Tell us briefly about your story in the book, and what is the inspiration behind it?
My story focuses on the downfall of a politician and his links to a toyol housed in an old mansion belonging to his dead father. Setting-wise, I drew inspiration from a visit to Kelantan. Over there, in its far northeast, all sense of boundaries started to blur and any story could seemingly come to life. There are some elements of Edgar Allan Poe in it, as well as Dain Iskandar Said’s ‘Bunohan’.
What is the most difficult part of writing that story?
Creating the atmosphere. I wanted to create a quiet, lurking sense of horror at the inevitability of the main character’s fate. Also, I had to draw a balance between sensationalizing the toyol’s powers/appearance and letting it remain elusively mysterious.
What can the reader expect from you in the near future? Is there any book/story/work coming out soon?
My first novel, Kings of Petaling Street, was published by Fixi London earlier this year, and features crime lords, assassins, fallen policemen, and ambitious politicians. It’s a very noirish story set in Kuala Lumpur, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. I’m also the creative nonfiction editor of the Vancouver-based Ricepaper magazine, and I write an article each month on various topics including travel, food, and opinion pieces.