Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Writers Craft Online: What Is Local?

Writing a story about a foreign place or culture is a challenge. You have to immerse yourself and sit in your character's skin to make it really work. Mind you, many Mills and Boon and Harlequin authors write about all sorts of exotic places and people without setting foot outside their own kampung!

I've been thinking about this issue a lot recently because I've written a book for young teens called Mystery of the Demon Caves. It's based in Sarawak, a place where I used to live, and features 4 kids.

I don't claim to write a "Malaysian Book." My heroes and heroines are very much based on the kids I know in Malaysia but they are not iconic Iban Malaysian, Bidayuh Malaysian, Chinese Malaysian, Malay Malaysian etc etc. The plot line draws heavily on local "feel" but it's also Western because I am a European.

I'm hoping the result is a story with enough local elements so that Malaysian and other Asian kids recognise it as "home" but with enough Western elements so it sells overseas too.

Hey, let's be honest: I want this to be the first of a series that is as big as Harry Potter! And for that you need to reach kids everywhere. I'm hoping I've been able to do that.

Mystery of the Demon Caves is coming out in September in Malaysia and Singapore, published by Horizon books.

11 comments:

Simba said...

Hi. Thanks for visiting my blgo. To answer your question, the artist who made the Essex County NJ 9-11 Memorial and sculptures is Patrick Morelli, from NJ. There is some more information about it here: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-327307

A Bookaholic said...

CONGRATULATIONS ELLEN! Another book! And fiction this time! :) Can't wait to read it! :) Pls do lemme know the details of the launch yeah ;)

Au and Target said...

A launch? I think that's for famous people like Amir Muhammed. But I'll send you a copy for review - pretty please???

A Bookaholic said...

most definitely! :)i'd be honoured 2do so! looking forward to reading it!! :)

mizzyN said...

good luck!

Mishkat said...

Ellen, this sounds like wonderful story! I still read YA (young adult) books, including Harry Potter, plus some old favorites. Sometimes they are better than supposed "adult" books. Please be sure to inform us when it is published - I hope we can obtain it in the U.S.

Boo-Bah said...

Congratulations on the new book. Are your books available in the U.S.?
You are so right about the power of cats. They are quite irresistable. I am 70 and I don't think there has ever been a time in my adult life that I have not had a cat. I had many cats through my childhood too, much to the dismay of my Father.

BeadedTail said...

Congratulations on another book coming out later this year! It sounds like a great book that will appeal to young and old in many countries!

And thanks for your further explanation of the skin tax in response to my comment!

Irishcoda said...

Cool and congratulations on your book! :) I'm interested in knowing more of the details as you get closer to publishing, where it will be available, etc.

Thanks for visiting me yesterday! I am or was an interpreter for the deaf for over 20 years. I loved it and miss it a lot!

Ginger Jasper said...

Sounds like a winner to me. I will look forward to seeing more. Congratulations.. Hugs GJ xx

Cat-in-Sydney said...

My dear Au,
I agree wif u 500%. Dogs are not self cleaning units, unlike us. purrr....meow!