Fil-Am writer to release second novel in trilogy
SAN FRANCISCO—Novelist and journalist, Janice De Jesus started writing her first novel, Not Just Another Pretty Face, part of a trilogy, in 2005 and published it in 2015 on Amazon’s Create Space.
The trilogy tells the tale of a princess raised in her homeland and whisked away to the United States for 15 years before she makes her way back home to act as the rightful heir of her country. The story takes a turn, identities are revealed, love triangles are formed, and the future of a country is left unknown.
“The idea of the trilogy actually came about just more than a year ago as I was polishing the first book,” said De Jesus. “By the time the first book was released last year, the writing of the second book, Pretty As a Picture was nearly completed.”
Currently working on her third novel to be released by the end of the year, De Jesus continues to write and edit while working as a contributing correspondent for the Contra Costa Times.
“I have always been a reader, practically since the time I could talk. Growing up, I was shy and awkward so my refuge was reading. I was never a talker and my strength was reading and writing,” said De Jesus of her early start to a fulfilling lifetime of writing.
Born in Portsmith, Virginia, De Jesus moved to Florida, Louisiana and the Philippines before settling down in the San Francisco Bay Area. Finishing high school and earning her bachelor of arts in communications in the Philippines, she attended Mills College for her master’s degree in fine arts with an emphasis in creative writing.
“I wrote everywhere as a child. I wrote on the walls and in my mother’s cookbook– anywhere I could. I felt a sense of connection when I put pen to paper,” De Jesus recalls. “I love the smell of paper, I love words and I love stories. I fully immersed myself, body and soul, into my work.”
Growing up, De Jesus wanted to be a writer. She had a strong ambition to be a novelist with hopes of entertaining people with stories. But reality set in—a not-so-exciting reality of having to pay bills and student loans. She became a journalist, the next best thing, to prove to herself and others that she could make a living as a writer.
While working as a journalist, she continued writing novels and stories. She was always mesmerized by her characters first and then focused on the plot. Her favorite was Nancy Drew as she loved mysteries, but something was missing in her favorite childhood stories—the presence of Filipino American characters.
“The Filipino community is actually one of the reasons I became a writer and journalist. I was never surrounded by a large number of Filipino Americans growing up and we weren’t represented much in the media or in the stories I loved so much,” explains De Jesus.
“There were some Asian characters in some works, but blended with other Asian ethnicities—so we did not have a strong presence which led me to not knowing my culture all that well.”
She yearned to create characters just like her. In her trilogy, she wanted to highlight her culture and heritage, which is evident with the main character being Filipino “royalty”—a tribute to her Fil-Am roots.
In her career as a journalist she has won several awards for her work. While writing her trilogy for over ten years now, she lets her creative juices flow from project to project. She has written and edited two other novels, which are waiting to be published.
Her career and creative goals include finishing up her trilogy, publishing her other two books, and completing a book of short stories about yoga for living and loving on and off the yoga mat. She also works as a creative writing instructor. To follow De Jesus and her work, please visit her website: http://janicedejesusauthor.blogspot.com
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