I am proud to present today’s author on spotlight… Marian Tee. She’s a fellow Filipino who writes romance and is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.
I had no idea that she was a Filipino when I first read her books a couple of years ago. I fell in love the most with her Greek Billionaire Series and recently got attached to her Heart Racers. When I found out, I was hell bent on doing this interview. It makes me proud to know that a writer who’s very good at touching emotions through her craft is a fellow countrymen.
So who’s Marian Tee?
Marian Tee is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of steamy romantic comedies. She is Filipino-Chinese, has lived all her life in the Philippines, and is a frustrated mangaka. She is addicted to horror flicks, misses hip hop dancing, and loves all things Japanese.
She currently have 28 books published in Amazon and other major platforms.
If you’ve read her books, you probably know this already. So let’s get to know Marian Tee a little more…
Getting to Know Marian Tee a Little Deeper
All about being a writer …
- Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I discovered my love for writing around fourth or fifth grade, if I remember correctly. My friends and I had a notebook that we’d pass around and we’d write each of our character’s stories there. I had my first kiss in that notebook, haha! And my first breakup, too!
However, I only knew I wanted to write for a living when I was in my early twenties. It was that time I saw the chick lit books of Summit and PSICOM like Katrina Ramos Atienza’s Pink Shoes and Maya Calica’s Breakup Diaries.
You see, I thought here in the Philippines it was impossible for me to find a job as a writer or – more specifically – a romance author. Prior to those chick lit novellas, most of the romance novels published in PH were in Filipino, and I didn’t think I could write one as eloquently as I wanted to.
Anyway, seeing those books gave me hope and I haven’t stopped writing (and dreaming) since then.
- Who or what was your inspiration to write your first book?
My nonexistent love life (back then) of course! I was a first year student in CSB then and I’d spend most of my time in the computer lab writing my stories (Sorry, Professor!). That first completed manuscript of mine would eventually be published years later by PSICOM.
- I believe not many Filipino authors are into e-publishing, what encouraged you to go e-pubbing instead of going to publisher? Have you any doubts or regrets when you gave it a go?
After my book was published by PSICOM, I thought it would be smooth sailing after that. But nope. No one wanted my books. 😛 And I realized that the way I write doesn’t really jive well with what publishers seemed to like then. So I decided to write for an international audience.
I queried both agents and small press editors. I was lucky enough to have one YA paranormal romance published by an e-publisher based in Arizona and then after that I found myself an agent (which eventually didn’t work out). In 2012, my previous boss (I used to write articles for her) bought the rights to my works and I was so surprised when my books did well on Amazon. Mid 2013 I decided to self-publish and it’s been absolutely great since then.
If I have one regret, it’s that I spent so many years querying agents and editors alone. I wished I had tried self-publishing at the same time in those years.
- How did you feel when you made it to NYT and USA Today’s Best Selling author?
My first self-pubbed book made its debut with The Billionaire Bad Boys of Romance Bundle, a “boxed set” that include works from other authors. Some of them already made it to NYT, but there were also a few of us who had never hit a bestselling list. We were hoping to hit both lists at Week 1. We made it to USA Today but not NYT. I think all of us bawled our eyes out after that. Even though the boxed set made it to Barnes & Noble’s Top 10 overall and Amazon’s Top 20 overall, not hitting NYT still made us feel really bad. Back then, I honestly thought my book was a piece of sh*t because of that.
But…we didn’t give up. We dusted our asses off and worked harder in promoting the boxed set. Week 2 came and went and we found out we didn’t just hit USA Today (for the second consecutive week). We also found out we made it to two bestselling lists of New York Times, the ebook bestselling list AND the combined list for ebook and print. That means our boxed set outsold even books in print! That realization was what made everything really, really surreal. I think I was so stunned that I couldn’t even cry. 😀
- How do you write your novels? Do you like plan everything or just go with the flow?
Outline. Like hell. I’ve often tried doing it the other way around, plotting as I write but nope – at the end of the day, I’d just erase everything I typed because I hated it. So, I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that I can’t write without my precious outlines.
- Any particular habit that you do before and after writing a manuscript?
I’m what you’d call a binge writer. So, I’d rest for a few days then write like crazy (sometimes up to 18 or 20 hours in a day) then rest again. I’ve also discovered a need to read books when taking breaks from writing. I like to drink coffee and sometimes, I drastically need a playlist when working on a manuscript.
Whenever I finish a story, I’d be really pumped up and my adrenaline level would be so high that I’d need to go out and celebrate with my family. We either eat out or just go to a café or watch a movie. J
- Have you ever had a ‘writer’s block’? If so, what do you do when you get stuck in a scene?
No. Not really. I never lack for anything to write but there are times when I hate what I write so I end up deleting pages and pages of stories. When that happens, it’s usually because I’m physically or mentally tired. So what I do is rest, read a book or watch a movie. When I go back to my laptop, I’m all good.
- Do you have someone you look up to and wish you can have a collaborated book with his or her?
Too many to mention, but I was recently in a boxed set with the lovely Sara Fawkes and that was pretty awesome. 😀 It’s not a collaboration per se but still. I also recently read the Hitman series of Jessica Clare (which I totally love) and I get to be a part of another series with her so that’s awesome, too.
But for future projects, I’d really love to be in a boxed set with Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lynne Graham, Sharon Kendrick, Nalini Singh, and Judith McNaught.
- If you can marry any of your heroes, who would you pick?
Paranormal – it would have to be Luka of Suit and Fangs – a really intelligent and aloof vampire-like prince. I kinda like my guys snobbish hehe.
Contemporary – It would have to be Damen Leventis of my Greek Billionaire serials because I grew up reading about, well, Greek billionaires. 😀 Oh, and Yuki Himura from Drawn – waaaah! He’s my first love (among all my book heroes). He’s the embodiment of all my favorite bishounen in manga!
- 10. What advice would you give to aspiring writers that you would like to have known before you went e-publishing?
Don’t undervalue your work. EVER.
OFF THE GRID
- What’s your favorite food, something that you won’t get tired of eating?
Crabstick / kani salad and salmon sashimi. (I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!)
- I know we don’t have much option here in the Philippines but what is your favorite season? Or the season you wish we have?
WINTER. I like dressing in layers, which I can only get away with in Baguio (summer capital of PH) or abroad. But here in the Philippines, I love it when it rains – I write better when I rain and especially when I’ve a cup of coffee to enjoy while at it.
- Do you like travelling? Any dream destination that you are yet to go to?
I love to travel! If it wasn’t plain irresponsible, I’d gladly spend all my money on travelling haha. Oh, wait – I actually did that in the past! I was very young back then. =P
My real-life bucket list for traveling: Japan (for the anime and manga), Vienna (for the opera), Africa (for the safari), Scotland (for Nessie and Highlands), Monte Carlo (coz it’s Monte Carlo), London (so I can see the places I’ve read about in Regency romances), and Venice (coz I want to attend a masquerade!).
- Do you like movies? If yes, what sort of movies are you into?
HORROR. But I also love watching action and high-budget adventure movies. Those are the types of movies I love watching in cinemas. I love watching romantic movies, too, but not in cinemas haha.
- What is the most mistaken (wrong) impression people usually have about you?
Back when I was in college, everyone thought I was, err, a bad girl. I don’t think there’s any other word for it haha. Because I always came to school late and I was always sleepy – most thought it was because I was always out partying and had lots of vices.
The truth is, I’ve never smoked and never will. I don’t drink – never did except for a sip of beer when I was twelve. I don’t even drink champagne or wine). My greatest vice would probably be eating high-cholesterol food haha. And as for always being sleepy in class – it was only because I hate waking up early and I hate going to school even more.
Nothing against those who drink or smoke, but I just really feel I already eat too much high-cholesterol food to further shorten my lifespan with other vices. 😀 It’s my plan to be alive and kicking even when I’m a hundred years old. =D
- For Filipino-Chinese, what made you fall in love with all things Japanese?
Once upon a time, there was an anime called Fushigi Yuugi or Curious Play. I loved it so much I self-studied Japanese – I mastered N4 of Nihongo in one week. I took a mock test online and passed the test. I also hired a private tutor (native Japanese speakers) also passed their tests, too. They couldn’t believe how fast I mastered the basics of Japanese. So, you know, that means something, right? Surely it’s destiny at work? Fate’s totally saying I’m going to be Japanese in my next life! =D
- Could you share one thing about you that not many people know about?
That I pray a lot. And that I’m a HUGE crybaby.
- What is your favorite quote or saying? Why?
Give a man a fish; you have fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.
It’s very hard for me to say NO to people or to refuse them my help. But I’ve gradually come to realize that I’m only making it worse for others and making it more difficult for them to succeed on their own if I keep saying ‘yes’.
- If you were not a writer, what would you be?
An interpreter! 😀
THE LATEST FROM MARIAN TEE
The Art of Wedding A Greek Billionaire
Once upon a time, there was an ordinary girl who grew up listening to bedtime stories where there were no knights in shining armor or Prince Charming. Instead, it had Greek billionaires and this little girl dreamt she’d one day have Her Own Greek Billionaire to live happily ever after with.
When this little girl grew up, she realized that not all fairytale weddings came with happy-ever-after endings. Sometimes, those who speak the words “I love you” don’t really mean it, and those who can’t utter the words end up being the ones who truly mean them.
This is my story.
I mean your story.
I mean, Mairi Tanner’s story.
For more news about Marian Tee and her latest release, you can visit her on the following social media sites and her website:
That’s all folks, I hope you had a great time getting to know Marian Tee a little more, because I did!