Raf Echanova is a multiple-book author based in Dallas, Texas. He wrote his debut novel Prince of Nepal in 2012 and published it the following year along with another novella Asian Boy. He co-authored The Sins of the Fathers with Philippine veteran journalist Carlos Marquez and wrote two fan fictions John Rain: Rampage in Manila and Wayward Pines: Stay Close. John Rain: Rampage in Manila was on the Top Ten Bestselling list on Amazon Kindle Worlds for several weeks after he launched it last year.
During his teenage years in the Philippines, Raf never gave up sending manuscripts to local publishing houses , only to find his works sending back by editors with heartbreaking rejection letters. Luckily, one of his short stories was published in a local magazine when he was 16.
Raf Echanova received numerous awards as outstanding youth leader of the Philippines and his group he formed also received multiple awards for its exemplary achievements in community organizing. Among those projects were helping the cultural minorities in the Philippines, the Dumagat Tribes and the publication of a youth-oriented community newspaper. He also hosted several radio shows in different formats during those years.
A few months ago, he formed a nonprofit firm Global Alliance for Literacy Enhancement (GALE, Philippines) to encourage the impoverished children to get actively involved in reading and writing. A tutorial task force is among its goals to help those kids improve their grades in school. Raf shares the fruits of his income and royalties for these projects.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small village in the Philippines where I helped my family run a small business, a variety store. As a small kid, I grew up helping my mom and sister with our small store, selling freshly cooked foods, cooking oil, cigarettes, canned goods and renting out comics and magazines to our patrons. I volunteered to be in charge of the inventory we were renting out. I enjoyed reading the stories of my favorite characters along the process, but I fell in love mostly with short stories and novels.
I personally witnessed every single day a huge number of people standing by in our store, waiting for the arrival of new copies of their favorite comics and magazines. I could see the excitement in their eyes. I could feel their heartbeat. That experience opened my eyes to how I should value readers, especially on their expectations. I had to listen to their predictions: what would happen to their favorite characters in the next chapters? I am a living witness to how great stories could become movies during those years.
I woke up one day dreaming to become a writer. I had to learn how to do it and I made it happen. I dreamed to be one of the novelists who entertained huge numbers of readers. Initially, I thought it would be easy. In fact, I found that it was frustrating to get your work published when you had limited opportunities, until the digital era of e-books came to my horizon.
When did you first start writing?
When I was in high school at the age of 15. My father owned an old typewriter and every night before going to bed, I quietly observed how he used it. When he wasn't around, I tried using it. In just a few hours, I learned how it worked and began writing my first story.
When I was a youth leader in my community, my youth group was able to publish a youth community newspaper and I acted as the publisher. It didn't last that long as we only produced one issue. The production cost was too high and we didn't have enough resources to keep it going. But the whole group was so proud; at least we proved something.
RAF ECHANOVA collaborated with Philippine veteran-journalist CARLOS D.MARQUEZ,JR. in this historical fiction-drama about the martial law era in the Philippines. The two authors shared their passion revealing the darkest days of the imposition of martial rule.
Get ready to suppress your emotion as you will gasp for your breath reading “The Sins of the Fathers” from authors Echanova and Marquez.