Twists in the tale

> Au­thor Salleh Kausari’s in­ter­ac­tive Mis­teri Mimpi Yana of­fers read­ers a choice of 15 dif­fer­ent end­ings

The Sun (Malaysia) - - THE RIGHT READ -

Choose Your Own Ad­ven­ture

“Let me give you an ex­am­ple,” Salleh ex­plains.

“A boy walks into a gar­den and sees a cat. If he ap­proaches the cat, that is [choice] num­ber one.

“If he doesn’t, then there will be other op­tions, cre­at­ing the next al­ter­na­tive, and so forth.”

He ad­mits that it may take time for new­bies to get used to the me­chan­ics of an in­ter­ac­tive novel like his, such as tak­ing time to de­cide which op­tion to take, and even flip­ping back and forth through the pages.

“Once they get the gist of it, read­ing will be a to­tally dif­fer­ent kind of ex­pe­ri­ence, and multi-di­men­sional,” he adds.

One won­ders if his lead char­ac­ter Yana is based on any­one he knows.

“Yana is a fic­tional char­ac­ter,” he says. “The more I wrote about her, the more [the char­ac­ter] evolved. “Yana is a re­flec­tion of ev­ery one of us. We are al­ways faced with choices in life and we al­ways try to fig­ure out the best choice to make. “I be­lieve the wrong choice in life is not tak­ing any ac­tion at all. That is when some­one is stuck on the same page in his book of life.” In the book, Yana al­ways has sur­real dreams when­ever she sleeps. Some­times, the dreams are beau­ti­ful and some­times, they are dark. After­wards, Yana will try to in­ter­pret the dream. One won­ders if the au­thor has the same is­sue as his lead char­ac­ter. “I do dream, but my sit­u­a­tion is not [as bad] as hers,” he says. Laugh­ingly, he re­calls one dream where he shared a ta­ble with the late, leg­endary P. Ram­lee. “I am still in­ter­pret­ing the mean­ing be­hind this dream,” he adds. “Per­haps, the dream is telling me that I should write movie scripts like P. Ram­lee. “Writ­ing scripts

Sumpa­han Ling Chi, about a pro­fes­sor who gets tan­gled with a haunted arte­fact from China.

His next book is a hor­ror col­lab­o­ra­tion called Pulau, which he co-wrote with Naim Tamd­jis and Ilya Ab­dul­lah. Each au­thor pro­vides one story, which takes place on a haunted is­land.

Salleh feels the in­ter­net has opened up new pos­si­bil­i­ties for writ­ers like him to share sam­ples of their writ­ing be­fore pub­lish­ing the novel.

“It helps me gauge the re­sponse and gets feed­back from the read­ers,” he says.

“I could im­prove the writ­ing and my fin­ished novel will be a much bet­ter ver­sion.

“[But] what’s suc­cess­ful in so­cial me­dia is not al­ways suc­cess­ful with a pub­lisher, be­cause pub­lish­ers may have their own opin­ion and cri­te­ria.”

Salleh also warns of the pos­si­bil­ity of the idea be­ing pla­gia­rised once it’s posted on­line be­fore the novel is re­leased in the mar­ket.

When asked what’s the great­est chal­lenge he’s faced as a writer of fic­tion in Malaysia, Salleh says: “The mar­ket for Malay [lan­guage] books is [very much] limited to Malayspeak­ing coun­tries com­pared to English books.

“More ef­forts should be made to trans­late th­ese nov­els into English, and pro­mote them in the global mar­ket.

“I be­lieve our lo­cal books are good enough for the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.”

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