Meet Filipino Author Michael P De Guzman and Illustrator Daniel Palma Tayona

This month I’m excited to introduce you to the duo that created the book Billy Has Two Daddies (Dalawa ang Daddy ni Billy). Let’s hear from author Michael P. De Guzman first.

What languages do your/your family speak?  

My father is from Pampanga while my mother is from Bulacan so I grew up hearing both Tagalog and Kapampangan in the house and in the houses of my grandparents. However, my comprehension and speaking skills of Kapampangan is limited. Case in point, I cannot write in Kapampangan.

At what age did you know you wanted to be an author?

I was 9 years old when I wrote my first poem. It was about Christmas and my teacher then submitted it to a school contest where it won first prize. I think that was when the writing bug bit me.

What is a favorite book or story from your childhood?

When I learned to read, my grandmother, who was a teacher, encouraged me to read newspapers, magazines, and comics instead of picture books. I don’t know why. I think the closest I came to reading a picture book was reading Funny Komiks, which was a comic for children. As I got older I discovered other books, like the Choose-your-own-adventure book series, which I enjoyed immensely. In high school, I volunteered in our library, and that was when I discovered authors like Maurice Sendak. E. B. White, and Dr. Seuss, among others. But if I really have to choose, my favorite stories from childhood are Old Testament Bible stories (because they’re awesome adventure stories) and fables (because they teach you something).

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

I usually get ideas for my stories from a combination of things that I either read or watched and from the experiences I have undergone. Sometimes the idea is a question I ask myself, usually beginning with, “What if?” 

What type of stories or topics do you get excited about writing?

Since I took up writing stories (for both children and adults), I decided that I would write LGBTQI-themed stories. Being a gay man myself, my reason for writing is almost synchronous with my desire to tell my stories, or stories seen through an LGBTQI lens because I believe that sending out these stories to the world out there will contribute to society’s meaningful and real acceptance of LGBTQI folks. Dalawa ang Daddy ni Billy was created back in 2003 but it was not published until 2018 by Tahanan Books. In that 15-year gap, it was rejected by almost all children’s book publications in the Philippines. It is only in the last couple of years that Filipino publishers have considered publishing LGBTQI-themed works for children. Writing these kind of stories still excites me until now.

Tell us about a recent or future book release.

Dalawa ang Daddy ni Billy is my first book ever so the exhilaration over its release hasn’t completely dissipated yet. I am working on a YA novel that is about the friendship of a transgender hairdresser and a girl living in a small town, which I hope will get published in the near future.

What is your favorite Filipino food?

My favorite Filipino food is Chicken Sopas, which is basically a creamy macaroni soup with shredded chicken, thinly sliced hotdogs, carrot, and cabbage. I can eat this everyday, morning till night!

Make sure you stay updated with Michael on Instagram @mdg810!

 Now let’s hear from illustrator Daniel Palma Tayona!
 

What languages do your/your family speak? 

Three languages are spoken in our household: Tagalog/Filipino, English, and Ilonggo, specifically, Karay-a.

At what age did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?

I learned how to draw lines and figures first before I learned to write letters, or so my mother would tell. And I do remember covering my notebooks in kindergarten with more drawings than letters, including the walls in our house. So, I have always been a visual artist. As an illustrator, the Hardy Boys books I had when I was 9 sparked that interest In me to illustrate stories. I was intrigued by the cover of this series of detective stories, and how, just by glancing at the illustrated covers, I would have a bit of an idea what’s inside the pages.

What is a favorite book or story from your childhood?

Hardy Boys, obviously. The second would be an old copy of the unabridged version of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, that I discovered under the bed of my aunt when I was 9. It had a huge impact on me, because while I read it, I had a big Funk and Wagnall’s dictionary beside me to check on words I didn’t know.

Where do you find inspiration for your art?

I worked as an editorial illustrator before I produced my first children’s book, and at the same time a painter. I learned how to work on tight deadlines, and for “inspiration,” I simply draw from my own life experiences, my family, and my neighborhood.

What type of stories or topics do you get excited about illustrating?

Simple, real life stories. Stories that do not preach but rather show the truth of living in spire of or despite of its harsh realities, and with a slight dash of humor, interest me.

Tell us about a recent or future book release.

As an illustrator, I have a personal project still on the pipeline that I am developing — a wordless book. As a book designer, I recently finished 3 titles and will begin working on 5 more titles under www.canvas.ph.

What is your favorite Filipino food?

My all-time favorite, which I cook, is hoisin ground beef stir-fried with ampalaya (bitter melon), and, of course — adobo.

Don’t forget to follow Daniel on Instagram @danthumper!

Book cover Billy Has Two Daddies

Billy Has Two Daddies (Dalawa ang Daddy ni Billy) by Michael P. De Guzman and  and illustrated by Daniel Tayona is available from Tahanan Books and also on Amazon.

We’re giving away 1 paperback copy of Billy Has Two Daddies (Dalawa ang Daddy ni Billy) bilingual Tagalog(Filipino)-English edition . Click the link below to enter the contest (open to US residents only), starts 6/22/19 1200am CST to 6/27/19 1159pm CST.

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