“Indonesia,” declares Lian Gouw, “is more than just the island of Bali.”

Gouw, at 82, is a diminutive figure with an outsize presence, gifted with a voice that commands attention and the masterful air of a seasoned impresario revealing The Next Great Thing.

That thing, on this sunny fall afternoon at the Foster City public library in the San Francisco Bay Area, is the literature of Indonesia, the country of her childhood and a passion that consumes her every waking hour (and a fair deal of the not-so-waking hours of her associates back home, some of them confide).

Feby Indirani was an accomplished TV journalist when she decided to become a full-time author. In DW interview, she talks about the potential of Indonesian literature and her own journey as a writer: DW

Feby Indirani

DW: In 2013, you decided to leave your job as a successful journalist for a life of uncertainty as a full-time writer. Were your family and friends happy with your decision?

Feby Indirani: Some of my friends were skeptical about my decision and called me crazy. They knew I had published some books, but quitting a stable job was quite shocking for many. When you are a TV producer and you host your own show, you are not expected to give it up for something as unconventional as writing. They asked me whether I was sure about my decision and wouldn’t be missing the TV glamour. Even after two years some people still ask those questions.