Wednesday, July 16, 2008

3rd Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards Special Feature: Interview with Joseph Nacino

Every Wednesday until August, I'll have a special feature on the 3rd Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards.

Joseph Nacino won 1st place in last year's Graphic/Fiction Awards with his short story "Logovore". His fiction has appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction as well as Digest of Philippine Genre Stories.

Tell us something about yourself.

Well, I'm currently a writer working for a hardware magazine but I'm also doing freelance writing work. On the side I read a lot, usually speculative fiction: science fiction, fantasy and horror (and everything in between). However, my favorite is really fantasy and all its shades. I grew up reading horror stories (and treat it like an older brother) while SF is that distant middle sibling who you can rely on but never really trust. From reading stories, it was relatively easy to move into writing them.

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

With regard to my story "Logovore", it began with the simple kernel of an idea: what would words taste like. It was based on a kind of imaginative synesthesia, and I came up with the idea of a man who actually lives on words alone . Moreover, I wondered how a person who survives on eating one particular language (in this case, English) would be able to live in a foreign land and that has a foreign language (in this case, the Philippines). I added a few true-to-life incidents (particularly those involving teachers and teaching) and this story came out.

What was the most challenging part of the competition?

Challenging? I suppose you could say the challenging part right now is the post-contest pressure, of trying to live up to a "reputation" of having won to begin with. But then again, I just like writing my stories and that's how I deal with the pressure: I write the stories I think would be fascinating and to hell with the rest.

What was the coolest moment you experienced when you won the Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards?

Having Neil Gaiman and Dean Alfar chatting at the dinner table with us. Whatever traces of geekhood I had left after growing up started squee-ing at that moment.

What advice can you give to those participating in this year's competition?

Submit, dammit. You have nothing to lose. And when writing your story, remember that it's about who and what you are: you as a person, you as a Filipino, you as a human being. Put that in your story. That's what makes your story unique and that's what will make your story stick out for the judges.

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