Singer Amapola returns to first
love Juanita Allas-Monaghan, Aug 25,
MONTICELLO, Florida —
Amapola, who has sung professionally since she was five, and born to the
musical Cabase family of Cebu, is also set on making a mark as a romance
Her first novel “Coming Home” shows her mettle in weaving
scenes and characters that evoke a myriad of emotions, from anger at
life’s cruel blows to anticipation of the next love encounter. The book
follows Charity Ashlyn, whose life choices are flawed by an inability to
trust, arising from the trauma of her parents’ divorce, due to her
father’s infidelity. It explores what therapists suspect – that
childhood events shape one’s future.
Amapola started writing by
accident when she accepted a three month contract onboard the MS Hanseatic
during two Antarctic seasons. Running out of books to read and videos to
view from the onboard
library, she remembered that as a young
student at the Malate Catholic School, she’d write poems, songs and
musings in a journal.
She then bought one at the ship’s next
stop. She traces her decision to write romance novels to her teen years
when she was exposed to her mother’s Cosmopolitan magazines but forbidden
to read them. Instead, her mother bought her books by the British novelist
These got her hooked on romantic novels, the beauty
of England and, three decades later, she even married Englishman Steve
Woodward. Judith Krantz, Danielle Steel, Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins
also inspired her writing style.
Scattered throughout “Coming Home”
are paragraphs devoted to the basic desire for gratification. The heroine’s
need to find love despite her confusion about what it means, takes her to
men who, while professing passion for her, end up seeking satisfaction
The men’s adventures with other women, one even
bordering on incest, add to the book’s pull. But it has an emotional
quality to it that makes the reader sympathize with the victim and wishes
for her happiness. What inspired a Filipino entertainer to write a novel
about American characters dating back from the ‘40s to ‘60s in San
Francisco? Amapola’s mother’s sister, Charito, was her idol –
attractive, stylish, independent, strong-willed – just like her heroine.
Amapola learned about courtship through her Aunt Charito as she
watched her boyfriends come and go.
“There was one who stuck
by her,” she recalls, “but they just never seemed to make a go of
it.” Her aunt’s bittersweet love story provided the basis for
“Coming Home.” Because she chose an era alien to her, Amapola spent many
hours at the Petersfield Library in Hampshire, England, where she
lived in the ‘80s.
“Libraries there are like community halls
and I loved being in them,” said Amapola.
“People meet there to
read the paper, scan magazines and chat in the foyer. Amusingly, I
researched about the U.S. in a U.K. library.” Her manuscript stayed in
a box when Amapola moved to Florida four years ago and last year,
self-published her work.
“I also write whenever I can,” she says.
“In a way, writing is a lot like singing. I can vocalize and
rehearse in a regimented manner but I can also jam with a band with no
charts, no plans, just sing songs that come to mind.”
Music plays a
prominent role in “Coming Home.” The hero, Michael, is a concert violinist
and Charity is a piano teacher.
“You know the old rule – ‘write
about what you know’? I found I can go a hundred miles per minute when I
write about entertainment.”
Her choice of setting, San Francisco,
was where she lived from 1973 to 1989 with her parents, Mahnee and Sheila
Cabase, children April and Rodney Aballe, sister Weena and brother
Christopher. And while in England, Amapola heeded the urgings of her
mother-in-law, Ivy Woodward, to take up creative writing. “She and my
husband strongly support my writing,” Amapola says.
“It is really
crucial that one’s spouse understands what it’s like to be a writer. As
soon as I wake up, I have to write or I’d feel incomplete all day. I carry
a small notepad and pen to write ideas down. Sometimes a dialogue would
come in my head and, just like music, it had to be written down
quickly.” Amapola said that the gratification from a book will probably
last her a lifetime, while with singing, it is fleeting.
admits that writing is a lonely effort, while performing is a team effort
where she relies on support from musicians, back- up vocalists, stage
and floor personnel, production and publicity staff.
“I love the
mechanics of performing onstage, though the ideal life for me would be
performing full time and writing in between.”
In the Philippines,
Amapola starred in films at age eight, led a band by age 19, and starred
in her own TV show, “Amapola Sings.” In San Francisco, she
hosted her own TV show, “Amapola Presents,” for eight years.
She’s performed concerts worldwide and on board cruise
Email this article to a friend:
Singer Amapola returns to first love
your comments on our moderated discussion board. (The expressed
comments do not represent any member of the Philippine News staff.
All submissions are revued and subject to approval. Comment Policy Guidelines here .)