- Don, you are currently working on a thriller series. Please share with us a bit more about this….
This is an exciting thriller about a teenage girl named ERIKA LIND, who drops out of military school when she learns that someone murdered the supervisor of the orphanage where she used to live. She returns to Vrålland, where she grew up, because she has many questions about her past and her dead parents. She desperately wants to put an end to the confusion that plagues her, but more and more she realises that this can only happen if she tracks down the murderer and helps to solve the case.
Unlike my other books so far, this is my first series aimed at older readers, the same audience as books like The Hunger Games series.
2. You started Super Cool Books after conversations with your two boys and they are also quite involved in your works. Tell us a little bit of how things got started.
It began back in 2011 when my eight-year-old son became a big fan of the Beast Quest books from the UK. In trying to help him find other suitable fantasy titles to read, I grew to enjoy the genre. But one thing I noticed, I came across very few fantasy books for young readers that were based on Asian characters, or inspired by Asian legends.
And then I met the publisher at Select Books in Singapore, while working on another book project. We talked about developing an exciting fantasy series for kids. This would be set in Singapore and feature lots of references to the local culture and history.
So one day my two sons and I actually sat down to turn all the story ideas into an actual series concept. It took a few drafts to refine the manuscript. The result: Book One of the TIME TALISMAN series, titled The Secret of Monk’s Hill. And that was how Super Cool Books started! The TIME TALISMAN will be reissued soon as exclusive content on our Super Cool Books iPad app.
3. Can you share with our readers and parents what are your stories about? What are also some titles that they can get started with?
Most of my stories are created around brave and curious young people who are forced to face fantastic challenges.The good characters are really fun to follow, and the bad characters are fascinating to observe.To satisfy even the most reluctant readers, the plots are fast-paced and packed with surprises, sometimes spiced up with a tasteful dose of magical action.
As a storyteller working in the world today, the deeper mission is to create reading experiences that encourage girls and boys to be independent, help them face their fears, handle disappointment, be led by their own curiosity, find their own path in life, and use their talents for the good of their community.
Parents can start by reading our SHERLOCK HONG series, which has three books so far: The Immortal Nightingale, The Peranakan Princess and The Scroll of Greatness. And after that, try the TIME TALISMAN series.
4. When and what occasions did you realise that writing and publishing would become your trade?
Haha, that’s a tough question.I see myself more like a “story uncle” who entertains readers and has a distinctive style that grows on you and makes you want to come back and read more. And thanks to the internet, I can really do away with all the industry layers for now and focus on creating and distributing captivating storyworlds.
5. Who are some writers that make you think about writing and have inspired you in some way?
Tough question! I read all sorts of stuff, from history books to comics to folk tales to movie scripts. When I was a kid I loved the Three Investigators series, and also the stories by Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers, The Man In The Iron Mask, etc). I do think their influences show in my stories. I’m also inspired by other creative formats like music and magic.
I totally admire David Blaine the illusionist, because he can create profound performances out of the most basic items.
And I also like listening to Metallica when I write, their beats and riffs influence the pacing and rhythm of my sentences.
6. Super Cool Books can be found on digital platforms such as the Super Cool Books App and some of the books has digital features on Layar App. What is the reality of digital publishing and popularity with readers today?
There are many forms of digital publishing. It ranges from something as simple as creating a PDF of your work and sharing this online, to developing all sorts of elaborate interactive features that your readers can use to enjoy your story and also connect with other readers.
Most of the ebook platforms (particularly Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iBooks) are not available in Singapore yet. But in countries where they are already established, book lovers are adapting really well and devouring e-books at a furious pace.
Check out our collaboration with Super Cool Books and Brain Bytes here: http://www.98ft.co/portfolio-item/clic-sentul-raya-launch-kuala-lumpur/