Twists in the tale
> Author Salleh Kausari’s interactive Misteri Mimpi Yana offers readers a choice of 15 different endings
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.”