I’ve been contemplating using Penang in one of my novels for years. I lived there from 2006-2017, so I got to know the place well. But for some reason, I don’t like to write about places where I currently live. So two years after the fact, my first Malaysian-based novel is happening. It’s a curious little novel for me – an unexpected one for many reasons. Once I finished my trilogy, I had fully expected to write a alternative history novel about the Vietnam War of which I have already written the first chapter. I will get back to it at some point. But, as ideas often do, the muse paid no attention to my intentions and planted in me a seed for a completely different story. A story of music, of teenagers, and an old man. No, don’t worry, nothing like the old man of my trilogy series. (insert chuckle)
Since the story centers around four teens, it is, in a way, my first YA novel, and I’m a little excited about that. Nervous, also. My protagonists have mainly been older adults in most of my stories, so hitting up the teen years is a little challenging. Thankfully, I work in a profession where I deal with teens on a daily basis, so that helps.
It’s natural for me to use exotic settings for my stories because I’ve been fortunate enough to live in many exotic places. So it just comes out from experience. I hope I can do Penang justice. Long way to go on this one, and I will definitely keep you posted. But here’s an overview of the main settings of my novels so far.
- Beauty Rising – northern Vietnam & Pennsylvania
- The Recluse Storyteller – nondescript USA and several other settings like Vietnam, and time settings like the USA of the 1800s
- The Reach of the Banyan Tree – Vietnam (1945 & 2000)
- A Love Story for a Nation – a fictitious nation
- Which Half David – the fictitious nation of Sulu in Southeast Asia
- 7. 8. The Forgotten Child Trilogy – Manhattan, Scotland, Romania, Cambodia, South Pacific, Rwanda, and nearly out of this world
9. TITLE STILL UNDER WRAPS – PENANG, MALAYSIA
In future posts, I’ll revisit what makes Penang so great! And, by the way, I miss it.