EntertainmentThe Wattpad novelist who started writing on a broken-screen...

The Wattpad novelist who started writing on a broken-screen cell phone and now has millions of readers

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She started writing on an old cell phone with a cracked screen, but now she is one of the young writers of wattpad who has received various editorial proposals to bring their stories to bookstores outside of his native country. The Colombian Angie Ocampo (El Cerrito, 1996) has managed to get her community of readers to promote her recognition and she has just presented her new book in Lima, “Backstage”.

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The 25-year-old appears to have inherited a talent for writing, as her mother wrote poems. She started as a reader on Wattpad at the age of 14, but it wasn’t until 2020 that she created her own stories, looking for an escape from the confinement she experienced due to the pandemic. Her work has been well received, to the point that her work is already published in printed format. ”It is the first time that I leave Colombia, my country, and I never thought it would be because I was going to sign my books. Not even in my wildest dreams (I thought so)”, he told us upon his arrival in Lima. This is the exclusive interview she gave to Tradewhere he also reveals his position on the prejudice of some towards “cliche” romance.

“Backstage” by Angie Ocampo

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The plot

Pop star Chelsea Cox seems to have it all. Few know that behind the glitter of fame lies a toxic relationship and a dangerous drug addiction. ORne night, when hope has already abandoned her, Isaac appears, a man with his own problems, but who could be the love she sought so much.

—Positioning yourself on a platform that has millions of stories to read has become a complicated task. How was your start on Wattpad?

I started writing two years ago because I couldn’t find what to read and I decided to publish my stories in the different Wattpad groups that were on Facebook. Almost always, people are looking for what to read because, precisely, it is a giant application and there are so many novels; sometimes the browser also gets a bit tedious. In those pages there were images or phrases that attract the reader. That’s what I used to do: leave photos or phrases in groups promoting my story. That’s how I started on Wattpad, I went from reader to writer in 2020. To this day I keep updating. Since I saw that this was serious and I started receiving editorial proposals, I said “I’m going to dedicate myself 100% to this” and, well, I’m happy.

—How did you come up with the plot of “Backstage”? What gave you the impetus to show your story to the world?

One day I was thinking about all the things I had experienced. When I told the readers my stories of youth, like the depression I suffered, we felt very close; so we were on the other side of the world. So, I said “I want to write a character that, even if she is famous, we can identify with her as a normal girl”. Chelsea is that, a girl like me and anyone else, who has insecurities, suffers crises and struggles to be happy.

“So Chelsea Cox is a reflection of yourself?” Or were you just looking to capture all the insecurities of a young woman in her?

Exactly (the second). She wanted people to identify with her. It does have very small things of mine because, of course, in the world of stardom, I have nothing to do with it, but it does have everyday things of mine. She looks in the mirror and she doesn’t like how she sees herself, she has a very fake friendship, she has a boyfriend who says he loves her, but he really doesn’t; and she (she wants) to find love despite everything.

—The ´cliché´ love stories are usually highly criticized, but it is precisely those that become the most successful, as well as “Backstage”…

Chelsea dreams of love and romance readers dream of that a lot. We love the cliche. The happy endings. Although the unhappy ones also enjoy them (laughs).

—Drug abuse is a very sensitive issue for society; however, you have found a way to show it in your book and reflect a case of overcoming it. Is it a situation you’ve seen up close?

In Colombia this problem of drug addiction is very present and I have seen how people have fallen for this; but I have also seen how others have come out and have not been overcome by this disease. I wanted Chelsea to be one of those people who inspired me to get ahead because I see it more as a metaphor for the readers. I don’t think girls today identify with this, but many girls make it their problem and can identify with it. Just as Chelsea came out, they have also fought and come out ahead. “If she can, so can I.” is the message.

Ocampo began writing his stories on Wattpad in 2020, as a way out of the quarantine that was experienced that year due to the pandemic.  (Credit: Editorial Planet)

-The backstage it becomes like the safe place in Chelsea, it’s a space where artists usually prepare. What is special for you? Why didn’t you choose -for example- the stage?

Backstage they prepare to go out into the world, to show themselves to the public. On stage, in front of other people, we appear happy, we don’t reveal what really happens because we don’t want to be pitying or bothering anyone. But sometimes we need help and organize our backstage like Chelsea does. We have to talk. In this way, she began to put her life in order and make better decisions. It’s like her safe place; although sometimes it can become dangerous if you are not careful, but it is up to each one to make it beautiful.

—“Backstage” has more than 2 million readings and at the moment you have around 100 thousand followers on Wattpad, how have you experienced the growth of your career as a writer?

I didn’t feel it because, for me, if I got 100 readers by the end of the year, I would be the happiest. I have always interacted with my readers on networks. I didn’t realize the magnitude of all this until I had my first book signing and it was a super long line.. It was very nice that they took out their time to come see me. On the other hand, “Backstage” received an editorial proposal having only five published chapters. I didn’t think it would happen so fast, or that it would be a boom. My readers surprised me again.

The long line of people that formed for Angie Ocampo's book signing in Lima.  (Credit: Editorial Planeta)

—I compared your Wattpad book with the printed version and identified certain changes that I assume were due to an issue with the structure. Also, you decided to add these song snippets to some chapters…

There were changes, but the essence remained the same. I changed the scenarios, where they meet, things happen slower, but the essence always remained the same. My readers told me they loved it. That was the most important thing. As for the songs, they were the ones that inspired me to write the chapter, that’s why they’re not in all of them. Only the songs and the phrases of these came out allusive within the same chapter.

—How do you feel about representing the Latino community, and especially Colombia, within this diverse and competitive world of digital literature?

I am too proud, because before there were Colombian authors, but not many young people or children’s literature were known. If it wasn’t for Wattpad, I wouldn’t have entered this world. What I read was what my mother proposed to me and she is not into children’s literature (she writes poems). I was the one who got to romance novels and I don’t want to leave. I am very proud. This impulse was missing so that young people continue reading.

—What did your family say to you, especially your mother who is also a writer, when the readings of stories on Wattpad began to increase?

Proud. I didn’t tell anyone, I just started writing. It wasn’t until I received the proposal for “Indestructible” (her first published book) that I decided to tell my mom that I write. She said to me “When did this happen?” and I replied “mommy, throughout the pandemic.” She is very proud.

—The recognition you have is reflected in the number of readers who follow each of your stories. What is the message you would leave them?

If you have a dream, go ahead and fight for it every day. Even if they believe that it is little, they do not know how much it is going to add to them (as people) later on. Start today, even with what little you have. Let’s be constant and persevering until life gets tired and gives us what we want.

The data

The last weekend, Angie Ocampo was in Lima to sign the books of her latest publication “Backstage” (Editorial Planeta) and about 300 people came to CosmoBook to meet one of their favorite Wattpad writers.

You can buy “Backstage” in bookstores throughout Latin America.

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Source: Elcomercio

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