I met Singaporean author Melanie Lee at a writing workshop years ago, and we’ve been writing buddies ever since. She has recently published her first collection of short stories: ‘Imaginary Friends‘. I loved her book launch and you can see some of it here!
I’ve loved reading these voice-y tales which end with a snappy ‘moral’ — a somewhat snarky word of wisdom for all of us who fall in love, work, and interact in the modern society. For instance, her story Herman the Hopeless Hippo ends with the cautionary note: If you fall for a mama’s boy, you’ll need to have a lot of patience.‘ After cheering her on at her book launch last week, I got together with her for an interview. If you have more questions for Melanie, drop a line in the comments!
1. Tell us a bit about your fiction writing journey.
I remember writing a copious amount of fairytales at 6 years old about princes and princesses. But that habit faded away when I started going to school, and it was pummeled into me that I had to write more seriously and logically for English assignments. There was this fictional vacuum for many years till my mid ‘20s, when I attended a short creative writing course for fun while doing my Master’s degree in Melbourne. I actually don’t remember what I learned from that course, but
it was an important experience because it made me realise that there were all these possibilities to create wonderful new worlds and characters with words. From then on, I began to write short stories and poems for fun, but only really had more guts to show/submit them in recent years.
2. What gave you the idea for your book, ‘Imaginary Friends‘?
I decided that I wanted to take part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge (this wonderful writing event was introduced to me by none other than Damyanti, whom I regard as a writing mentor even though she tells me I’m being ridiculous). Someone said something about how it was good to have a theme for this challenge so as to have more focus. I thought I’d revisit this idea of imaginary friends because I had quite a few of them when I was young!
3. What is the target audience for your book?
I wrote these stories with no target reader in mind. My publisher positions it as a “kidult” book –something young-at-heart adults might like. But then, some kids as young as 6 have been telling me they enjoy the stories in the book. I actually think it’s more of a “target personality” – the book is suitable for people who love to laugh, perhaps are slightly cynical and are not opposed to sleeping with stuffed toys.
4. Each of your stories has a ‘moral’, tell us a bit about that.
I thought it was a fun and snappy way to conclude each story. But looking back, I guess they are lessons I’ve learned from life thus far. However, they’re not meant to be taken too seriously. I like it when readers tell me they got different “lessons” from a particular story, because really, there are so many ways to look at this world.
5. Which is your favorite character in the book, and the favorite story?
My favorite character in the book is Olivia the Overachieving Octopus. In general, I’m partial towards efficient personalities because there’s a lot of flakiness in this world these days. I like Elly the Egotistical Eraser story the best because I used to have a whole “stationery family” (with names) in my pencil case and I always wondered about the conversations they had when I was not around.
6. Can we have a taster, a link to one of your stories?
Sure, I shared my Timmy the Tenacious Teabag story on T Ching (a tea website) which you can read here.
7. Where can we buy ‘Imaginary Friends’?
If you’d like to buy the print edition of Imaginary Friends, you can buy it from MPH Online (they do international deliveries). If you’re from Singapore or Malaysia, Imaginary Friends is available at MPH and Kinokuniyabookstores. You can find the ebook at Amazon and Kobo.
Bio: Melanie Lee is a freelance writer based in Singapore. She does a mix of editorial, corporate and creative writing.
I’ll be giving away two copies of the Imaginary Friends‘ ebook randomly to two commenters on this post in order to support my friend Melanie, who’s been a joy to talk to and write with, along the years. So please leave your comments, interact, chat with Melanie and each other!
As part of my pledge in my A to Z Reflections post, I’m again featuring Bloggers I Recommend Visiting. I also spoke of Supporting Indie authors, so in that spirit, I’ll put my money where my mouth is.
This time, I’ll be buying and then gifting books by Indie authors to all my three Recommended Blog Friends. (I hope to do this gifting on the 3rd Friday of each month, and more, if my book budget allows it! )
Tina Downey: A cohost at the A to Z Challenge, fab blogger, very dear friend. I’m gifting her a copy of ‘Imaginary Friends‘ by Melanie Lee. She is the sort of girl who would enjoy a humorous book, with fab illustrations and snappy morals!
Paul Ruddock: A cherished blog-friend, and amazing supporter of this blog through the A to Z Challenge. I’m gifting him Beyond the Binding, an anthology of short fiction edited by Samantha Redstreake Geary and written by a lot of fellow bloggers. He likes short fiction and loves supporting others, so this charity anthology should be right up his street.
Mary Wallace: One of #TeamDamyanti , who has consistently inspired me with her great cheer in the face of incredible odds. I’m gifting her Doing Max Vinyl by Frederick Lee Brooke. She might enjoy an entertaining, humorous thriller with a lady lead.
To all three of you, thank you for your support and I hope you have tons of visitors on your blogs this coming year. I don’t expect you to do anything with the book other than enjoy it, and if you want to support Indie Authors, too, buy a copy for your friends or family!
Did you have imaginary friends as a child? Would you like a copy of Imaginary Friends in your inbox? Do you know any of the three Featured Bloggers? Heard of the three books? Want to buy them?