Name: Justine Dimabayao
Where are you from: Philippines
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
I’ve always been artistically inclined. I am lucky to belong in a family that encourages my penchant for the arts. The Catholic school I was educated in also encouraged my talents for drawing and writing. I was raised bilingual (English is the second language), and by the time I was in elementary school, I was among the best to express myself in English. I also love drawing and singing, and I’m also pretty good at both.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m currently working on my first novel. It’s been in progress since I was about 13 years old. I’m glad I didn’t hurry too much to get it published; it’s gone through several revisions at this point, each better than the last.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve had a good grasp at writing with good grammar in both English and Filipino by elementary school, but I didn’t know I can make a career out of writing until I was 11 or 12, when my best friend encouraged me to write Harry Potter fan fiction.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I decided to make an original works of fiction.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your story?
“Born of the Earth” is actually part of a larger story telling the life of the blonde “bride” living with Count Dracula in his castle. It was initially my response to the whole Twilight craze, but when the pop culture obsession with vampire fiction died out on its own, it’s just simply my take on the vampire mythos and my expression for my love of vampire fiction.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t quite know how to describe my writing style. My writing style can shift slightly depending on the setting and/or the main character. However, I make it a point to strike a balance between simple and concise and elegant and elaborate.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I am fond of the version of vampirism where the new vampire literally rises from the grave, so I used that image in the story itself. “Born of the Earth” is also a reference to the main character’s name Aranka, which means “golden.” It comes from the same etymology (aurum) as the names Aurelius, Aurelio, and Aurelia.
Fiona: Is there a message in your story that you want readers to grasp?
Not really—it’s just a story meant to be enjoyed.
Fiona: How much of the story is realistic?
I highlighted the main character’s human life. I showed what it might be like to be a young woman who loves her family very much. We get to see how this affection is warped by her impending vampirism.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
The Harry Potter books and Stephen King’s Carrie have inspired and influenced me to become a writer.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m now reading The Hobbit. I totally missed out on reading Middle Earth novels, so I’m doing it now.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Developing the secondary characters are most challenging to me. It’s one of the reasons why my first novel is taking so long.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author is Stephen King. I’ve only read a few of his many books, but I can clearly see how intricate his writing styles are. I aspire to be as good.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I like to sing. I sing by myself at home and also sing in church.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love watching Adventure Time.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I really like dinuguan (a Philippine stew with blood as the main ingredient), papaitan (a soup with cow’s stomach), and eggplant parmigiana. My favorite color is green. I listen to a whole variety of music, but my favorite band is Flyleaf.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I might have become a health professional.