Yesterday theSun published my interview withe Malaysian author Syaihan Syafiq. Here is the full article
Headline: From One To Three
By Bissme S
When Syaihan Syafiq came out with his first novel, Bisik, three years ago, he did not plan for a trilogy.But the thriller turned out to be such a hit – selling over 12,000 copies– that he was prompted to come out with a sequel, Koyak, in late 2013.
Bisik centres on a young man named Mikeal who is traumatised after watching best friend Amran accidentally falling to his death from the balcony of their apartment.
Syaihan said Bisik had a definite conclusion but as readers and the publisher were keen for a sequel, so Koyak was born. The second book picks up on Mikeal’s story and tells how the slowly recovering young man is being driven mad again by someone out for revenge.
This Kota Baru-born author has also written a definite ending for Koyak which sold some 8,000 copies. But his publisher suggested the ending should have a cliffhanger for the possibility of a third book in this series. That is how the trilogy came about, with the recently-completed M, the latest saga on the disturbed Mikeal. The book will be on sale at the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair at Putra World Trade Centre from April 24 to May 4, along with reprints of the first two books in the trilogy with new covers.
Syaihan thinks the letter ‘M’ is an apt title for the third book as it encapsulates the series in its entirety. He says the main character’s name, Mikael, starts with M and also that various Malay words such as ‘mati’ (death) starts with this letter.
Though this hints at the possibility that this will be the last book he will write about Mikeal, he says: “Then again, you can never predict the future.Who knows, several years from now, I might revisit the story and write a fourth book on it!”
Syaihan believes the title [M] also allows readers to interpret the book according to their own perception.
“This interpretation will create a sense of involvement from the
readers,” he says.
When asked what motivated him to be a novelist, Syaihan says: “My father was a graduate of Creative Writing, so informally, I grew up surrounded by literature. I was exposed to writing
from an early age.I sent my stories the school magazine and other publications but they weren’t picked up.It kind of dampen my spirit for a bit, thinking that I was not a good writer.”
But his interest in writing was rekindled when he went to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in 2008 to study TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language).
Wanting to explore his passion in writing as well as fulfil the semester’s credit requirements, he took up Creative Writing in Bahasa Melayu as an elective.He enjoyed his writing
experience so much that he decided to explore it as a career option.
“My lecturer was very supportive and that helped nurture my interest in writing even further.”
Syaihan adds that he is open to both criticism and praise for his books.
“For me, the criticism given by my readers and reviewers not only helped in pointing out what is wrong with my writing, but also helped me to understand that we can never satisfy everybody in this world. I have had some harsh criticism regarding my first book, pointing out several flaws that I had previously overlooked.
“Therefore, for my following books, I have made a note on what to avoid, what to improve on, and what to study, so that I will grow as a writer.
“As for the compliments, it definitely made my day knowing that the time and effort I put in have being acknowledged and appreciated.”
Syaihan, who is currently based in Penang, has just started on a new novel which has a supernatural theme. It revolves around a man who receives a letter from his dead wife. So far, he has completed three chapters of this latest tale.
|The author is writing his fourth novel|
|the new cover of Bisik... his first novel|
|The new cover of Koyak...the sequel to the Bisik|
|His lates novel M...|