mind and my hand are more in sync so…
- Coming soon!
Music is “Lit” from Unminus.