Here's the first look at Spirit of Malaysia, an Editions Didier Millet book that I was asked to write the text for, a state-by-state overview of modern Malaysia, a good learning experience for me and a pleasant opportunity to revisit all of Malaysia, if only from my computer and via stacks of guide and reference books, after living here for twenty-five years. Amazing how much I learned, which is often the case with every book that you write.
The copyright holder of the series provided the photographs, and the layout was already done for me. Just needed to come up with the text for each section and for the photos, too. Sounds easy, but initially when writing this it gave me fits -- I was fighting it! But then I found a way to break down each section, from the economy to transportation, from background history and heritage to diving sites and tourist resorts and just stuck with it. The problem was always an overload of information from far too many sources and finding a way to distill it all down to a few paragraphs here and there. Having a deadline and a signed contract helps!
The book will make a perfect gift for those wishing to know more about Malaysia, a happy balance between fascinating and well-chosen photographs (three or four per page) and just enough background information and depth to keep it interesting, without weighing you down. At 80 pages, it's portable too, in a soft cover, so it's easy to slip into your luggage or backpack or mail overseas to your family and friends.
For advance orders you can go to Amazon. In the US it sells for $15. In Malaysia RM49.90
Finally, I'm on Amazon, if you don't count some old copies of Lovers and Strangers from the Heinemann Asia Writing Series(1993): two used from $75.23 and one collectible (an autographed copy) from $49.95.
Let's share the Spirit of Malaysia with the world.
*Here's an updated link with an e-book view of some of the photos.
** Here's also the first review.
***Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, my collection of short stories set in Malaysia.
Here are links to some of my author-to-author interviews of first novelists:
Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.
Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.
Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day.
Chuah Guat Eng, author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change.
Five part Maugham and Me series
Beheaded on Road to Nationhood: Sarawak Reclaimed—Part I