I am back and bearing gifts! This August, there will not be one but TWO separate short story anthologies with my name on them! My short story “Restless” is published in Terrerbooks’ Remang: An Anthology of Ghostly Tales whereas another short story, “Shame”, is published in Matahari Books’ The Tudung Anthology.
It just occurred to me that both of these short stories are wildly different from each other. “Restless” is a horror/fantasy story that revolves around repetitive dreams, guilt and a national tragedy. “Shame” is a literary fiction about two young women handling our society’s heavy expectations against Malay Muslim women with wearing and not wearing the hijab. On the other hand, both stories handle much darker and heavier themes than my first published short story, “Beloved”, which is a fluffy coming-of-age romance! So, honestly, I have no idea how people are going to respond to either of my new short stories. But I think these two stories do show what I’m currently interested in writing, which are horror, fantasy and literary fiction.
To say that I’m excited is an understatement. Sure, every chance in getting published is a great moment for any new writer. However, last year, not only was I not published in anything else, following my debut short story in 2015, I was hardly writing, too. In fact, I was almost convinced that I will never see my name in print again, thinking that “Beloved” was just a lucky break. Having one published short story does not guarantee that you will have another one. In fact, the pressure is even higher for me to follow up that success and to show I have what it takes.
I had to clamber over a lot of insecurities and simply fall in love with writing fiction again without any expectations for public recognition. That took a while, I have to admit, but everything takes time. You have to trust the process. Also, I had to learn the art of facing rejections and rewrites. I mean, “Shame” was initially written for and subsequently rejected by Fixi Novo’s Flesh anthology. Looking back, I’m glad that happened because The Tudung Anthology is the perfect home for this short story! With “Restless”, this short story almost didn’t see the light of day at all, mainly because of the indie publisher’s newly minted status. After a few hurdles here and there, the book is finally published almost two years later. Heck, I heard that Remang is already in stores today! Both short stories went through more rewrites than I could count.
Now, I just want to celebrate! So, I hope you could join me and my fellow other writers for the book launch of these anthologies in the next coming weeks! Below are some details that you can check out:
19 August 2017
2 – 3pm
Publika, Kuala Lumpur
The launch for The Tudung Anthology coincides with the KL Alternative Bookfest 2017 and Arts for Grabs weekend so there are other book-related events there as well! I will be a part of a panel of 10 other writers from the anthology for book signing and discussion.
26 August 2017
Silverfish Books, Bangsar
Although this is not necessarily a book launch, mainly because Remang has already been distributed to all major stores including Kinokuniya and MPH, this is the first event with all the writers involved! I’m in good company with the likes of Tunku Halim, Heidi Shamsuddin, Terence Toh, Rumaizah Abu Bakar and many other familiar names in the local short story publishing scene. You can also read my two cents about writing horror and interviews of other writers on Remang‘s main website.
I hope to see you there!