Passion Forward with Mina V. Esguerra

Written by: Carla De Guzman/Friday, Apr 21, 2017 03:36 AM

To Mina V. Esguerra, the connection between her writing and choosing her advocacy came very easily. “A lot of what I write is about women, and for readers, anyway. Choosing to involve them seems natural.” 

As the author of (mostly) Philippine-setting romance novels, Mina writes about the kind of women we may already know. From an über successful wedding planner who doesn’t believe in serious relationships, a struggling music teacher trying to decide if she should quit and find a "real" job, all the way to a 29 year-old office assistant who doesn’t think she should be pressured to settle down yet. Her romance heroines are all modern women who take charge of their own lives and sexualities, whose relationships always end happily-ever-after or happily-ever-after for now. 

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When it comes to giving back, Mina chooses to let her passion for writing go hand in hand with helping others. “I'm trying to remember by making it part of my routine, involving causes I care about. Just deciding to do one little thing will help!” She chose two main avenues to share fruits of her passion—through Kiva, the lending website and through a tuition sponsorship for education students at PNU. 

Kiva—a website that allows its users to give micro-loans to various applicants around the world—fit into a schedule that worked quite easily for Mina. “What I do is I "top up" my Kiva credit, one dollar per manuscript completed during a workshop (Mina runs mostly #romanceclass workshops, an online workshop for Filipinos to write their own romance books). I started doing that because a workshop had just ended, and at the same time I got an email from Kiva reminding me that a loan I had given had been partially repaid and maybe I wanted to loan to a new livelihood project. I was thinking of how much to add to my loan credits, and I think I had just announced how many manuscripts were completed, so I just used the same number.”

She chooses to specifically fund Philippine-based small businesses run by women, hand-in-hand with her writing. “I've always been choosing women in the Philippines, helping fund sari-sari stores and family businesses in rural areas. It's also really easy to loan more (via Paypal), and you can join a team to help get someone's project funded faster, but I tend to just add my contribution and leave them to it.” 

It’s an efficient system, as to date, there are more than 100 titles on the #romanceclass website, most of which are a product of Mina’s workshops. All these books feature the same guiding principles as her own works—awesome characters, consensual sex (if needed) and a happily-ever-after or happily-ever-after for now. 

As for the PNU scholarship, it just to happened that she was at the right place at the right time. After their literature org, Circulus Literati invited her to lunch, she found out their tuition fees (at the time) totaled Php 2,500, an amount that shocked her. “I asked them if they were aware that college could be so, so, so much more expensive, and they in turn were shocked to find out how much their contemporaries in other schools are paying. At the end of that conversation I decided to ask some friends to help sponsor the tuition of PNU students, future teachers of English and Filipino literature.” 

Every writer knows the importance of these two subjects, as mastery of the basics are what make a good writer. The group’s energy and their desire to teach was what pushed her to help. “They love to read. They want to be teachers. They want to be teachers of literature. It's something important to me, as an author, but I'm personally not doing it on a daily basis. But I can help someone who wants to!” 

Mina's books are available online via Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and the Book Depository. Print editions are available via Createspace, ordering through her website and for some of her titles, at National Bookstore and Powerbooks. 

About Carla De Guzman
Carla de Guzman is the author of self-published books Cities, Marry Me Charlotte B! and We Go Together. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family by day. By night, she’s writer and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk. Follow her on Instagram (@somemidnights) for more!
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