Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Interview with Chua Kok Yee!

Here's from author Chua Kok Yee of 'News from Home' fame. He also write 'The Penalty' for Dark City 2, which has been highly acclaimed.

1. What inspired you to write?

I have strong inclination towards creative pursues like drawing and writing since I was young. In my younger days, I spent more time drawing and doodling than writing. Actually, I didn’t start writing with an intention to produce any stories in word form. It was supposed to be brief plot and synopsis for my comic stories. It was during that process I accidentally discovered the joy of writing, and I have been addicted to it since. Besides, writing is a very therapeutic activity against the stress and pressure of corporate life.

2. Without giving too much away, how did you get the idea for your story, 'The Penalty'?

The idea came from the famous Michael Chong of the MCA Public Complaint Bureau. Not directly from the man, of course, but from those numerous news reports on loan sharks and their victims. It made me wonder why there are still so many people out there that resorted to Ah Longs despite the repeated warnings from the authority. I was also wondering about the reaction of the ‘ah longs’ to these reports. In a way they are the ‘victims’ too because the debt was a consensual business agreement between two parties. Yet, the borrowers went crying wolf when they defaulted on the loans! That was how the seed of the story was planted inside my head.

3. You have a book out, 'News from Home'. Can you tell us more about it?

News From Home is an anthology of short stories from three new authors; Shih-Li Kow, Rumaizah Abu Bakar and me. Each writer contributed ten stories in this collection, and the book is the first book to carry the Silverfishbooks’ ‘Malaysian Literature in English’ sticker. The thirty stories of various genres would introduce the readers to each author’s own distinctive voice and style. It’s available on all major bookstores or you can get it online via www.silverfishbooks.com

4. Which authors inspire you? Which genre do you prefer?

Stephen King, Haruki Murakami and Neil Gaiman. I like stories with a touch of supernatural or fantasy.

5. Do you have any advice for budding authors?

First advice is to read a lot. The second advice is to cut down the talking about writing, and spend more time actually doing it. Lastly, do have thick face and open mind to accept criticisms.