First of all, we would like to congratulate you in publishing your debut novel, THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY. What is the story about?
The Weight of Our Sky is the story of Melati Ahmad, who looks like your typical Beatles-obsessed 16-year-old except for one thing: She wrestles with a Djinn in her head, who threatens her with gruesome images of her mother's death unless she appeases him with a series of complicated counting and tapping rituals. When Mel finds herself separated from her mother amidst the chaos of the 13th May 1969 race riots in Kuala Lumpur, it will take all the grit, courage and Beatles songs in her arsenal to overcome the violence on the streets and her own escalating anxieties to make her way back to the one person she can’t afford to lose.
Where did you get the inspiration for the story and to write?
When it comes to writing, whether for fiction or nonfiction, I'm always most intrigued by omission: What stories we AREN'T reading, whose voices we AREN'T hearing. The May 13th riots have fascinated me since school days, when they were covered in two or three sterile paragraphs. I think young readers deserve to know more about our history, even in a fictionalised account like this one.
How do you get a publishing contract with Simon & Schuster. This is no easy feat especially a new author and not from the US or UK.
You'd have to ask my editor this question! There's no magic formula, no easy way to say "this is how I did it;" I wrote the best book I could, did as much research as I could, followed guidelines, asked for advice, immersed myself in the YA writing community, and prayed for good things. And no matter what happened, I just kept writing, which is the most important thing.
Are we expecting a movie adaptation in the works? ;
-) Not that I know of, but I certainly won't complain if it happens!