Interview with Charissa Ong Ty!

1. You told in the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival that you got your heart broken and that’s when you find the courage to start writing Midnight Monologues, on the process of writing the poems did you ever find yourself moving on little by little and how was it?

Yes, it’s actually my method of coping. You can observe it, by the way, I structure my poems in my book, from Lost (where I lost my love), Found (when I found a new love for myself and my current love) and Hope (when I realised that there’s more to life than just romantic love, so I focused on love for the people around me and my current goals and aspirations as a person – very much like finding oneself)

2. What was the hardest part in the process of making your poetry book?

It’s printing and distribution. No one in my direct circle of friends or family has much knowledge in this industry. So, my mother and I had to figure it out on our own by asking a lot of questions and learn through trial and error.

3. You mention in the previous event that you want to change your country for the better, where did you get that drive to change something for your people and for your country?

I’m an avid reader, and when I just started out with my book, I sought to advise from people who had published books before. I was told that majority of the Malaysians do not like reading and many do not see the importance of English in their lives. I read that an average Malaysian reads less than one book a year (I don’t know how true that is but I shall base it on my personal observation) and It’s quite disheartening. People from Instagram asked if I was an American or Singaporean because I had good English. They said that people from my country that are fluent in English are rare. I want to change that perception.

4. What do you think is the biggest challenge of Poetry Authors in the bookish community?

Finding your own distinctive style that differentiates yourself from another.

5. If you are going to date someone, fictional or not, dead or alive, who would it be? Why and what are you going on your date?

I’d just date my current boyfriend haha. Knowing someone new all over again takes a lot of time and energy.

6. Describe Midnight Monologues in ten words!

Concise heart-wrenching words that hold special meaning to different people.

7. Who are Charissa Ong Ty five years in the past?

I was in my 2nd-year degree in Interactive Media Design. I had goals that were small and achievable and didn’t dare to dream too big. I was just doing the best I could in what I knew then.

8. If you are going to give an advice to your 10-year-old self, what would it be?

“Start reading. I know you might hate reading now, but I promise you that you’ll love it. You don’t have to wait for Twilight to debut to give it a try. Come on.”

9. Given a chance to teach the world, what lesson would you want to impart to everyone?

The attitude of learning. Once they have that, they can teach themselves anything they’d like to learn.

10. What is your favorite quote in your poetry book and why is that your favorite line?


“Why do you believe in me?

“Cause it’s awesome. You should try it sometime.”

It’s at the back of my book cover. It’s my favorite because it’s beautiful to have someone have faith in the potential you can’t see in yourself.


15280447.jpgCharissa Ong published her first English Poetry and Short Stories book in 2016. #MidnightMonologues is the finalist for the International Book Awards 2017 for both Best Cover Design and Poetry categories. It has also been MPH’s Best Books of 2016 and remained in the Best Sellers list for a year.

It is now available in Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines.

She is now working on a second book, Daily Dialogues and is planning to publish it in 2018.


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