“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
~ Toni Morrison
This quote inspired me to write multicultural romance novels with Filipino heroes and heroines. Before I wrote my first novel Boracay Vows in 2016, I read around 400 books a year, ninety percent of which are romance. I can count on one hand the number of interracial romance books which have a Filipina as the main character paired with an American hero. Rainne Mendoza’s first book Fabolous, with a Filipina heroine and a Japanese-American hero, and Tif Marcelo’s multicultural romance series Journey to the Heart encouraged me to contribute my own work to the growth of this small section of the fiction sub-genre.
They always say to write what you know and since I am a Filipina married to an American, my first series Carpe Diem Chronicles features three Filipina friends falling in love with three American brothers. To further differentiate my work from most romance authors, my full-length novels are set internationally. The Philippines’ greatest asset is its people. We are global citizens. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place with no Filipinos. I also firmly believe that it’s possible to find love anywhere in the world. I want my work to reflect this reality.
Book 1 Boracay Vows is set in one of the most popular islands in the Philippines and has as its main characters a career-minded, beach-hating woman named Krista Lopez who becomes romantically involved with her Irish-American boss Blake Ryan. Book 2 Singapore Fling will have French-Filipina Maddie Duvall matching wits with disciplined and too-used-to-command Air Force officer Aidan Ryan. Book 3, Samui Heat features the last Ryan brother Craig, a chef who is grieving for his dead former girlfriend. There he meets daredevil Angela Lim, who will help him heal and put love back into his cooking.
Central to my books are close family ties, lifelong friendships, mouthwatering food, and respect for local customs and traditions. Written in English, the novels will also celebrate each country’s native languages. Every chapter of Boracay Vows begins with a Filipino word, its pronunciation and meaning. Singapore Fling will have a combination of Singlish, Malay, and Chinese words. Common Thai words and phrases will be the epigraphs for Samui Heat. I’ve lived in all these countries and enjoyed sharing their rich culture.
Romancelandia is finally taking notice of us writers of color and of ensuring inclusion and diversity, particularly in contemporary romance. I hope this continues because for me, this is not a trend. It is my reality. Even if another cause becomes the next “it” thing, I will continue to write about us. Because nobody else will tell our stories better.
To fulfill one vow, she has to break another
Krista Lopez has five days to fulfill her Turning-Thirty Vow—the promise to do something life-changing in celebration of this milestone birthday. Her plan: give in to her attraction to her boss Mr. Blake Ryan.
Krista’s Irish-American hunk of a boss is conveniently vacationing in the same posh resort in Boracay. When he proposes a one-week affair while they’re on vacation, she accepts. It’s only a fling, after all. Krista will not fall for an American. She can’t. She promised her mother.
Promises are made to be broken
Krista and Blake hope what happens in Boracay stays in Boracay. They want to keep their affair a secret from their colleagues, from her family. But, secrets have a way of coming out. When they’re found out, will Krista and Blake end their affair or will they say Carpe Diem to the promise of a love of a lifetime?
BORACAY VOWS is the first book in the fun and sexy multicultural contemporary romance series Carpe Diem Chronicles.
Love takes you to unexpected places
Krista Lopez, a Filipina who was not a fan of the beach until her thirtieth birthday, has traveled from the white sands of Boracay Island to the bright lights of New York City for love. Once again out of her element, Krista embraces Carpe diem as a motto. With her boyfriend by her side, she has confidence to take on The Big Apple and the prospect of …
Meeting the Parents
Blake Ryan won the approval of his girlfriend’s conservative family when they met in the Philippines. Now, he’s eager to introduce the woman he loves to his Irish-American clan. To share his past with her as he prepares to ask her to be part of his future. But an urgent call in the middle of the night reminds him that things can change …
In a New York Minute
A terrible crime and his family’s mixed reception of Krista conspire to derail their plans for a stress-free vacation. Will the circumstances cool Krista and Blake’s romance? Or will they seize the day and strengthen their bond?
With a poet for a grandfather, a short-story writer/teacher for a mother, and a voracious reader for a father, Maida’s new career as a writer is a natural fit.
Spouse to a USAF Veteran and mother to a kid who loves Texas and Super Mario, Maida writes multicultural contemporary romances set all over the world. At some point in her life, Maida has lived and worked in the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States so it’s not surprising those are favorite locations for her novels.
Maida studied several languages and can speak English, Filipino, Indonesian, French, and Thai in various degrees of fluency.
When not writing or reading, Maida cooks the dishes she features in her books, photographs other people’s front yards during her morning walk, and watches Food Network, Golf Channel, and Game of Thrones on TV.
What are some books from your country that you feel are underrated? How can we as bloggers help POC writers?