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A new paranormal book intertwines the delightful sensation of "kilig" with important themes like mental health, education, and poverty.

Keira Viresse's latest work, "My Girlfriend is a Manananggal," follows Thirdy, a rich but miserable man whose life takes a turn when he is saved from a near-death experience by Maria, a beautiful manananggal woman.

To show his gratitude, Thirdy offers to hire Maria as his housekeeper and support her college education, despite being aware of her supernatural abilities.

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The story is a classic boy-meets-girl tale, but Viresse attempts to distinguish the book from others by reflecting on social issues of the modern world.

She incorporates her own experiences as a student and a full-time Mathematics teacher, especially in Maria's character. Like Viresse, the female lead greatly values education and perceives it as a means to uplift herself and her family from poverty.

"What we write can be drawn from different inspirations and experiences we encounter in our daily lives, whether from something that seems so mundane like the everyday commute or from something so pivotal like how a person changed another’s life," she tells Metro News Central.

Additionally, she draws inspiration from the Filipino folktale "Pedro and the Witch." In this tale, a manananggal captures a boy named Pedro and makes him her housekeeper. When she runs out of other children to prey upon, she tries to devour Pedro.

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For Viresse, retelling and reimagining Filipino folklore and mythologies are vital not only to preserve them but also to inspire younger audiences to enrich literature.

“Philippine mythology and folklore are close to my heart because I am a Filipino and because we should support our own,” she says.

This isn't Viresse's first work inspired by local folklore and mythology. Her short story, “The Debate at the Yakal Library,” was published in "Liwanag: Mga Bagong Alamat," an anthology by 8Letters Bookstore and Publishing.

She also published her first novella, "Her Best Friend’s Birthmark," in 2022.

"My Girlfriend is a Manananggal" is part of "Manananggal in the City," a nine-piece book collection that offers a fresh perspective on Filipino folklore. All these books were self-published with the support of Pinoy Indie Authors, a community of local writers established earlier this year.

To learn more about Viresse's work, visit https://linktr.ee/keira_viresse or contact Pinoy Indie Authors on Facebook.


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