Hello, bookworms! So, I’m back, after a month-long unannounced hiatus. But worry not! I’m fine. In fact, I’m more than fine. Not only did I get to meet Jasmine Warga (a.k.a. one-out-of-four of the Beckminavidera Squad) over the weekend, I also got to hang out with some of my favorite people. Win win!
On Sunday, Warga, together with another beloved author Jennifer E. Smith, treated the Filipino reading community to an afternoon of lovely conversation, some Q&A, and signing in an event hosted by National Book Store. Warga talked about inspiration, wanting to be in conversation with her favorite books, who she wants to direct the My Heart and Other Holes adaptation, as well as which side she’s on in the Great Oreo War. Whether you missed it or were present but too busy fangirling to catch every single information the author said, here are sixteen things we learned about Jasmine Warga from #JenandJasinPH.
She is an Accidental Young Adult Author
And she feels incredibly lucky to have tumbled into it. The author explained, “for me, sort of the character chooses the story, and I can’t see My Heart and Other Black Holes working with any other-aged protagonist. She, [Aysel], always was sixteen.”
She Believes the Best Fiction is Emotionally Honest
“So, even if the things that have happened to my characters haven’t specifically happened to me,” Warga shared. “It’s either a feeling that I’ve wrestled with or a feeling that I’ve spent a lot of time meditating on to hopefully have stretched my empathy muscle enough that it seems true in the book.”
Which Also Means She Writes as a Way to Address Feelings or Questions She Had as a Teenager
…and still as an adult.
She Thinks of Herself Foremost as a Reader
And her writing as an offshoot of how much she loves reading.
‘The History of Love’ Reminded Her of Her Love of Reading and That She Wanted to Write and Be a Part of the Conversation…
Warga picked up Nicole Krauss’ work when she was seventeen, and that sort of set her down a path the same year she read Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Junot Diaz’s Drown.
…And Jandy Nelson Continually Inspires Her
As well as some of her friends in the YA community.
‘My Heart and Other Black Holes’ was Optioned For a Film
And when asked to “fan cast,” the author admitted, “I feel like I’m not that familiar with stars that would be like the appropriate age to play the characters.” Then, she went on, “but the thing that would be most important to me is that they’re good at the roles and, for Aysel, it would be really, really important for me that it’s a woman of color playing her.” Although, on the flip side…
She Has a Director and Screenwriter in Mind
They are Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), respectively.
She Didn’t Set Out to Write a Book About Mental Health
When she was writing her debut, she felt like she was just writing Aysel’s story and a story that grappled with all these big questions about what it means to live and what it means to die and what it means to be an unreliable narrator of your own life.
And The Most Emotionally Trying Scene She Has Ever Written Appears in Her Debut
It was during Aysel’s brother’s birthday party and it was heartwrenching because it drew home for her everything she knows about depression and captured everything she was attempting to convey about mental health.
‘Hard to Find’ by The National is the Number One Song She Associates with ‘Here We Are Now’
Especially since she listened to that song a lot on repeat while editing the book.
She was Asked by Becky Albertalli to Write a Freaks-and-Geeks Book with Her
“[Becky] wants me to write this book with her that’s like a freaks-and-geeks style thing. She always jokes that she was a geek in high school and I was a freak in high school. And so she wants to do this book, and she’s kind of mapped it out. But I don’t know if that will ever happen.” (Fingers crossed!)
She Does, However, Want to Collaborate with Someone For a Graphic or Illustrated Novel
She Had Been Surprised That People Think That the ‘My Heart and Other Black Holes’ Ending is Open-Ended
“That’s maybe the most definitive conclusion I ever see myself writing.”
She’s Team Adam Silvera, er, Golden Oreo
Well, okay, Warga is more a fruity candy girl (think Skittles). But if she had to take sides, she said she would totally be in Team Golden Oreo. (We love you, Becky Albertalli!)
And Lastly, She Just Turned in the Most Recent Draft of a Book She’s Currently Editing
Thank you, National Book Store, as always for cultivating such an active book culture for the Filipino readers! You guys are awesome! Shout out to JM @ Book Freak Revelations, Hazel @ Stay Bookish, and Inah @ The Bibliophile Confessions, to boot, for being the absolute best! I love y’all! Always. PS. Collagen. Wink, wink.
How was your weekend, beautiful human beings?