Saturday, April 28, 2007

Malaysia's fave fic titles and Tunku Halim interview

So it's out, Malaysia's favourite fiction titles. I must say I didn't have time for vote in this poll. But the top 10 favourite fiction books in Malaysia are:

1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (holds a proud place in my collection)
2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (read them all and loved 1,2,3,4 and 6.)
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (must get this one...I know, I know, I'm very low lit)
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (read this in Form 3 and didn't like it at that time. But love Colin Firth as Mr Darcy)
5. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (read this twice!)
6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (read Lion, Witch and Wardrobe and thought it too simplistic. But then, read it as an adult)
7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (loved the mini series!)
8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (read it in Form 2 and didn't like it much)
9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (read it in Form 2 and liked Beth the best)
10. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger (must get this)

I was particularly stoked when I read this sentence in today's Star in the same article:

"There are no books by Asian writers in the top 10, but American-Chinese Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things are in the top 20. Other Asian authors whose work was listed include Chinese author Su Tong (author of Raise the Red Lantern), Indian writer Vikram Seth, Indonesian Pramoedya Ananta Toer Azizi and V.S. Naipaul. Azizi Haji Abdullah, Shaari Isa and Xeus are the only Malaysian authors whose books made it onto some lists."

I made it to some lists! This makes all that writing worthwhile after all!!!

In the same Starmag section, there's an interview with Malaysia's very own Stephen King, Tunku Halim, and he mentioned:

Malaysian books recently enjoyed: “Lydia Teh’s Honk! If you’re a Malaysian, Xeus’s Dark City, Adibah Amin’s This End of the Rainbow and the Silverfish series (that features local writers).”

Thanks, TH! I'm glad you enjoyed our books!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

44 Cemetery Road is out!

Congrats, Tunku Halim!

I'm so stoked because TH credited me for inspiring this collection of his best, best works. I also got to see an advanced copy, and can tell you it's truly excellent. (I have an endorsement blurb for the book.) Tunku Halim, as one esteemed editor put it, combines literary elements with popular fiction, and does it with aplomb.

My favourite story is the one where TH does a semi-autobiographical account on his student life in the UK, with a dash of piquant bittersweetness, and of course, doses of horror - I won't tell you which, you'll just have to pick the book up to find out.

Bravo, Tunku Halim. Looking forward to your launch. (Can one attend a book launch in honour of the author who might be overseas?)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hee hee, this blog is reviewed on Quill

I got reviewed on Quill, together with John Ling and Ted Mahsun's blog!! (How exciting!)

The blurb says:

"The blog is dedicated to the birth of Xeus's debut novel titled Dark City. It is indeed a celebration for Xeus's book as her blog displays the thunderous support and review snippets from fellow writers, local newspapers, magazines 
and bookstores.

One reading her blog would be engrossed in her ups and downs of realising one's dream to be a writer in Malaysia. She is not shy to share personal perspectives, so prepare to be thrilled with her credible entries. Not to fall behind in the rat race of the literary scene, make sure you follow her up-to-date entries on local fellow writers, gatherings for writers, promotions from bookstores and much more!"

Wow. What a blurb. I feel guilty already for not living up to it

For example, I've been guilty of not updating this blog enough. I've been reallu busy lately, because have you ever noticed how the words seem to fly when you are nearing the end of writing your novel? I'm almost at the end of writing Billy Lang, so the chapters are really flying, all loose ends are being tied, and I'm so anxious to finish it I'm averaging one chapter a day.

Which comes to the question: How many words can you write in 1 day? 1000? 2000? 3000? When does it all turn to mush and you fell like throwing up your computer and saying, "What I'm writing is crap! This will never get published!"

How much should we aim for without alienating our family and going mad?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Would I be selling you writers out if...

...I took on this deal?

Here's the scoop. A production house has been offered a deal by a prominent station to produce a series on 3o minute twisted tales, pretty much like The Twilight Zone 
or Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories.

They came up with a lot of their own story concepts for episodes. Then they ran out of ideas and stumbled upon Dark City, which is perfect fodder for episode material.

So I'm called to negotiate.

The working title of the series is 'Dark City', but it appears the TV station would like something more Malay. They're taking 3 episodes from the book. And this is the deal they're offering me:

1. No money for rights. I'd be credited. The reason being is they said they're working on a very tight budget, and intellectual property in Malaysia is very hard to argue anyway.

2. They're asking me to write the scripts for the 3 episodes for RM 1100 each.

3. If I refuse, they'd drop these 3 episodes and go ahead with their own ideas.

I've been talking to several people. There appears to be 2 camps of thought.

Advice from the First camp (consisting of book writers, some editors, some scriptwriters) - "It's good exposure for you. Take it. You can put it in your resume and brand your book with it.
Imagine your book (and the sequels) being printed with 'Now on TV' on the front cover. Wouldn't it be wonderful branding?"

Advice from the Second camp (consisting of some scriptwriters, some CEOs of production houses)
- "Be careful. We've got stung before. They (meaning the industry) took our concepts and gave us very little for it. Then they sold the series all around the world, and we profited nothing from it. They even took our ideas and rehashed them a little, so we cannot claim intellectual property being stolen. We understand that you want branding. It's your first time. But we can help you get in touch with other production houses we've worked with, those we are sure of. We can help you pitch to them. If you want to be a scriptwriter, they're always looking for more too.
"People in the film industry have a lot of respect for published book authors, esepcially those with bestsellers. "

So, my deadline to reply is Monday. What should I do? Should I give up this opportunity and wait till other production houses get contacted and market the Dark City series in its own right? (This affects anyone who has contributed to the 2nd book as well. You may see your works on celluloid, and you would certainly want me to get a better deal for you.)

Or should I go with this opportunity, because I (and we) may never get another one again. And the other production houses might not be interested?