By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

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Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

Because writing is fun.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My latest book is Age of Blight, a collection of short stories that mostly talk about humanity’s toxic impact to the natural world and how unfair it is to nonhuman animals that we are taking them down with us as we destroy this planet. Some stories in the book also attempt to straddle both supernatural horror and psychological horror—two genres I love.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

A body of writing that evolves form-wise and theme-wise (and treatments thereof) so that in book after book, I’ll be able to see a semblance of progress. Stories that delve into ethical issues and use POVs in order to subtly distinguish between right and wrong. Ecological themes. In poetry: not terribly postmodernist-style detached in tone, not overtly emo, either. Personas with universal empathy. Conjuring a dreamlike feel always appeals to me.

Who are your favorite authors?

Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Thomas Harris, Ira Levin, Herbert Lieberman, Stephen King, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Shirley Jackson, Terry Bisson, Brendan Connell, Rhys Hughes, Patricia Russo, Bruce Boston, Dan Chaon, Matt Bell, Brian Evenson, plus many contemporary writers, mostly poets. Recent fiction addictions include those authored by Damien Angelica Walters and Nalo Hopkinson.

What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.

My planned first novel, which I aim to finish by the end of this year. It is challenging because if it sucked then I will have a hard time selling my next one.

Group representing Donna Tartt, Stephen King and others says Amazon tactics have driven sales down by at least 50%: The Guardian

Some of the world’s most famous authors escalated their heated dispute with Amazon on Monday, publishing a letter to retailer’s board warning of the “ugly history” of blocking book sales.

Amazon and publishing giant Hachette have been locked in a six-month dispute over the pricing of e-books that has led Amazon to delay shipment of Hachette authors, refuse pre-orders and institute other tactics aimed at damping the publisher’s sales.

Bestselling authors including Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen King, Michael Pollan and Donna Tartt are among the Hachette authors who have protested Amazon’s move.

The idea is to put more books into more people’s hands. Could Malay translations of English bestsellers help to do that?: The Star Online

AmirMuhammad230314Two local publishing companies are shaking things up with interesting forays into translation. Shakespeare and Stephen King in Malay, anyone?

Hafiz Hamzah, founder and editor of Pustaka Obscura, put out Obscura late last year featuring translated snippets of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, T.S Eliot’s The Wasteland, and Homer’s Iliad, among others.