Meet Via Won, author of Unbind

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was in third grade, but of course, it was in my native language instead of English. At that time, I really wanted to write my own children’s book with my drawings in it.

I’ve always had a very wide imagination, and sometimes, the only way to express myself is through writing and drawing. Drawing cartoons and anime characters made me happy but writing made me happier. Just because. People didn’t have to read my stories, I read them all myself.

A year later, I tried writing scripts with my friend. Most of our stories had been in Tagalog (Filipino) language and only a few in English. We had fun, and I thought I finally found someone who understood me and the joy I get every time I write my imaginations/dreams. Anyways, I continued writing throughout my middle school years even without this friend. I shared my stories with my classmates and had them leave their comments at the back of my notebooks with their signatures on it. Then I moved on from that, tried the English language, and started publishing my stories online.

I know I’m not perfect. My writing style is not everyone’s style. But I enjoy writing as much as I enjoy reading and watching TV shows. When I write, I also listen to music, and sometimes, I can’t help but smile. Writing means a lot to me. It makes me happy, and for me, that’s all that matters. It’s a bonus if people actually read them.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how does that affect your writing?

I’m currently a nursing student, which makes me a part-time writer after class and a part-time office assistant during my days off from school (because I need something to pay for my bills too lol). Actually, last year, it didn’t work so well. I was writing too much that I got two consecutive ‘F’ grade on my tests. Luckily, it wasn’t the final grade, and I was able to get back on my feet after learning how to manage my time more effectively. I don’t study just for two hours a day anymore. I study more than that, but yes, I do make time for writing instead of going out to play with friends. I usually write after studying or after exams, which means I’m a pretty slow writer. However, I enjoy what I do. Studying and writing.  

There was this Korean Drama I watched before, and the leading lady/her father once said, “Make the second thing you like most as your job and leave the first thing you like the most as your hobby.” I always thought it sounded like me, so I can’t seem to forget about it!

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read a lot of mangas and manhwas. I like almost all genres. Depending on my mood, I enjoy reading comedies and lots of angst. When reading novels or novellas, I prefer physical copies. I have a collection of books at home, but honestly, I haven’t read all of them. There are some books that I just like to collect and stare at. The novels I like to read are mostly Young Adults with romance, like Rainbow Rowell’s books or anything that has something to do with vampires, fallen angels, werewolves… I also really liked the horror series called “The Devouring”! 

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Don’t let other people stop you from doing what you want to do. If it makes you happy, just do it… So if others can do it, why can’t I? That’s what I always tell myself. My mom also told me that. I think it works for everyone.

But my major advice would be to… not forget about your priorities. Sometimes, we get too engrossed in writing that we forget about what’s right in front of us or what’s happening in the present. Do you have an upcoming test you have to study for? Do you have a date tonight? Do you have to go to church? Do you have class at 6am? You know what I mean.

Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?

I’ve written a lot of stories both on paper and online, but I’m only publishing one book this year, and it’s in English. My debut novel, Unbind, was inspired by all my darkest feelings (what) and an Anime show I watched a long time ago. It’s not based on it, of course. But that anime was dark, and this book I wrote is also dark with a bit of dry humor.

Unbind is about a young boy who has an unrequited love for his childhood friend, but that’s not the worst of it. There are mutants in this story, and the young boy I was telling you about happens to be one of them.

It has trigger warnings such as mental health issues (my favorite subject in class by the way) and some blood and gore but it’s not something overly graphic. Well, at least I don’t think so.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing this book?

I was listening to Faint by Linkin Park when I started imagining this story about a lonely boy who lost his way… or his sanity after everything he had gone through. That was it.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

The male main character would be my favorite. Levi is an anti-hero and I simply enjoy reading/writing about his kind of heroes. Good guys turned bad. Tortured heroes. Damaged ones. Broody ones. But overall, still soft on the inside. I also think he’s a relatable character.

Besides Levi, I also enjoyed writing Wren’s character. He was loyal to Levi and he was the type of person who didn’t seem to mind carrying the weight of other people’s problems. I felt bad for his character, and I thought he was just too good to be true.

If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast?

I like this question… See, when I write, I imagine actors and actresses playing the characters of my stories. For Unbind’s male leading character (Levi), I thought Grant Gustin from The Flash fit the role (he can play bad and good!). Jennie Kim from Blackpink as the female leading character (Maya). Nina Dobrev as one of the supporting characters (Lanie), and that’s pretty much it. One of the supporting characters in my book – Wren – I couldn’t really think of an actor that would fit his personality, so I imagined an Anime character playing him instead! Weird, right?

What is your next project?

I have some ideas in my mind, actually. One is a romance anthology (currently at 35,000 words), and another one is a paranormal romance (13,000 words). I’m still working on them, slowly. Like really slowly. I’m thinking of making a series with the paranormal romance one. I have an outline for it, but the last time I opened that story was like back in 2019. It’s been so long since I’d ‘temporarily’ abandoned it. But you know what they say… Patience is a virtue.

Want to learn more about Via Won and get the book?

Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page | Book Link

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