Meeting Ms. Rica Bolipata Santos

Ms. Rica Bolipata Santos, Philippine Star columnist and award-winning writer and author of the book Love, Desire, Children, etc. is the editor of my book Mom’s A Stewardess. I was a bit intimidated before I met her personally because as I read more about her, the more I felt that she was so stellar. =)

She was feeling sick the first time we met at Pancake House. She pushed through with the meeting just the same as we had already postponed it once before as mommy duty called. As soon as we met, she started asking me one question after another: “What’s your background? How did this book start? How long did it take you to write this?” She sounded genuinely curious and although she did ask several questions, I didn’t feel like I was under investigation.

All throughout the meeting, I was thinking of how this editing thing would go. Would I still recognize what I had written when she was done with it? I relaxed a bit after she pointed out that we had the same kind of planner (what is it about people who like to write and paper products?) and that’s when I asked about what her editing style was. I started to phrase my question when she ended it for me by saying: “You mean, am I brutal?”

I stopped and kept quiet after she blurted the words out and then heaved a sigh of relief when she continued: “No. I was such a closet writer so I know how it feels.”

With those words, I rested easy. She commented about some parts of my manuscript as she skimmed through it. She thought I was organized and added: “It must be the MBA in you.” She thought I was neat, the way my manuscript was presented and laid out and all. (Thanks to husband dearest.) Then she added: “For me, the computer is a typewriter.”

We swapped stories about getting a book published. I aired my concern about being a first-time book author and how I needed all the help I could get. Then I added that people don’t know me unlike writers who may already be popular and who already have a following for whatever it is that they may write. Ms. Rica thought popularity and good writing didn’t always go together and that I should aspire more for the latter.

I thought it was nice to have finally met Ms. Rica and to have the privilege of working with her. After that first meeting, I promptly went out and got a copy of her book Love, Desire, Children, etc., read it, and gulped. I became an instant fan and was intimidated again. I was in for the longest month of my life — waiting for my edited manuscript to come back from an ex-closet writer who was now one brilliant literary star.

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