December 20, 2018 – ENLIGHTENMENT BLOG TOUR
Title: Enlightment, Book One of The Bathala Series
Author: Reno Ursal
Publication Date: March 14, 2019
Imprint: Pacific Boulevard Books
Shout out to YA Bound Book Tours for setting up my December 2018 blog tour!
Reno Ursal – Author Interview
1. Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Enlightenment, Book One of the Bathala Series?
Enlightenment tells a story from the first-person perspectives of Dorothy Dizon and Adrian Rosario. Dorothy is inspired by various different people in my life, the most significant being my niece who was raised in America after immigrating from the Philippines at a young age. Her biological father was not in her life and she was raised by loving grandparents and her brothers and sisters in LA and Vegas.
In this story, Dorothy is humble and aware of self-perceived faults in what some may consider an impressive resume of achievements for an eighteen year-old. She is Filipino American through and through – she’s aware of her cultural heritage, but there is a disconnect in language and understanding of her homeland’s history.
Adrian is the epitome of an overconfident being who underestimates the human condition. He physically looks like a young Filipino, but he is a warrior member of a long-lasting secret society in the Philippines. Without being a spoiler, his connection with Dorothy tests his beliefs and makes him question the reason he was sent to Vegas in the first place.
Urduja is a woman warrior of the ancient islands. Her inclusion in Enlightenment is a teaser that leaves more questions than answers in relation to the story of Dorothy and Adrian. I can reveal that readers can expect a prequel novel dedicated to Urduja that will connect the dots with modern-day Dorothy Dizon. By far, Urduja is my favorite character in The Bathala Series!
2. Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?
The Bathala Series is magical realism using the obscure history of the Philippines and Southeast Asia. All the novels will take readers around the world in the quest to understand the unwritten history of the world. Book One: Enlightenment takes place in The United States.
We are currently editing Book Two of the Bathala Series which will primarily take place in modern-day Philippines. That’s really all I can say for now! There are questions in Enlightenment that will be addressed as the series moves along, so it’s my hope Book 2 will be released sooner than later.
And I’ve already spilled the beans on the Urduja prequel that will be released after Book 2. Perhaps I’ve said too much!
3. How long would you say it takes you to write a book?
It took me over 5 years until Enlightenment was published. Having said that, every book has it’s own background story and timeline. I started writing Enlightenment in 2009 and the manuscript became 600 pages over the years. The published novel ended up 250+ pages and it was difficult when scenes were cut out. I was resolved to trust my editors knowing they were cutting out words to make this a palatable young adult novel. The silver lining is I still have these scenes and perhaps I can incorporate them in later novels.
I don’t think you can write a novel without soliciting feedback from editors, alpha and beta readers. My beta readers were all high school students (addressed in acknowledgments at the back of the novel). High school students keep you humble. They tell you like it is without a filter! Without a doubt, I am blessed they critiqued my work. This feedback takes time to receive. It takes time to incorporate changes in a manuscript. A novel that stands the test of time takes time to write. Lots of time. And the amount of time varies depending on what’s going on in the author’s life.