When are your books coming out?
This really shouldn't be a complicated question, and yet I'm having trouble remembering myself! Okay, here are the dates that I know of at this point:
Feb 2021: The Obsession
April 2021: Dial A for Aunties
Feb 2022: Untitled YA
April 2022: Untitled sequel to Dial A for Aunties
Spring 2022: Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit
Spring 2023: Untitled sequel to Theo Tan
Will the books be coming out in my country?
Oh my gosh, I hope so! I especially hope that my books will all be available in my home country, Indonesia, because then it would mean that they'd be translated to Indonesian and my family can read them.
How many sequels can we expect?
Please refer to the first question regarding my release schedule. As of now, we have a confirmed sequel for Dial A for Aunties as well as Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit. The Obsession is a stand-alone and the following YA book will also be a stand-alone.
Where do you get your ideas from?
All of my ideas have come from bits and pieces of my life. The Obsession was, sadly, inspired by my own experience with a guy who didn't respect my boundaries. Fortunately, it never got as bad as Logan's obsession, but it was scary while it lasted and I was (and am) very grateful to be able to get out of the situation unscathed.
Dial A for Aunties is a love letter to my amazing, wonderful, and completely off the wall family. I have a huge family--my father has six siblings and my mom has eight, and they're all so tight-knit. I live on the same street as many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins, and I love it! We're always up in everybody else's business and there's always a lot of drama, but when push comes to shove, we will drop everything and come to each other's aid.
In both The Obsession and Dial A for Aunties, you'll find that there's a common recurring incident: "Oops, I killed somebody!" I *love* the accidental murder trope. It is hands down my most favorite trope in the world. I live for stories about "good" people accidentally killing someone else, because that is just so rich with possibility! Whenever I get a new story idea, my first question is: But where's the murder?
Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit is an homage to the stories that I grew up reading and watching. I'm of Chinese descent, and grew up in Singapore, where I was exposed to all of the Chinese mythologies, including the fox spirit. Most stories depicted fox spirits as these conniving female spirits out to lure and harm innocent men. I always wanted to explore this trope and subvert it, and what better way than to have a fox spirit character being paired up with a headstrong boy?
How long does each book take you to write?
I am a pretty fast writer. Each of these books took about two months to draft, but they did take a while to edit. Theo Tan went through a lot of revisions, including two rewrites, before it sold. Dial A for Aunties was the fastest: It took less than two months to write and less than one month to edit before I sold it at a competitive auction. Hopefully this means that I'm improving as a writer and future books will take less and less time to write and edit. (One can hope!)
How do you deal with writer's block?
I tell myself I don't have time for writer's block. Lol! Okay, but seriously, writer's block is a legit fear of mine, which is why before I write, I outline my books as much as I can. This is where I get the blocks out of the way. Blocks happen for me when I don't know where the plot is going. So I plot. I pace around the house, talking to myself and alternating between going, "YES!" and "OH GOD THAT DOESN'T WORK ARGH!" My husband can attest to how weird I am when I'm plotting. This process can take anywhere between one to four weeks. My outlines aren't that detailed, usually about three pages long, so it leaves room for plenty of surprises and little twists that I didn't see coming, which makes the writing process fresh and fun for myself.
How long did it take you to get published?
So, so long. I graduated from my masters course in creative writing from Oxford University in 2009 and have been writing with the aim of being published ever since. The Obsession was my fifth book, but it wasn't until after I finished my eighth book that I managed to sell it. Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit was my seventh book, and it sold after The Obsession did. Dial A for Aunties was my ninth book. If you're a writer struggling to get published take heart and don't give up. Keep writing and improving your craft and you'll get there one day!