Hi Eija! Could you please introduce yourself?
Hello! My name is Eija, and I’m a Canadian writer. I was born in the Philippines, but I’ve been living in Canada for basically all my life. My name might sound strange, but it means ‘little girl’ which is fitting because I’m a child at heart. I enjoy playing video games, reading comics and graphic novels, and doing arts and crafts.
How old were you when you began writing? Do you have a story about that to share with us?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Even if I didn’t put the idea down on paper, my mind was over-imaginative, and I loved creating stories in my head. I remember the idea of actually making a career out of writing came about when I was in the sixth grade. I was talking to my teacher about what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told her that I wanted to be a teacher and write on the side, but her eyes lit up and she grinned, and she said “You’d be an excellent writer. That’s exactly what you should be.” That was the beginning of the realization that writing is what I want to make out of my life.
Have you always dreamed of writing a novel? What is your first memory about one of your novels or pieces of writing?
Oh gosh, yes! I’ve been wishing I could complete a novel for years. I had a tendency to write in age that I was in at the time, so when I was younger, I would write about elementary school and then high school, and I had such a strong need to make the world seem realistic that I used current slang and references. It was very cringe-worthy reading it years later. One of the earliest things I tried to write, if I can remember the plot, was about a pre-teen boy who had a girl best friend, and he wanted to get in with the popular crowd at school and basically changed his whole personality. Long story short, it was a generic boy falls for wrong girl and realizes his best friend was the one for him all this time. Have I gotten more creative since then? Gosh I hope so.
Could you please talk with us about Meet Me Halfway: how is the idea born? What inspired you?
The idea was prompted to me by a friend I met on Tumblr. It was original just supposed to be something short and cute—how two different people meet up in an unlikely situation, but as I began to write out outlines and brainstorm, it slowly took on a mind of its own and became a full blown novel. Music was actually a very strong influence as I wrote this particular novel. There were scenes that were written to certain songs as I hoped to capture the feeling I experienced while listening. For example, there’s a scene where Lys and Vivian are ice skating, and during the writing of that scene, I was listening to an instrumental violin rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You.
How did you pick Meet Me Halfway as a title?
I’d first like to say I’m a terribly title picker. I usually have most if not all of my stories labelled as “Untitled” until I’ve completed them, and if I do find a title before completing the work, there’s a good chance I haven’t quite figured out how to write the story. As for “Meet Me Halfway,” it’s very much depictive of the class struggle between both Lys and James. They have to give a little and let things slide, and most importantly, they have to communicate. The title is very much finding the middle ground between these two ladies and knowing how to go on from there.
You chose to depict a love story between two women from very different social backgrounds. Why this choice? What was the message you wanted to share?
The purpose of having Lys and Vivian grow up in different social circles and have different backgrounds is to highlight the obstacles they overcome separately and together. Lys, living from paycheque to paycheque, experiences a vulnerability of being with someone of Vivian’s wealth, and Vivian isn’t used to Lys’s unstructured lifestyle. Despite their differences that could very well drive them apart, they learn to get over it.
If you could compare yourself to one of your novel’s characters, which one would be the most similar to you and why?
Gosh, that’s a hard one. I don’t think there’s one specific character that is me entirely, but I think I relate best to Lys. Lys feels the pressure of both raising her son and having a good job and reaching for her goals, but reality brings her back down. I understand that pressure of what you want in the future versus what has to be done right now, even if it sucks.
As a fanfiction author, you already met a nice success on the Internet. In your opinion, why readers love so much your stories?
To be completely honest, I have no idea. I write what I want to read, and the fact that so many people also want to read that story too is overwhelming. When writing fanfiction, I try to make the characters believable in the world they’re in, whether it be the universe the show is portraying or a take of my own imaginings, and I try to express the emotion I’m feeling for these characters outward so that it reaches the readers. I get feedback that stories have made people laugh and cry and get angry, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to get across.
Your mother tongue is English and we are a French speaking publishing house. Were these differences between us caused you any trouble at a certain point? Is our way of working different from what you are used to in North America?
Not at all! Working with Reines de Coeur has been absolutely wonderful. They are very supportive and include me in the entire decision making process and keep my updated on their progress. I’m blessed that this was my first experience with a publishing house, and an extremely welcoming one at that.
Do you have other novel projects?
In terms of novels, I’ve been trying, rather unsuccessfully, at this story that’s been ruminating in my head since I was sixteen. It’s a bit complicated to explain, but it takes on a supernatural/fantastical aspect where the main character is a fallen angel who fell from grace because she fell in love. It revolves around her life as a mortal as she tries to find the reason for her fall and whether she wants to get her wings back. It’s still very much in the brainstorming aspect of it, but because of a writing group I participate in, I’m sporadically writing down scenes of the story. Hopefully that gets completed in the foreseeable future.
Anything to add? A word to your readers?
To anyone reading my story, thank you for joining me on this ride! I really appreciate you taking a chance on my work, and I really hope you enjoy it! This one is for SWEN.