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AMAPOLA WHO ONCE RULED THE NIGHTCLUB SCENE IN SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA as the star of her own show and leader of her own band at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill, has taken a very surprising career change. Interviewed by Mack Manx of MTM-PR, Inc.

AMAPOLA WHO ONCE RULED THE NIGHTCLUB SCENE IN SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA as the star of her own show and leader of her own band at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill, has taken a very surprising career change for a reason -- "Coming Home" her first exciting novel about family and relationships was written when Amapola and British husband professional photographer Steve Woodward finally said goodbye to almost more than a decade of cruising around the world onboard some of the most luxurious ships in the business. The happy pair has now called Monticello their home base in Florida -- permanently. Amapola gave up her brand new spacious home in Fort Lauderdale and decided that Monticello is where she and husband Steve would rather be. The sleepy town suits their quest for some peace and quiet after respective years of working in the photography and entertainment business.

"She writes everyday, reads when she isn’t writing, doesn’t wear jewelry or make-up and she dons her comfortable jeans and tee which has become her daily uniform." Amapola described her new alter-ego: Author Amapola.

“NORTHERN FLORIDA is a treat and a true contrast to the weather I was getting accustomed to in Petersfield, Hampshire,” says Amapola. We were chatting when the temperature outside at five pm was at an even 98 degrees. We were comfortable in their ranch-like domicile sitting atop 1.5 acres of meadows and lawns at 78 degrees although that temperature was much too hot for someone like me. Amapola will keep the possibilities of headlining cruise ships open but said that she is preparing two books for release before the end of the year, ‘or at least one’ she chimed. She quickly gave me a glimpse of her second novel, ‘It’s titled Dawn’s Promising Skies’ and the protagonist’s name is Janeera Vivioni. The other title is “Family Jewels” with the family of five as the protagonists, well, I’m trying to make it that way but one of my characters seem to surface all the time, so he will probably become the main one.

Amapola is best remembered for her eight year reign as the only locally produced magazine variety show host in San Francisco’s Channel 20 KEMO-TV directed by veteran director Dirk Dirksen and produced by Nick Aiello and Amapola. Her co-host then was Ness Aquino, owner and operator of the famous FabMab where Amapola sang for several years as headliner.

Amapola however has set her sights higher than the category of romantic writer. She wants to write mysteries, thrillers and exciting reading for both sexes. Latent in her is the desire to write screenplays someday. She once or twice starred as leading lady to a couple of films in her mother country.

‘I had dreams of getting into films in Hollywood and thought that as long as I was talented and had the burning desire that I could easily do it. I rented a flat, built my life around finding work and realized very early on that it wasn’t that easy if you did not have connections. So, the next best thing is to write a screenplay or if nothing else, to write stories that could become screenplays. I know I’m a big dreamer but hey, nothing happens if we don’t dream, right?’ But if Amapola seriously wants to write screenplays I’ve always felt she, for all her celebrity in Asia, can do anything she sets her mind to do. After all, she had been a superstar in her own country in the late seventies to late eighties, starred in her own television and films, recorded Grammy equivalent awarded material, nominated for several awards, headlined showrooms and cruise ships, sang to international audiences in several languages and by the by, she plays eight musical instruments professionally. ‘Whew!” I said. That sounded like several lifetimes.

AS AMAPOLA hammers on her computer in the day, she also occupies herself with website designs and website architecture assignments. Graduated as CIW (Certified Internet Webmaster), she writes and designs websites mostly for close friends and relations and works with other webmasters to maintain her web of websites on the net.

AS FOR HER NOVEL, which blasts off mid August in time for summer reading, Amapola gave us a brief synopsis: “it tells the story of Little Charity Ashlyn who is losing her home for the second time as her parents go through a messy divorce due to her father’s infidelity and gambling. The emotional turmoil from these early years leaves her with the inability to trust, and her relationship with her childhood sweetheart Michael finally fails. The ensuing years see Charity in a living nightmare, lurching from one disastrous relationship to another when an unexpected event promises to reverse her wheel of destiny.” Amapola added “Fine out if Charity Ashlyn gains enough courage to see it through!”

“THIS BOOK STARTED AS A SHORT STORY that I wanted to submit to one of the British women’s magazines. I never got around to submitting any of my work as I was still working full time onboard cruise ships and was never home. I forgot about my writing until I returned after a long contract and was reminded of my short stories that I had been writing during my breaks on land. Well, I added more words and became fixated until it was too long for any short story submissions. Eventually chapters followed and my husband and mother-in-law began to encourage me to write a book. It required more effort than I thought and I was totally into it until we had to move from UK to the USA. I forgot my writing again and it wasn’t until 2001 after we bought our first home in Florida that I unearthed my unfinished manuscript inside a manila folder that I almost threw out along with other garbage. I then spent days and days of putting the fragments of my story into my computer. The skies were smiling at me too when I found an old diskette that contained some pages of my story that I forgot I had stored. It required more research than I ever imagined especially when I wanted the characters to really talk and dress like they were in the early fifties. That was fun to do and especially fun to discover a wealth of 50’s and 40’s information on the Internet. There I found the bonus in the pleasure of writing – the pleasure of research. I learned so much in my researches that I truly feel energized after a day’s work on it for my stories.

AND WHAT ABOUT HER MUSIC? Amapola hasn’t forgotten her first love. She is still slated to finish her second piano CD to follow “Coming Home”, also the title of her book and both sold as a set at her author’s website: AMAPOLA.NET. She will be finishing ten more selections for her recording and also thick in the plans of pressing her ‘Timeless’ cassette into CD for 2004 release. No, she isn’t someone who waits for her opportunities to find her. She is writing her book, finishing her CDs and looking forward to attending the Royal Palm Award ceremonies for Florida Writer’s Association where her book is one of the entries for 2003-2004.

WHEN SHE SAW MY REACTION and surprise at her full schedule in spite of putting her cruising aside, she said ‘I feel truly alive when I am busy enough to complain that I don’t have time for myself. It’s a ritual I have with myself. If I’m not complaining then it means I am not doing enough. I feel blessed that my husband and I are in good health and that we can pursue all the activities that we enjoy. Yes, in a way you could call us workaholics.’

AMAPOLA CERTAINLY DOESN’T SOUND like someone capable of having career problems during her lifetime but she has had a few. ‘In show business, your career is stunted if people are not talking about you. So, whether good or bad publicity, I welcomed it. I’ve had my share of that in my mother country (the Philippines) where we had our share of local Paparazzi and local gossip tabloids. Whatever problems I had then as a movie star was part of showbiz. I made some career mistakes early on when I was young and foolish, but I believe it was meant to be. I don’t think I’d be here talking to you as a new author if it hadn’t been for those troubled times.”

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Mack Manx
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