Anvil to launch Kagay-anon author’s first novel: The Girl Between Two Worlds by Kristyn Maslog-Levis

Jun 28, 2016


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We bookworms in Cagayan de Oro must be proud of our city: two books by two home grown authors within the year and both overseas!


After Annie Gorra’s The Mystery on 17th Street earlier this year, now comes Kristyn Maslog-Levis The Girl Between Two Worlds, incidentally both published by Anvil Publishing Inc., the publishing arm of National Book Store (NBS).  Kagay-anons thank the people in Anvil who championed our home-grown talents like Annie and KK!


The Girl Between Two Worlds will be launched this July by Anvil Publishing. Look for it in your nearest National Book Store branch.

The Girl Between Two Worlds will be launched this July by Anvil Publishing. Look for it in your nearest National Book Store branch.

Incidentally, there’s another common thread running through these authors besides both hailing from Cagayan de Oro: they were both previously with media, Annie with broadcast and print (Newscope and Frontline Mindanao) and KK with ABS-CBN TV Patrol Northern Mindanao and some local specials by the same station. But we digress!


“The Girl Between Two Worlds” is actually KK’s third book, the first two being self-published children’s books, “The Dragon and the Lizard” and “We Have It All (A True Story).”


Kristyn's first self-published children's book - The Dragon and the Lizard

Kristyn’s first self-published children’s book – The Dragon and the Lizard

In a guest post at Kids Book Review, an online blog about children’s books(, KK relates the joys and trevails of “Self-Publishing on a Budget” as well as how the story came about.


To quote: “The reason why I wrote my book was not for publication but to preserve a family story Mama used to tell us as kids. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up so books were a scarcity. I remember a torn and tattered copy of Alice in Wonderland and that’s about it.”

“Luckily, my mother is a treasure box of stories. I was afraid to write The Dragon and the Lizard because inside I knew I might want to take it further that just a family book, and I was afraid to take it there on my own. But I couldn’t let the story die so I wrote it.”


Like her first book, KK’s second was another children’s book “We Have It All (A True Story), also self-published and can still be purchased from Amazon.


We Have It All. A True story

We Have It All. A True story

As she describes it: “Yes it is a true story…based on our childhood in the Philippines and the premise is that no matter how little you have, no matter what kind of hardships you’re going through, there is always a brighter side to things.”


“It’s about our childhood years without TV, computer games, books and toys. It’s about our childhood living in a house with only half a roof and half a floor. It’s about how happy our childhood was and how we need these reminders to see the good things about our lives today.” (Pssst…Annie Gorra, are you reading this?)



I bet a quick scan of this first effort would lead one to the present novel, like many great works which started life as a short story and eventually progressed to a full length novel.


When asked about the origins of her first novel, KK replied to me in an email:


“For the last couple of years I’ve been working on my first ever novel that included the Filipino mythology and takes it outside of the Philippines. After four years of writing, editing and pitching, Anvil Publishing picked up my book last year.” 


“I vividly remember where the concept came from. I was wondering why when Filipinos migrate to other countries we stop ‘seeing’ spirits, ghosts and monsters everywhere. I remember saying tabi apo as a child and being scared of kicking ant hills because a Nuno sa Punso might be living there. I remember freaking out when I heard bat wings because it might be a manananggal! And who wasn’t scared of the harmless banga in the corner of the house? A Tiyanak might be living in there, you never know.”


“But when I moved to Australia, all of those creatures suddenly disappeared. I stopped saying tabi apo and highways at night weren’t homes of the white lady anymore. I did feel a bit sad.”


“So I wondered, what if even after you migrate to another country, these creatures still haunt you. What if there was a Tiyanak in the park where you take your kids? What if there was a manananggal living close to your house? That was how “The Girl Between Two Worlds” was born.”


She also professed to having a “huge part of me” wanting to showcase Filipino folklore to the world.


“Those vampires and werewolves are puppies compared to our aswangs and manananggals! We grew up with very rich stories – some scarier than others. Why not share this with the world?”


With this first in a trilogy, KK hopes to “spread the wonderful fear that our stories provide.”


Anvil Publishing House has set a July release for the novel and like Annie’s Mystery on 17th Street, it will also be distributed by National Bookstore. We can only hope NBS provides sufficient copies of the book especially to its four branches in Limketkai, Centrio, Cogon and SM unlike Annie’s novel which arrived in trickles (Good thing it’s finally available in all branches).


Here’s an excerpt from The Girl Between Two Worlds as posted in the author’s Facebook page:


“The day after Karina’s sixteenth birthday, supernatural things start to happen around her and she has no idea why. Her mother, who disappeared soon after they migrated from the Philippines to America, speaks to her in prophetic dreams. Stranger still is the old man who turns up at her house one day and claims to be her grandfather, even though Karina’s mother had told her he died a long time ago.”


“Karina discovers that her mother is an engkanto princess who ran away from Engkantasia. Karina is now of age to take the throne and must do so to prevent a war between Engkantasia and the human world. She must learn to control her powers and fight a range of weird creatures trying to kill her and her family. To make matters worse, she finally meets a boy she likes and there’s something about him she can’t quite figure out.”


As for influencers, KK admits to “reading a lot of books and it wasn’t really any one person in particular.” When she finished her two self published children’s picture books “it just flowed from there. I got bitten by the writing bug and couldn’t stop,” she adds.


Please don’t! We have to have those two other books asap and we hope we don’t wait another four years for the next one!


Kristyn Maslog-Levis

Kristyn Maslog-Levis

Kristyn Maslog-Levis is a freelance journalist/photographer/editor who used to be a field reporter for ABS-CBN Cagayan de Oro and the first journalist to reach the captured rebel camp in Sultan Gumander in Lanao del Sur in 2000. She Hosted shows and wrote scripts for some of the TV specials featuring different municipalities in Northern Mindanao and festivals in Dumaguete city, and a weekly health talk show sponsored by the Department of Health

She blogs at and tweets as @kmlevis. A graduate of Silliman University, she took her Masters in Communications from Nanyang University in Singapore.





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