First things first.
My first Six de los Reyes book was Just for the Record. My first Jay E. Tria book was Songs of Our Breakup. I still remember reading both books and thinking “Damn, I wish I wrote that.” And if you told me two years ago that I will help create a universe where Six and Jay’s characters existed and interacted with mine, I’d say “You’re crazy.”
But we are a crazy bunch, I found out.
Six told a breezy origin story for Summer Crush in the book’s notes, so I’ll let you read that instead (*wink, wink* Get the book, I mean. *wink,wink*). Long story short, this collaboration took almost a year to finish. Of course we had to cram our way to release day because ~gasp!~ I realized all three of us worked well under pressure, but it still took us that much time to figure things out.
We organized a music festival, is the easiest way to explain things.
Because we really did. After all, Summer Crush is a music festival, and what better way to go around it than “organize” it. We set a date. We mapped out artist schedules, sound check schedules. We had a diagram of how the beach would look like–where the stages are set, where the resorts and the artist tents are, what kinds of booths are there, what kinds of products would be sponsoring. We even plotted portalets, I shit you not! We decided on color schemes, artist lineups, setlists… everything. It was CRAZY fun.
In fact, I think we had a little too much fun that after getting sidetracked with “organizing” the event, we stayed in a limbo of “What the hell are our stories going to be about?” It was a funny problem, one a trip to the beach easily solved.
Now I love the beach. I love how tranquil it makes me feel, how beautiful it is to look at. But my skin is a total bitch, so I tend to just admire the beach from afar most of the time. (I haven’t told Six and Jay this, but I developed a bad rash after that La Union trip. Must’ve been from sitting on the sand way too long. Now they know. :P) Going to the beach was an idea we initially ignored (sorry, Jay, labyu!) but are now extremely grateful for. And it’s not just because we enjoyed having rice, rice, and rice for breakfast, or because we now have a lot of pretty beach pictures for bookstagrams.
What happened in La Union was like a mini writer’s retreat. We discovered things about the place, about ourselves and each other that swam their way into our paragraphs and made the writing experience so much more personal. So personal, in fact, that I shed tears writing the last few sentences of my manuscript. Because it felt like coming home after the end of a really fun trip when you know you’ll still be seeing the people you spent that time with, but the actual time you spent together will only really be remembered in snippets: photographs, anecdotes, hashtags (#walangCAMARADERIE!), inside jokes, lines in fiction.
Years from now, I’m going to look at Summer Crush and think, “Man, this was such a fun book to write.” <3
The Summer Crush Edition
- Collaborative work is easy and NOT at the same time. It’s easy because you can rely on your teammates to accomplish certain things or remind you about whatever you need to be reminded of when you’re up to your neck with work. It’s easy especially when you all love Google Drive and spreadsheets. It’s easy when you’re a fan of each other’s work and share the same passion for talking about your characters as though they were your friends. 😀 It’s not easy when you’re all passive aggressive shits who will lowkey tweet something when you disagree on a ~thing. Not saying that happened, but Jay did get sad when we didn’t buy her taho. And I got *offended* when Six and Jay decided on heat levels while having sangria. HAHA. NOT.No, but seriously, I am so #blessed to have been given the opportunity to work with these two. We may have egos (who doesn’t?) but I never really felt like anyone was trying to one-up anyone. We were a real team, and I loved that. I love you, girls. <3 <3 <3 (But you already know that.)
- Don’t be afraid of change. I initially had a very different idea for my Summer Crush story, but I rehashed it over and over through the course of all our discussions and ended up with Almost There. Even when I finished the first draft, I had to change it up a little more because our editor (Hi Ines, thank you so much!) and my teammates felt like something was lacking. It gets frustrating and stressful, of course, especially if you’re trying to beat a deadline, but you have to keep telling yourself that this is for the best. Your writing peers will always tell you that your work is yours and you have all the right in the world to refuse to accept comments/criticism, but I’ve also always found that accepting them made my writing better, so.
- The answer is always YES. I’m talking about possibilities here, because many times, we found ourselves asking “Can this be done?” or “Do you think we can accomplish this?” Sometimes, things can seem a little daunting but I really think that if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to achieve it. Summer Crush is our proof. I’m sure you’ll have your own too–if you don’t already have one.
- Flotsam and Jetsam has the best champorado. I’m still hankering for champorado. *CRIES*
If you haven’t gotten a copy of Summer Crush yet, please do. We promise a fun, breezy read that’s pretty appropriate for the season. If you loved Rhys and Isaiah (and would like to meet Arabella), Miki and Ana (and Trainman), and Yihwan and Fi and Gabriel (and East Genesis Project), Summer Crush might just be the music festival of your dreams. It is, for us. ^_^
Shoutout to Miles for our beautiful neon cover. <3 You so awesome.
Add the book on Goodreads as well, and please leave us a rating/review when you’re done reading? Thank you!
Tweeting about Summer Crush? The official hashtag is #SummerCrush! (But you are very welcome to include the #romanceclass hashtag too!)