Joel Donato Ching Jacob’s Wing of the Locust is a fantasy novel set in pre-Hispanic Philippines that highlights the culture of indigenous Filipinos and interweaves the values of friendship and riveting action in a vibrant setting.
The story offers a rich tale of Tuan, an enthusiastic boy who escapes his mundane life to become a mambabarang. But as he dives deeper to become a person who practices the applications in espionage, sabotage, and assassinations, the young apprentice is overcome by conflicting emotions that cause him to question his new life.
Watch Joel Donato Ching Jacob as he tells us more about his book on Fully Booked Chats, August 15 at 4pm via the Fully Booked Facebook Page. This event is free to the public.
But before that interview, let’s check out some of the interesting facts about the award-winning author himself and his debut novel Wing of the Locust.
FAST FACTS: THE AUTHOR
1. Jacob’s nickname is Cupkeyk
It started out as Doughnut from Donato, but his friends thought Cupkeyk would suit him more. It eventually got even shorter, it's now just Cup.
2. His love affair with the written word started out being a problem child
He would get into trouble in school and be sent to detention which is an hour in the library after classes. He eventually read more than a hundred books, including Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Mysteries, by the time he was ten.
3. He once won a prayer writing contest
The first time Cup felt like he was going to be a writer was when he won a prayer writing contest. His love for speculative fiction also blossomed when he read fantasy novels such as J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
4. Cup left his corporate job to pursue his writing career
He did not start taking writing seriously until he was 33. Cup then left his corporate job to pursue his happiness. It took him seven years to finally publish a book of his own.
5. Just like Tuan, he struggles with body dysmorphia
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition where a person is anxious about flaws in their appearance that are often unnoticeable to others. Cup tries to overcome his aversion to his own body through tattoos. So far, he has 14 tattoos on his body.
FAST FACTS: THE BOOK
1. Cup’s debut work is an award-winning novel
Wing of the Locust has won the 2018 Scholastic Asian Book Awards (SABA) and is also a finalist of this year’s prestigious Singapore Book Awards. The winner will be announced on September 24, 2021.
2. Before it became a book, Wing of the Locust should’ve been a TV series
The book started out as a pitch for a TV series starring comedienne Vice Ganda, but ABS-CBN never called back, so instead of the storyline being shown in the small screen, Cup opted to publish it as a fantasy novel.
3. Jacob’s hometowns are highlighted in the book
Cup grew up in Cabuyao, Laguna but they eventually moved to Los Baños, Lagua, which used to be a part of Bay, pronounced bah-E, and the former capital of Laguna, formerly Ma'I.
4. The book boasts of a beautiful Philippines
Cup is a runner and a hobby mountaineer, so many of the scenic landscapes were inspired by the countryside. He also traces his ancestry to Naga in Bicol. Although he has only ever been to Naga once as a tourist, he pays tribute to his roots through Banigbanig, inspired by the serpent woman Oryol from the Ibalon.
5. Expect to read a lot about Philippine culture
Aside from the scenery, Tuan and Gilas play riddles in the story. Riddles and poetic jousts are a very important part of Philippine culture from prehistory up to Balagtasan then to present time rap battles more commonly known as Flip-Tops.