Timidly (yes we can be quite timid) and praying that she will say “Yes”, we wrote the author to ask whether it would be okay if we interview her about her book.
Thankfully, Rosita answered our request with a “Yes”and so we sent her some questions. She graciously answered said questions and we are publishing the interview below.
What encouraged you to write An Igorot’s Journey?
To learn more about my roots, country, village, tribe, and myself.
For people who have not yet read the book, can you give us an idea (or a brief summary) of what the book is about?
The book is about my life growing up as a little girl in a remote Igorot village, the jungle, in different gold mining communities and eventually about my adjustment to life in Manila before eventually moving to the United States.
What sacrifices, if any, did you make in order to write your book?
Writing the book became my complete focus, so I had to set aside other projects and activities.
What challenges did you encounter while writing the book? How did you solve them?
Sometimes I got stuck on some of my memories that were not so clear, but important, so I had to do research by asking my elders about it or others who might have that knowledge. I sometimes had writer’s block and sometimes felt like giving up, but my dream and desire kept lifting me up to finish the book.
What was it like revisiting the past and putting them in paper and ink?
I had mixed emotions when writing the book: it was amazing to think back and rediscover where I came from.
What was it like when you finally got your first copy of the book?
I was stunned and it was a good feeling that I had accomplished my dream. At the same time, I felt like I had lost control of the book and that now it has a life of its own, to do what it does and go where it goes.
I read a positive review of your book in Grace’s blog, what’s the feedback so far among other people, particularly kailiyans, who read it?
The people who have read my book have all been very supportive and some have thanked me for writing it and sharing my experience with the world.
What tips and/or advice would you give to other Igorots who would like to follow your footsteps, i.e., write and publish their own stories?
When writing your own story, feel free. Be honest and true as you can , and don’t be afraid to write everything you remember. Then, when you’re editing the book, you can decide what to take out.
What is the best way of buying your book? Through the internet? Do you have outlets/distribution centers?
Right now the best way to purchase the book is through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online bookstores. I also have copies of the book if people in the Philippines would like to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Eventually, I hope I can find a distributor in the Philippines.
If you were to write the book all over again, what would you do differently?
I would write more about nature in the villages and about how much of what I knew as a child is being lost and could become extinct.
What would you consider to be the most satisfying experience as you were going through this process of writing the book and getting it published?
The most satisfying experience for me was just the process of trying to clearly remember the past, to see how I could learn from it and also I felt good that I felt free to write it all down.
Are there persons you would like to thank for helping you because you had to write?
Yes, I have thanked those people on page 8 of my book in the “Acknowledgements” section.
[Added by Bill from the book: I would like to thank my family and friends forl all their help through the years. Thank you to everyone in the Windward Community College Writing Retreat for your ongoing goodwill and encouragement. I’d especially like to thank Carla Nunez who was able to read and type my handwritten manuscript and Shezarrah Keane who was the first to read my book in its entirety. I am very grateful to Ann Miller and Terri Knight who helped me so much with their proofreading and advice. And, to you, my love, Charlie, for all your help from the first page to the last.]
Do you have any favorite authors?
I think my idea is a little different about who would be my favorite author. Really, it is my elders–my father and mother and my grandparents–who have told me wonderful stories, but they just weren’t written down. Maybe my book helps a little to preserve some of those stories.
Where are you from in the Cordilleras?
I grew up in Dandanac Besao, Mountain Province
Where are you based now and what are you doing?
I am currently based in Oahu, Hawaii and write now I am working on collecting stories my father has been telling me and trying to maybe write them as a collection of his stories from an even earlier time.
In a succeeding post, we will share with you our short review of the book as well as the feedback of others who read it.
INFO SOURCE/PHOTO CREDIT: Rosita Pinkerton.