MALCOLM Mejin has been penning down his thoughts and whatever he has imagined on pieces of paper since he was 6 years old.
When a porcelain white angel statue with a pair of intricately carved wings caught his sight, it sparked his creativity right away.
“The statue looked so magnificent to the mind of a little boy. Inspired, I began writing fantasy stories about angels flying all over the world in their adventurous escapades. I would draw some illustrations to accompany the stories too.”
Mejin is a local author who writes novels for children and teenagers. He recently authored Diary of a Rich Kid, where he drew inspiration from his hometown Kuching.
The 256-page illustrated novel revolved around the lavish lifestyle of a rich boy named Robin and his friends.
Mejin inserted some local references in his novel like Sarawak laksa and kolo mee for it to be relatable and more impactful to the readers.
“It is an adventure story which brings readers to exotic locations and gives them an out-of-this-world experience. Of course, elements of suspense are also added to create some adrenaline rush. It will be as though readers are on a rollercoaster ride,” he said.
Prior to Diary of a Rich Kid, other titles by Mejin are Zany Zombie, Cool Diary and Cinderella Charmed.
Zany Zombie is set in the magical world of Falcon Forest that’s home to a cast of dynamic supernatural characters ranging from vampires to zombies and witches.
Meanwhile, Cool Diary is an epistolary novel written from the point of view of a ghost who is trying to blend into the world of humans and seek some sense of belonging.
“I find that unorthodox settings are important because they provide an outlet of escape to readers, transporting them to another world away from the mundane routine of reality,” he added.
The 33-year-old author said that writing children’s books allows him to be free and gets his creative juice flowing.
“Children’s fiction is often very imaginative. It’s fun to be able to play around with unconventional ideas and push the boundaries of my imagination.
“When I was a teenager, I wrote a novel which revolves around the drama one associates with high school. It has an addictive plot but with a serious tone.
However, when writing for kids, I feel I can let my imagination run wild with the rangeof eccentric characters,” he said.
Being an author allows Mejin to go on book tours and give motivational talks in schools all across Malaysia.
“Meeting the kids and talking to them is such a precious experience. I am so happy to be able to encourage them to pursue their passion. I hope they will do great things in their lives one day. I also share with them my journey as a writer and how I overcome setbacks. My message to them is never to give up on your dreams.
“It really touches me when kids or teenagers who read my book come up to me and say I inspire them. The truth is, they inspire me as well,” said Mejin, who is currently in the process of writing a sequel to Diary of a Rich Kid.
For Mejin, great writers are born out of readers.
“Reading is the basis of everything. If you don’t read, you will encounter difficulty in expressing your ideas in writing. Children need to develop a love of reading because it empowers them. It gives them a voice. The more you read, the more aware you are of the things around you.
“Most kids or teenagers don’t like to read because they think it’s a chore. But reading can be quite fun if you’re willing to give it a try. It’s all about changing your perception,” he added.
An avid reader, Mejin’s favourite writers are R.L. Stine and J.K Rowling.
“R.L. Stine writes horror fiction but, it’s not so scary to the point that you would cower or hide under your bed. His stories are creative, filled with perplexing twists and turns. My friends and I used to read his books, especially Goosebumps during our school days.
“I’m also inspired by writers like J.K. Rowling, who created a massive fictional world that has become such a phenomenon. It makes me want to be a better writer myself,” he continued.
Mejin remembered curling up with his favourite book, Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon. He said he was completely absorbed in it.
The book was a page-turner with well written characters and plot, he added.
“I also adore classics such as Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. During my school years, my friends loathed the books because they felt they were
incomprehensible and too thick for their liking. But I was drawn to classics for their use of literary expressions which were quite beautiful and unique,” he said.
Despite having worked as a copywriter, editor, journalist and an English teacher, Mejin is dedicated to pursue his passion as an author.
“I want to write for the rest of my life because I feel a strong connection to it. I hope to be able to come out with multiple books that will entertain, enlighten and educate readers,” he said.