Today I welcome a very special guest to my site. She may describe herself as Persistent and Obdurate, but in my view she is exotic and enchanting and she hails from Philippines. A very warm welcome, in a typical English fashion
Josephine Litonjua in her own words : I’m a graduate of Agribusiness Management from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). Because of my love and interest in reading and writing, I took up Effective Business Communication Course from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and then eventually took a master’s degree on
Development Communication at the UP Open University (UPOU).
I learned how to read at the age of four and have been in love with it ever since.
Hello Junying, thank you so much for having me here. I’m kind of nervous as it’s the first time someone’s interviewed me. To the readers, hello! I hope my discourse won’t bore you to tears ^_^
In that case, I have to try a lot harder, to make our chat interesting, as I certainly would not like to be bored, nor my readers
Jho, I know you have a very interesting start in life. Can you please tell us something more about yourself?
My life is a classic Cinderella tale. Our mom died when I was 10 days old so my sister and I were reared by our maternal grandparents. Our brother on the other hand, was with our paternal grandparents until they died when I was 10.
After that, we lived with my aunt, my mom’s sister, and her family and for over two years. I had to endure and watch how my uncle beat almost everyone in the family. He would usually whip my cousins, especially this particular cousin of mine, until he was black and blue, using an un-insulated electrical wire, or with anything that he could get his hands on. Sometimes, if he was really into it, he became even more creative. He would place my cousin inside a sack and hang him, sometimes upside down, sometimes not. Sometimes he would be tied to the post in the middle of our living room, being whipped with the same wire relentlessly, simply because he refused to eat eggs.
I could bear poverty and hunger. Most times, we didn’t have food on the table but it was the abuse I couldn’t take and so I left when I was 13. It didn’t matter that I didn’t get beaten myself; the mental torture was way too much for me. I got the chance to live with my father and his second family at 14, only to run away at 16. My father considered himself a genius, and anybody who didn’t know Science and History and so on as he did was beneath him. I wasn’t really mad at him, but at that point I’d had enough of adults “taking care” of me, and I’d rather be alone and take care of myself.
I have no illusions of who I am. I may not know all the names of my muscles and bones in my body, nor do I know all the scientific names in this world. I may not know how to speak neither Spanish nor Latin—but I know my worth—and I came to a point where I simply refused to let others tell me otherwise or to hurt me, relatives or not.
Getting by was hard, my sister and I had to sell sandwiches and what-not at our school canteen and thank goodness for scholarships and friends that I am where I am now.
Jho, what a start in life! I’m so proud of you, taking control of your own destiny and living a life you want for yourself.
Who, living or dead, do you most admire?
Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. He was an artist, a writer, a polyglot, a polymath, a doctor in more ways than one, a real genius. He had the heart of a patriot. Even if his books are already over a hundred years old, the moral of his stories are still applicable even to this day and age.
Tell us about your favourite book/author?
Because I read a lot, so there are a lot of books and authors that I love. I don’t want to risk making a list and I end up forgetting someone. So to be fair, I won’t mention anyone here. But if anyone is interested in finding out, I do have a reading list in my GoodReads Favourite Author Page; even though that is not a complete list.
Jho, I have an inkling that my book The Same Moon is in your favoured list Seriously, we have that in common. After all, it was the GoodReads that introduced us in the first place
Now tell me what inspired you to start a publishing company?
I don’t really know. I just woke up one day and I literally opened my eyes and told myself that I was going to publish books. The next thing I knew, I was asking friends to join me and here we are… ^_^ To say that it is hard is an understatement, but I’ve been into tougher situation than this. So, bring it on! ^_^
That’s the attitude I like. Go Gal
What is your latest project?
Our books are already available in National Book Store and Powerbooks here in the Philippines, but we would like to have a wider reach so we are aiming to make it available via Smashwords and Amazon. We are currently working on the release of the ebooks of:
It is a story about a lost firefly catcher, trying to find his way home… and a broken firefly that had long lost himself. And how friendship and being there for each other made a difference in their lives.
For the book trailer and relevant pages:
An extraordinary tale about seven demons, seven angels, seven keys, seven keepers, seven deadly sins, seven virtues, seven heavens, seven helles.
Check out the book trailer and other related pages:
Thanks for the links, and I’m sure that some of the readers will be checking on them
What are your criteria in picking the authors you want to publish?
The work has to be extraordinary. I read a lot, if I’m up to it I can read 10 titles or more in one sitting and I would just breeze through those if the plot is ordinary—all the while my head is spinning, LOL. But if it’s out of the ordinary, I would savour every word and take my time in reading the book. I’m truly glad that I read a lot. Because of that I can tell when a book is above the others and it is not just blending in with the rest. It is important for the plot to be different, not easily forgettable, and to stir the interest of your readers. The competition is cut-throat, as there are tons of books out there.
Exactly! That’s one of the reasons why it’s so popular to self-publish
What’s your favourite pastime?
Read, read, and read. ^_^ Whenever I’m procrastinating or thinking/deciding about something crucial, I watch anime and movies or a TV series, whichever catches my fancy.
Do you use Social Media for promoting Isshin Publishing? Which do you consider as your most successful channel?
Yes, we have our own website, there’s our Facebook pages, GoodReads account, twitter, tumblr, youtube, etc. but I don’t’ know which one is the most effective. GoodReads perhaps, since it was there that I met avid readers.
Please tell us something about Philippines which you think is different from other countries.
I don’t really know how to answer this since I have never been outside of my country and have nothing to compare her with. I can tell, however, that we have excellent and wonderful beaches, fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and most of all, we Filipinos are happy people in general. We smile even in the wake of a tragedy.
How fascinating! You make me want to book a ticket and fly east to you now. Thank you SO much for sharing some snippets of your life with us. I wish you all the best in everything you do in the future!
About Isshin Dream Publishing: Isshin Dream Publishing is a Pinoy indie publishing house that aims to print children’s books, graphic novels, and romance books, among others. Its name Isshin—which means one heart—represents its people who share a long-time love affair and passion for reading, writing, and drawing.
Isshin Dream Publishing intends to touch the hearts and lives of the readers by publishing extraordinary, high quality books. It also aspires to help bridge the widening literacy gap in the Philippines by encouraging and inspiring more people to read.
Our logo depicts the Eternal Flame because we believe that (printed) words are eternal.