Gene Del Carmen’s second book ‘Manny Pacquiao Effect’ is out now

Collection of stories, some blending fact with fiction.

Collection of stories, some blending fact with fiction.

By Maricar CP Hampton

Fresh from the successful launch of his first book, “The Pork Bun Heist and Other Stories,” short story writer Gene Del Carmen has published yet another inspiring collection entitled, “The Manny Pacquiao Effect and Other Stories.”

“It was not hard to come up with nine fictional stories and one true story for the Manny Pacquiao book,” Gene said. “Story ideas come to me constantly. In my mind, words and phrases that sound new and unique quickly form images and situations that later become a story.”

Gene admits being a “true and avid fan” of boxer Manny Pacquiao led him to the book’s beckoning title.

“I cheer when he wins, and I feel deflated when he loses. I wrote the Pacquiao story after his winning fight with Oscar de la Hoya. At that time, I had an idea for a ‘coming home’ kind of story about a Filipino doctor in America. The Pacquiao win somehow found itself being a big part of the blended story, he said.

Ten very insightful stories, which focus on life’s day-to-day experiences, a variety of emotions and decision-making are in the book. Each story offers a positive takeaway that touches the heart.

The idea of writing a novel has crossed Gene’s mind but he doubts he can take on such demanding task.

“Short stories are my kind of stories. I like reading them and writing them. I can write a full-length novel by taking a short story and adding more characters and situations, but I’m not sure if I could keep my interest and energy for that project,” he said when interviewed by The FilAm.

Gene recalled how his mother played a huge role in his interest becoming a storyteller.

Gene and his wife Arielita live in New Jersey.

Gene and his wife Arielita live in New Jersey.

“I remember when my younger sister and I were of school age my mother would tell us stories about brave warriors and their dangerous adventures to save the maiden they love. These were stories she would imagine as she narrated them to us,” he said.

A segment of the book was personal as he writes about his first wife Raquel’s illness.

“My first wife died of Lupus. That personal tragedy is always in my memory. Then I read in the news about the FBI sting, ‘Operation Bid Rig,’ right here in my county in New Jersey. One of those caught in that sting was an illegal kidney organ broker from New York. And then I saw a documentary about kidney transplant tourism where Filipinos were the donor victims. I put all those facts together and wrote the ‘Solomon, Peter, and Joseph’ story,” he recounted.

An accountant by profession, Gene first wrote while working for an advertising agency in the Philippines. He wrote advertising copy, not short stories. Eventually, he wrote scripts for television and comics. He has written for “Pirapirasong Pangarap,” “Tambakan Alley,” and some illustrated comics like “Pilipino Komiks” and “Liwayway.”

To date, Gene has written over 25 short stories. A third collection is in the works.

The light and refreshing tone of the “The Manny Pacquiao Effect and Other Stories” attracts many potential readers.

“There’s one lady who told me she likes to read my book on her doctor’s appointments’ wait time,” said Gene.

Personally, I like all the stories, but if I have to pick the ones that stood out, I would choose the following: “Blueprint for a Bordello” is about holding on to one’s Faith despite the pressures and temptation to sin. “Tissue” is a light romantic story with characters Harriet and Len meeting on a train station and falling in love. “Waray Waray Nurse” focuses on a timely topic of gun control. The main character, Linda, a nurse, is a gun activist out to protect the victims of gun violence. “Kaboom” teaches us that in life, every cloud has a silver lining.

© 2017 The FilAm

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