I read Scandalized by Tara Frejas a few months back and really enjoyed it despite my lack of knowledge of anything K-Pop. I loved the strong main character and the dashing love interest, and I especially loved one of the band members, Minchan. *pinches cheeks*
Scandalized is on a blog tour (just like a real band, yay!), and one of its first stops is here! For this stop, I had the chance to interview author Tara Frejas about her latest book. Check it out:
What’s your main inspiration for Scandalized?
Back in 2007, I’d written my first piece of KPop fanfiction (published online via a popular forum called Soomp!) which featured a boyband and their road manager. I really had a lot of fun writing it, and while I was thinking of what I wanted to write for the #SparkNA workshop, I thought of that particular story and decided I wanted to write something like it again. I guess it was the desire to relive that “era” of my life when I was still really big on KPop because it had been a really fun time and I learned a lot about the Korean culture through their music and everything else in between.
Online bullying is a big thing to tackle and I think you handled it great in this book. Did you know how to deal with the topic before writing or did you figure it out along the way?
Thank you, and the answer is no, I didn’t know exactly how I was going to tackle the issue of cyberbullying when I began outlining Scandalized. I think I played around with two to three “routes” to take during the writing stage until I finally decided on the one that appeared in the book.
When did you start liking Korean music (or anything Korean) and what’s the best thing about it?
I’d been exposed to Korean entertainment as early as 2002-2003 because of a music video for Kiss’ Because I’m a Girl and an MBC sitcom called Non-Stop. But it wasn’t until late 2004 to 2005 that I really got into Korean entertainment because of Lovers in Paris and the KPop group TVXQ.
Undoubtedly, the best thing about the experience was sharing it with other fans who became good friends. And also, like I mentioned, learning something new about their culture (at least the ones accessible via popular media) was something I really enjoyed.
What was the easiest and hardest thing in writing Scandalized?
The easiest thing was probably building the cast of characters because I already knew which KPop (and even non-KPop) personalities I wanted to pattern my characters after in terms of traits and skills.
There were three difficult things. First was making the conflict escalate in a way that felt organic to the characters and the world they lived in. Second was determining how to deal with the cyberbullying theme without sounding preachy, and third was trying to find the balance between everything that was happening and the romance between the MC and LI. Based on previous reviews I’ve gotten, I think the third one was where I kind of failed, haha! I’ll try to do better next time. *90-degree bow*
The members of EG Project are going on vacation – where would they all go? (Group or individually, or by pairs because why not heehee)
Group vacations would largely depend on what season the vacation would fall on. Fall, winter, and spring are extremely cold seasons in South Korean, so if the group ever went on a vacation, they’d most likely want to go to a tropical island/beach. And since their roadie is Filipino, they’d already have heard stories from Fi about the nice vacation spots in the Philippines and would probably consider going to Palawan.
Individually, the choices would depend on the band members’ individual personalities. Yihwan is rather quiet and likes his alone time, so I can see him backpacking alone somewhere in Cambodia or Europe. Steven is a try-anything-once kind of guy, so he would be more adventurous and would pick a vacation spot in terms of what unique things it can offer. I’m thinking he’d go bunjee jumping in Macau, skydiving in Dubai, or go on the edge coaster in Cebu. Minchan, meanwhile, is a bit of a geek so his choices would rely on the things he wants to learn or geek out about while on vacation. He’d go to Paris to see the Louvre, to Berlin to see the Holocaust Memorial, or to Orlando for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
If it’s pairs, I can see YiVen going hiking somewhere (there are a lot of hiking spots in South Korea) because it combines Yihwan’s love for going on walks and Steven’s love for adventure. ChanVen will go to Singapore and enjoy themselves at Universal Studios, Night Safari, and Jurong Bird Park. Finally, YiChan will most probably have fun going on a musical retreat/educational trip, seeing other artists perform in gigs, busking sessions, musicals, stuff like that.
Who’s your most favorite member of EG Project? 😀
Nuuuuu, why do you do this to me? I… can’t choose!
(Although I’d probably have to say Steven so he feels validated, ke.) But I love my boys equally… which might mean each of them might get a story of their own soon. <3
What can readers expect to see next from you?
This month, I will be releasing a print version of Settle the Score / Hustle Play which is a college sports romance. It’s already available for pre-order on Amazon now, out October 15. I’m also working on two other manuscripts—a Christmas-themed short for an upcoming #romanceclass anthology, and Waiting in the Wings (AKA #teatrofic)—which I hope I get to finish soon!
Thank you for dropping by, Tara!
Fi Legaspi is living the dream working in Seoul as a road manager for one of South Korea’s hottest bands, East Genesis Project. Until she isn’t.
When she finds herself in the middle of a scandal and a hostile fangirl witch hunt, Fi seeks the comfort of home, and to her surprise, not the person she had been pining for for years. All too suddenly it’s no longer her career on the line, but also her heart. Will she walk away from everything that matters to her or fight to keep her dream alive?
About the Author:
Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she’s not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.
Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes. Scandalized is her second novel after Paper Planes Back Home.
Fun fact: She’s a Piscean. Go figure.
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