Face it, the shelves (physical and online) are overwhelmed with urban fantasy stories all set in the Northern Hemisphere. Jim Butcher, Simon Greene, Charles de Lint, Kelley Armstrong, to name a few. And these are the more well-known names in the urban fantasy genre.
I looked hard for stories set in Southeast Asia (and I dared to hope – Singapore). Found none. Zilch. Nadah. Granted that Liz Williams wrote something about Singapore Three, but I wanted something I could connect to. Something I wanted to see.
[I was more ambitious. I wanted to see urban fantasy stories set in Singapore by Singaporean authors (or Southeast Asia). Nope. Maybe I was living under a boulder...]
So, as a challenge, I hammered out a novel for Nanowrimo 2009. I had just given birth, my baby was two months old (and still needed my full-on attention). Writing a novel, an urban fantasy set in Singapore? Never!
But I did.
Wolf At The Door was born then, a story of sisters, werewolves in Singapore and love lost, interwoven with a complex tapestry of people, traditions, cultures and backgrounds. I drew heavily from what I knew: my Chinese heritage, who-I-am. The wolves are part of a diaspora, descendants of migrants and straddle many worlds. Trying to ilk out a living in a fast-paced and pragmatic country who exists on trade. The wolves are hunters. They need to hunt. The wolves are closely-knit. They need their packs around them. In short, they are like the humans they pretend to be 99% of the time. Throw in the other non-human races from Southeast Asian and Asian traditions – and you get an unique picture.
I wanted to break out from the mould of “sexy ____ hunter/slayer”. Why not a mother, a married woman and a daughter? What kind of problems would she encounter in the story? So, I wrote.
I ranted, I raved and I finally crossed the 50k marker.
2010 rolled in and I made the decision to submit it to publishers. Could it sell? Would people buy it?
Would people care?
Imagine my joy when I got the contract from Lyrical Press. I danced a happy dance in the study room and then got down to the serious business of editing, while I struggled (and still struggle) with my doubts. Would people read it? I know that the US, UK and Australian SFF scenes are pretty insular. Would someone else from Southeast Asia really matter to them?
No, I write for myself and my readers.
More to come while I work out my thoughts, my writing process.