KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - 26-year-old Malaysian novelist Malcolm Mejin has recently released a young adult novel which revolves around the main character, who happens to be a … ghost. Titled “Cool Diary”, Mejin’s first published novel is authored as if peeking into somebody’s private journal. It is written in the first-person point of view of the titular character, Cool. The novel tells the story of Cool’s life through his diary accounts, enabling readers to explore Cool’s thoughts on a deeper level.
Novels about vampires have been phenomenally popular worldwide. Mejin wants to sway readers in favor of … ghosts.
“It’s always vampires this, vampires that,” Mejin said. “Since the Twilight saga has gone phenomenal, Malaysian Twilight fanatics have gone gaga over vampires. Vampires have now become too … common. With Cool Diary, I hope Malaysian readers would start to embrace something other than vampires—ghosts!”
It took Mejin about three months to complete the 392-page novel. So what inspired him to write Cool Diary?
“Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve kept journals,” he said. “I love to write about stuff. I love to write about just anything that comes across my mind. It could be about the movies I watched, or just some event that I attended. It could be anything. For me, writing is fun. I’d never ever get bored.”
Mejin’s love for keeping journals inspired him to write Cool Diary. He thought that it was an interesting concept to write a novel as if you were reading somebody’s diary.
Mejin is one of the few English fiction authors in Malaysia. Fiction writers in Malaysia is relatively scarce, compared to those in Western countries which churn out thousands and thousands of novels per year.
He added: “Sadly, the literary scene in Malaysia is not that outstanding. My hope is that the media or other literary institutions would work aggressively to highlight local authors and their works, be it fiction or non-fiction. I’m hoping that local fiction novels in Malaysia can be on par with those from Western countries.”
Mejin also said that popularity of English fiction novels in Malaysia normally hinged upon the initial popularity from other countries.
“Due to the widespread popularity of the Harry Potter series in Western countries, the craze then caught on in Malaysia. Malaysian fiction readers are always embracing works from Western countries, which they think are better than local ones. Why not embrace local works first? Who knows the craze for our local fiction novels may catch on in Western countries in the future?”
Mejin believes that the local literary scene is not as prosperous as its Western counterpart due to the mindset that Western fiction is always better than local ones.
“That all has to change,” Mejin said. “I believe that there are many good, aspiring local fiction authors, waiting to be discovered.”
Lastly, Mejin hopes that Malaysia would give Cool Diary a chance.
He quipped: “I hope that Malaysian readers would fall in love with a ghost. Vampires are so cliché. It’s time to embrace ghosts!”
To keep up with Mejin’s future book releases, readers can “Like” his Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/malcolmmejin
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