On Writing Love Stories: An Interview with Princess Alilaya Plang

Princess Alilaya V. Plang is not your typical government employee from Senator Ninoy Aquino (Kulaman), Sultan Kudarat. She is a published writer and an advocate for the environment. 

She took up Business Administrative Support Services at STI College (Tacurong City). She is currently taking AB Political Science at University of Makati, under the special program of the Philippine Councilor’s League-Legislative Academy for government officials and employees. 

She is the Founder of Kulaman Sylvigeness. It is an environmental organization promoting awareness on environmental concerns, issues and problems within their community; it supports and conducts non-partisan research, educational activities (through workshops and information-driven campaigns) on how to strengthen environmental programs. 

In an interview, she talked about her writing process, inspirations, and love experience. 

Yadu Karu: When did you start writing romance novel? 

Princess Plang: I am fond of reading Tagalog Romance Novels especially Precious Hearts Romance pocketbooks since Grade 6. I was in my second year in high school when I was able to finish writing my first novel entitled My Politician Girlfriend in a notebook. I literally wrote it with pen and paper since there was no computer or laptop available that time. After I finished it, I felt a certain satisfaction that only writing can give. Unfortunately, someone borrowed the notebook and did not able to return it. 

The introduction of my online friend to Wattpad app also help my writing. I have 16 published works (with seven stories completed) and 21 draft stories. Most of them are fan fiction. 

YK: What are your sources of inspiration? 

PP: Mostly my personal experiences about love – crushes, fell in and out of love, kilig moments, and heartaches. These experiences have lessons to learn and should be valued. I believe these things will serve as guiding principles in finding true love. I love hearing, seeing, reading love stories (reel and real), that I can’t help but open my Wattpad account and let those stories occupy me until a certain plot is figured out. 

My readers inspire me to widen my imagination and incorporate the love I get from them in my plots which I always make sure that they would feel it in every line, scene, and character. My readers and followers are mostly teens and OFWs. It makes me happy knowing that through my stories, my readers especially OFWs, found a way to ease their homesickness. 

There are times that I got teary eyes while reading their comments. They thank me and my stories on how it helps them emotionally. That’s why I made a vow that even if I have only a one reader, I would continue to write stories and inspire more people. My readers are my source of inspiration. 

YK: Can you share to us your writing process? 

PP: For me, it takes months to finish one story. It may also depend on my mood and schedule. But I make sure that I update my Wattpad readers because if I don’t, they would lose their interest. 

First, I am making a draft or an outline of the story. I think of names and places, and then make a book cover that is catchy for my readers (Yes, I do the lay outing). 

It’s hard when you have a full-time job. That's why I usually write at night with a background of sweet music. The ideas just come out and I must write it down as fast as I can. There are times that I experience “writer’s block”. I give myself time to rest and internalize or do my other passion like photography. After I get recharged, I would get back to writing. 

YK: Can you share to us who are your (writer) influences? 

PP: They are Martha Cecilia and Gilda Olvidado. They are renowned Tagalog novel writers and among the best on their field. I grew up reading their stories and I dreamt of being like them. It felt surreal when I became a writer. 

In 2016, when Christina Legaspi of Le Sorelle Publishing contacted me and asked if I wanted my novel Thinking Out Loud to be published. I said yes immediately, and the rest was history. Because of this opportunity, I made a promise to myself that the royalty fee or sales from my published novels will be utilized for altruistic activities. It taught me to be grateful and I thank God for this blessing. 

YK: You have a new novel called Shattered Hearts. What motivated you to write this one? 

PP: It’s my second book but this time I went on self-publishing. Shattered Hearts occupies a huge space in my heart. I wrote it in 2015 in GenSan. So far, the novel is the most emotional and tear-jerking story I have written. I wrote it when I was broken hearted. It became my emotional outlet and I imparted myself in every character in the story. It became my ally, my best friend, and I was able to see life’s beauty again. 

In September 2018, I decided to publish it as a book and the proceeds of it would go to the #ShatteredHeartsProject. I consulted some friends like Apolinario Villalobos from Tacurong City and Clinton Colcol from Upi, Maguindanao, and they both liked the plot. Boon Luau did an awesome job on editing the novel while MJ “Xi Zuq” Tumamac facilitated the printing. In March 2019, the novel was released. I did not expect that the buyers/readers would love the story. 

In June 2019, #ShatteredHeartsProject came. The proceeds of the novel and support of my friends help provide a hydraulic engine motor for Datu Gas Tubo Elementary School. For years, the school has no potable water supply. The project would benefit not only the school but also the nearby community. 

YK: In the Novel, you have presented both perspectives of Kim and Lyndon. What made you decide to choose that kind of style?

PP: I would like my readers to feel my emotions whenever they read my stories. 

The best way to express it is to put myself into the character(s). I think it’s effective because at some point the flow of the story touches the lives of the readers. All of us feel pain, anger, and other human emotions. We experienced love and to be loved and longed for a “happily-ever-after” ending, which does not come easy. To achieve genuine happiness, one must experience pain to be able to give happiness a real meaning. We cannot always be happy, but we can always choose happiness if we want to. If we have the courage to accept the fact that at times, we may fail or fall, just remember that we also have the power to rise and continue living. For at the end, it will be all worthy. 

YK: In your novel, you’ve mentioned Sarangani and family politics. Is that intentional? 

PP: No. It wasn’t intentional. It’s just that I love Sarangani Province. When I was still writing the novel, I had the chance to visit the Municipality of Glan. That’s why I included it in my novel. I love showcasing Mindanao in my stories. In fact, I have a story in which Kulaman (my hometown) is the setting. Incorporating local place in my stories is like touring my readers in my hometown. 

YK: Your advice for those who want to write a romance novel.

PP: Keep believing in yourself that you can. Pray for it and you’ll see. I always believe that everything happens for a reason. Everything has a certain purpose and things have their right time to unfold. Once the opportunity strike, never forget to thank God because we owe our talents to Him. Inspiring other people through writing is an opportunity to express yourself. When you’re happy, make sure you make others happy too. Appreciate other people’s opinion towards your craft, accept criticisms and harsh comments because they will help you build your confidence and sustain your passion. Be humble always and remember the great mantra: “Write to express not to impress.” 


If you have questions or you want to buy a copy of the novel of Ms. Plang, you can reach her at - zercess040709@gmail.com