Normally I wouldn’t write a blog post listing three interesting facts about myself. But I have a reason. I recently had two school visits where the students asked: 

What are your three IFs?

In BLACKBIRD FLY, my main character Apple Yengko believes that every person on Earth has at least three interesting facts (IFs) about them. Throughout the book she lists different IFs for various people in her middle-school world. So it makes sense that astute young readers would ask what my three IFs are. The problem is, I’ve never had an answer because I’ve never given it much thought.

Well, guess what, folks. I conjured up three interesting Erin facts. Whether or not they’re interesting is up to you, of course. But either way, they’re still facts. Drumroll please!

IF #1. I’m Filipino-American.

My mother is from Sogod, Southern Leyte. When I was a kid I was embarrassed of my heritage, but now I’m older and wiser. I’ve learned that it’s best to embrace what makes you different rather than conform to what’s “normal.” (There really is no such thing, you know).

IF #2. Asthma.

I have chronic asthma. When I was in elementary school, my asthma was so severe that my body would seize. Asthma attacks can cause sudden stiffness of the neck, which makes it difficult to move. Sometimes I’d just lay there crying for my mother. Luckily, she’d show up fast with warm cloths and medicine. Because I was sick all the time, I missed a lot of school and I spent a lot of time watching Pinwheel on Nickelodeon, which I loved.

Asthma is really irritating. It’s like an annoying nag that’s always hanging out in the background, ready to pounce and ruin your afternoon. It could be much worse, though.

Maybe one day I’ll write an asthmatic character …

IF #3. Rare books!

Rare books are one of my most favorite things. (By the way, when you’re asthmatic, rare book stores can be a challenge. But that’s how much I-heart-books). Here’s a few from my collection.

EllisBell

Wuthering Heights. This is my most prized book. It took a great deal of research for me to figure out what year this was printed. Turns out, it’s from 1848. I knew it was an early edition because it was printed under Emily Bronte’s pen name, which was only used for about two years. I also found out that Emily Dickinson had this same edition on her bookshelf when she died. (Not the same book, just the same edition). I would love to own an original first UK edition of Wuthering Heights, but it costs about $14K. But at least now you know what to get me for Christmas.


 

uncle-toms-cabin

Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The first time I read this, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I still don’t. But it’s an important book in the American canon, for better or worse, so when I found this at Macaluso Rare Books in Kennet Square, PA, I picked it up. This is an abridged edition for children from 1900, published about 50 years after the original.


 

1831

The History of the United States, 1831. What were historians teaching people about our nation’s history back in 1831? You don’t want to know. But check out the inscription. (I love inscriptions!) Apparently this book belonged to Caleb Hollingsworth before it was given to Joshua Hollingsworth in February 1847.

What about you, dear reader? What are your three IFs?

 

9 thoughts on “Three Interesting Facts (IFs): C’est Moi”

  1. 1) I have an indiscernible birthmark
    2) Sometimes I only dream in shades of green
    3) Some ppl used to call me “Red”

  2. (Remember me?)
    My three if’s are…

    1. I’m 11 and have a book blog
    2. I’m in love with stuffed animals
    3. If I find a good book, I’ll probably sit down and read the whole thing at once and then read it again.

    1. I love stuffed animals too. I always have! When I was a kid I could never decide which ones should sleep in the bed with me. I didn’t want to upset the other stuffed animals, lol. So I would end up sleeping under a giant pile. I still have stuffed animals. My two favorites are named Zuzu and Jellycat.

  3. Ohmygod! I can’t believe this. MY FAVORITE AUTHOR IS A HALF-FILIPINO!!! Omg omg omg
    Hi, Erin! I’m a Filipino and I’m so happy that I finally found your website! Omg!!! I’m an aspiring author and you’re one of the authors that inspires me a lot! And guess what, my favorite word is also “peculiar”!
    Anyway, here’s my three IFs
    1) I’m currently in 10th grade, and I’ve been into writing since 4th grade.
    2) I’m a booknerd as well and I’ve been reading books since I was seven.
    3) I have a lot more international friends (that I wish to meet someday!) and only a few here in Philippines because my fellow teens here find me weird for reading books even at school (and they’re all about fashion and boys and gadgets)

    I wish I get to meet you someday and finally get a hardbound copy of your book since I only read them in eBook format. I’m so excited for your new book!!!

  4. I am smiling reading that comment from the girl from the Philippines! Just reconnected with my friend near Alaminos City…after 24 years silence…we have a chat room with his musician friends from CA.

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