Monday, September 11, 2006

Klue interview




INTRODUCING XEUS

The denizens who inhabit Dark City, the first collection of stories by local author Xeus, are stabbed, raped, buried alive in coffins and mysteriously disappear. These are undoubtedly “twisted Malaysian tales”, as the suitably lurid cover pronounces, set in a nameless, Asian city that reads a lot like ours.

Xeus’s debut effort has proven a hit among lovers of psychological thrillers. The book has sold close to a whopping 2,000 copies in a mere three months, which by local standards, is sensational. And by a newcomer to boot, who took the plunge into the publishing industry after 11 years of freelance writing for newspapers and magazines.

I didn’t know anything about the publishing world. The agent was recommended to me by a friend, and almost immediately, four publishers wanted to publish Dark City,” she explains.

Not surprisingly, she professes a fondness for the macabre. “I read everything, even chick lit. But I’ve always gravitated towards writing about the strange and disturbing things that go bonk in our world,” says the mysterious author, who assumed her nom de plume to keep her full-time career outside the publishing world separate from her fiction pursuits.

She can now also add “banned author” to her CV. The Singaporean National Library refused to stock the book due to its explicit content. “It was too sexual for them! We pointed out that they stock many Western books with exactly the same content, but apparently, they won’t do the same for Asian books,” she explains. The book, however, is available for sale at bookstores.

That touch of notoriety should only help spur sales. The book is heading towards a second printing, with a Malay translation currently in the works which will mark her entry into that lucrative market. In the meantime, she’s already working on her follow-up, a children’s book. Kids, beware!

11 comments:

Ted Mahsun said...

Haha! I like the pic! But so hard to read the text la...

Xeus said...

I know, I told my husband. When I maximized it, I still couldn't read the words. He'll do a hi-res scan for me. If not, it's back to the typing board :(

Lydia Teh said...

Wah, look so mysterious lah with the sunglasses and cap. Next time you do a reading, you should wear the sunglasses and cap. Seriouslah. If you have a leather jacket, lagi best.

Xeus said...

OK lah....I will do so. But you better come lah, otherwise shylah

Argus Lou said...

That's a great pic, Xeus. Nice smooth shoulder, too, ahem. I wouldn't have known it was you (don't mean to say your left shoulder was usually rough, lah, heh heh). Did you get your eyebrows coloured in?

Yeah, I agree with Lydia -- appear like that in your future author talks/readings/signings. It'd feed people's curiosity nicely.

bibliobibuli said...

yeah - love the image - very sexy and mysterious!

first time i saw you at mph thought you looked much too demure to write suspense

funny how the writer takes on a persona. enjoy it, girl.

Xeus said...

Argus, maybe they photoshopped my shoulder and took away all the rough spots :) I left my eyebrows in their natural shade. Pic was taken in my garden actually, luckily I had just threaded my eyebrows.

Bib, you're not the only one. A lot of people are very taken aback I'm a woman in the first place. Then when they get used to it, they ask, "How come a ncie girl like you writes such terrible stuff?"

Argus Lou said...

Bib, sorry to Tipex your illusion. She might have a girlie side but Xeus is NOT demure!

Xeus, that's a hilarious quote! "... nice girl like you writes terrible stuff..."

Lydia Teh said...

Xeus, out with the demure, in with the wild! Just for Dark City.

Xeus said...

Hmmm, gals, then when you come for the reading, you'll also have to wear dark glasses, just like the Men in Black.

Argus Lou said...

Yeah, Xeus, you will flash a camera and we will all forget we have to go home to cook and serve children/dogs and husbands, etc. Then we take a ship to outerspace to canoodle with dishy aliens and read their literature. Heh.