Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shamini's Success!

Here's another local author to give a big cheer to. Malaysian born, Singapore resident Shamini Flint has bagged a three book publishing deal with British publisher Little, Brown. (See article from Straits Times below and click up to full size.)

Here's the press release for the first of the books to be published under the Piatkus imprint :
A MALAYSIAN MURDER

By Shamini Flint

On death row for the murder of her ex-husband, Chelsea Liew fears never seeing her children again. She’s used to being in the headlines – beautiful Singaporean model, swept off her feet by Malaysian heir to a timber fortune; Chelsea Liew knocked about by millionaire husband; Chelsea and Alan in custody battle over children – but never before has she felt so tortuously exposed.

When Inspector Singh is sent from his home in Singapore to Kuala Lumpur to solve Alan Lee’s murder, he isn’t ready for the cultural and religious conflicts that transpire from such a high-profile case. But it is the conflicts within the Liew family that really test Singh’s judgment to its limit. His hunch says that Chelsea is innocent, but just how is he to prove this? And if Chelsea didn’t murder her ex-husband, then how is Inspector Singh, with the Malaysian police working against him, going to discover who did?

This is the first in an exciting and innovative new crime series, with each story set in a different Asian city. Shamini Flint has created an exceptionally endearing hero in Inspector Singh, who can only be described as the Asian Morse. Next stop Bali, then Singapore – this is a truly commercial series with enormous global appeal.

Shamini Flint began her career in law in Malaysia and worked at an international law firm in Singapore, travelling extensively around Asia. She has also taught law at the National University of Singapore. Shamini has written numerous children’s books including ‘Jungle Blues’ and ‘A T-Rex Ate my Homework’. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed ‘Sasha’ series of children’s travel books. She lives in Singapore with her husband and two children.

Imprint: Piatkus
Publication date: early summer 2009
US rights: diane.spivey@littlebrown.co.uk
Translation rights: andy.hine@littlebrown.co.uk
I got to know Shamini through her aunty Usha (who was one of the first friends I made in Malaysia, back in Raub in 1984!) and her mum, Lizzie.

Shamini actually came to me with the manuscript of the first crime novel, Partners in Crime, which she was intending to self-publish (and did) and I gave her some feedback on what was a generally a well-written novel. The best piece of advice I gave her was to bring into the foreground her wonderful detective, Inspector Singh, who in the first draft was languishing in the shadows somewhat, with egg on his tie.

I'm thrilled to bits that Singh (whom I really feel very fond of!) will now be taking a much wider audience by storm. (The dedication on the left means a lot to me.)

Shamini launched a second novel Partners in Crime, at the Singapore's Writer's festival in December. I suspect that this is the same book as A Malaysian Murder.

She had pitched the idea of a crime series set in this part of the world to publishers before, but was rejected. Having two self-published novels under her belt certainly helped her secure a five figure deal at the London Bookfair.

What Shamini has, I think, is the absolute determination to succeed even with odds stacked against her. (Make a note of that, guys. This is what it takes.)

As the article mentions, Shamini, a lawyer in a previous life who began writing and publsihing because it was a job she could fit in around being a full-time mum, is also the author of some excellent children's books - (I especially love Jungle Blues with its beautiful William Blake style tiger who accidentally jumps into a pot of indigo dye.)

We will be seeing her at Readings@Seksan soon ... most probably October. Meanwhile you can check out her website for Sunbear Publishing (for the children's books) and Heliconia Press (for the adult books).

5 comments:

BorneoExpatWriter said...

Congrats,
Great news. Another breakout and from someone born and living here, too. Gives the rest of us hope that we don't have to be based overseas, even for expats, like myself. Just requires hard work (writing and revising!), self belief (that you have the talent and a good story), and persistence (staying forcused on your goal and never giving up).

Already I'm inspired to dust off my two Malaysian novels.
Thanks!
Robert Raymer
Lovers and Strangers Revisited

bibliobibuli said...

you're so right, Robert. i think that going to the London book fair (and maybe other bookfairs) around the world really helps. we need to find ways of promoting local books.

i think the other thing to bear in mind is that asia now is probably the biggest market for books - economies and populations are growing. this market will favour (perhaps) books which have an asian connection.

Anonymous said...

Sharon,

Thanks so much for this wonderful write-up. I didn't know you and Aunt Usha go back to Raub days!

For those of you on the brink of giving up - I've been there many times - just please keep going ... Malaysian writers can do it!

Best wishes,

Shamini

bibliobibuli said...

hi Shamini - well am inspired by your story and by your determination.

yes, usha was my neighbour a few doors down in raub. we used to meet and chat when the roti man came. i sometimes went to their house. francis was always wanting to mend the broken stuff in our rented house. i introduced the boys to dr. seuss.

years later we lost touch and then found each other again through another bahai lady who was doing a placement test at the british council language centre.

and then another coincidence - one day i was in my friend mercy's car and we were passing bangsar utama and i said "i have a friend who works in that travel agents there" and she said "so do i" and we both discovered usha was a friend in common. mercy and usha of course knew each other from kuantan.

years later we also found ourselves working on the first litfest

so it seems she was a friend fate wanted me to have!

Anonymous said...

Indeed... but she has a good last name.