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On the Spot: Samantha Sotto, mompreneur-turned-Random House-published author
Meet the Pinay mom who wrote Before Ever After every afternoon at Starbucks Katipunan while waiting for her son to get out of school.
Published on: Jul 29, 2011 - 1:28pm


( What’s it like to have your first novel published by Random House, the largest English-language trade book publisher in the US? Samantha Sotto, the 38-year old Pinay author of the much-talked about novel Before Ever After, knows.


Born and raised in the Philippines, Sam Sotto never imagined she’d be where she is today—doing radio guestings, posing for magazine shoots, and very soon, promoting her first book in the US. “You know it’s like those dreams you have when you’re a kid but you don’t really pay attention to it because natatabunan ng real life. So, you just become practical, you do what you’re supposed to do. I was just very fortunate to discover my love for writing again. After college I had not written for pleasure, it was always for business for work,” shares the Ateneo graduate.


samantha sotto

Born and bred in the Philippines, author Samantha Sotto. Click for more.

After a stint in the corporate world and running a business, the Manila-based novelist finally decided to sit down and start writing her first book. Then, armed with an Idiot’s Guide to Publishing, Sam set out to find an agent and eventually got an offer from book publishing giant Random House.


In between what Sam describes on her blog as the “craziest week of her life” she finds time to sit down with for a quick Q&A:



What’s your background?

Samantha Sotto: I studied communications in Ateneo. I also studied marketing in Webster University in Holland.


Were you born and raised in Manila?

SS: Yes, I was born in the Philippines then I went abroad when my dad was expatriated. He was working for a multinational company at that time so the whole family moved with him when he was assigned to Holland. We lived there for a year. I took my second year of college there but since they didn’t have communications, I took up marketing and accounting. I graduated from Ateneo then worked for Unilever for three years, then Johnson & Johnson where I worked for six years. I don’t know how I wound up there but my life is full of detours. When my son turned one, I stopped working because I felt that I needed to spend more time with him.


Was that when you started writing Before Ever After?

SS: After I stopped working, my husband and I put up a business. When my son started going to school, that’s when I started writing the book. I started writing the book when my son was prep, he’s grade three now. That’s how long it takes to publish a book. It’s like glacial ice time.


Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?

SS: No, not at all.


What was the turning point that made you decide to start writing the book?

SS: I had not written anything before this. After I stopped working, I said, okay, what am I going to do? What are the things I want to explore? So, I started the business but there was still something missing, the creative part. At one point Johnson & Johnson commissioned me to write a coffee table book for them. I thought, check, I wrote a book. But it felt fake, there was still something missing. Then, what happened was, I had read The Time Traveler's Wife and I was so depressed about the ending. I was walking around with a dark cloud over my head and I was thinking, 'oh my God, if I was gonna write a book…'It started from there.


When did the actual writing start?

SS: It just so happened my son had started school and I was the one driving him to school. Since we live in Parańaque and he studies in Ateneo, I would wait for him in Starbucks, Katipunan. There was no way that I could drive home and make it back in time to pick my son up. I just didn’t want to make tunganga there in Starbucks for three hours. I really wanted to do something while I was there to make better use of my time. So I decided, stop wishing, start doing. That’s when I started writing the book. And it was fun. It was like taking a European vacation while sitting down there.


Before Ever After's official book trailer



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  • allison
    She's truly inspiring. ill bet starbucks katipunan will now be filled with moms writing their first novel.
    Aug 02 2011 @ 05:29pm     Reply  
  • steph
    I just finished reading Before Ever After. I enjoyed it very much. Samantha Sotto did an awesome job!
    Aug 02 2011 @ 02:42pm     Reply  
  • anna
    Haven't read novels for quite a while but when I read her book, I was brought back to that time in my life when I loved reading so much I ended up wearing glasses at 14. :) Listened to her speak at the book launch also--she's grounded and humble. inspiring story; I hope her books sell well, here and abroad.
    Aug 01 2011 @ 06:32pm     Reply  
  • atm
    ang pretty nya naman parang 28 years old lang
    Aug 01 2011 @ 05:06pm     Reply  
  • hawt
    a writer who looks good! dang!
    Aug 01 2011 @ 05:06pm     Reply  
  • spellchecknazi
    Paki ayos lang:" That’s the only time I found out I needed a literally agent. " --- dapat "literary agent" o kaya "publishing agent" rnBibili ako ng aklat mo Ms. Sotto! rnSupport the artist!
    Aug 01 2011 @ 02:35pm     Reply  
  • josie
    I really enjoyed this interview. Good read and very inspirational.
    Aug 01 2011 @ 11:05am     Reply  
  • nooni
    wow, it's always been my dream to write a book, a adventure-game of thrones-like book.rnsaw this book at national bookstore yesterday, and my first impression was that the cover is very beautiful, i didn't know that it was written by a pinay.
    Aug 01 2011 @ 10:57am     Reply  
  • monster
    I loved the book!! Go Sam!!
    Aug 01 2011 @ 10:17am     Reply  
  • mrs. diaz
    How inspiring. Makes me think, maybe I can write a book too...
    Aug 01 2011 @ 10:04am     Reply  
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