Thursday, November 14, 2013

Here comes Danger Dan!

This has been an eventful year for me, to say the least. And even as 2013 draws to a close, instead of winding down, the excitement is heating up.

Here's a piece of news that I've been keeping under wraps for the past few months:

I'm writing a children's book series! With Lesley-Anne!

There! I've never been terribly good with secrets so it's very cathartic for me to finally be able to share this publicly. Earlier this year, Epigram Books (my publisher of The Good, the Bad and the PSLE) called for a pitch for writers to propose a series of children's books. The brief was simple - it had to involve time travel back to Singapore's past.

I thought this was an interesting project and something that Lesley-Anne could take on. However, Epigram Books was rightly concerned that it might be too much for her to handle alone since she has to juggle school, so we came up with the proposal to be co-authors. To cut a long story short, we prepared synopses for the series and wrote a sample first chapter. And Epigram Books loved it, so we got the contract :)

About the books

The protagonist is Danny aka Danger Dan - a hyperactive 11-year-old boy who loves comics and has superhero fantasies. However in real life, he's an unlikely hero as he's small and scrawny, with three older sisters who constantly bully him.

His shot at saving the world (well, Singapore at least) comes when he travels back in time and meets Melody, an enigmatic 14-year-old girl from the future. There, he learns that certain parts of Singapore's history have been changed due to a time warp, with horrendous results! Danger Dan and Melody rush to correct the mistakes. In the process, they run into some wacky situations!

First book in the series is out January 2014. Reading age is 8-11 years old.

Illustrations

For me, partnering with Epigram Books has been absolutely fantastic, for many reasons. But one big plus is that they understand the importance of design, especially for children's books. The illustrator they selected really brought to life how we envisioned Danny and Melody. Apart from the illustrations, Epigram Books' inhouse designer also went the extra mile to add many visual points of interest. Don't you just love this teaser above? We do!

Thought process

When we heard that we had to write about time travel back to Singapore's past, our first thought was that we had to make the books FUNNY. In fact, we balked at using the word "history" altogether because we knew kids would immediately have the impression: "Yuck! Another social studies textbook disguised as a fun book!" And who can blame them? I feel that most attempts to jazz up social studies, either in book form or video form haven't been very successful so far.

So I want to say upfront that the books are not commissioned by any government agency. This gives us the creative freedom to think up storylines and pick the time travel periods according to what we feel would make engaging and compelling plots.

Danny and Melody navigate through various places and meet different historical figures back in time but these tend to be in the course of their adventure, not so much because we feel we have to feature them. This frees us from the burden of having to be politically correct. However, we always try to ensure our facts are accurate, of course. And it's actually quite fun when we stumble on fascinating little-known trivia of Singapore's past that we think might be interesting to include for readers.

Coming up

Exciting developments are underway - check out our Danger Dan Facebook page! Please like the page to be notified of updates. Besides notifications of book launches, Lesley-Anne and I will also regularly share titbits eg. what it's like to be co-authors (lots of angst but also lots of fun!)

Hope to have your support!


10 comments:

Rachel Tan said...

What a wonderful mother-daughter bonding activity :)

monlim said...

Rachel: Thanks! That's probably debatable though, judging by the number of arguments we've had :D

Anonymous said...

Great mum-daughter partnership concept! I also like the pix of the little boy...he looks so cute:) Congrats & all the best!

monlim said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

hi mon, i love the idea! so, time travel, eh? will there be re-appearances by historical, oops, NOTABLE influences that shaped us? Like Singaa the lion (eh, i had BOUGHT the toy!!), OMO bus (i can't forget the boy who got up the bus and flashed his bus pass like a CID officer) and pen pals? :)
- kjj

monlim said...

Thanks for the support, KJJ! I'm not giving anything away... ahem... I can't believe you bought the Singa toy! lol!

Yin said...

Congratulations! What can be more exciting! Wish J was still in the 9-11 age group, this would be something he loves! R also read about this on FB. His comment? This book(s) will be far better than all the other locally written children books out there! :) Qualification: I don't think he has read all the others, but it just shows how much he feels about your combined abilities!

monlim said...

Yin: It's so good to hear from you! Very flattered to hear R's confidence in us, esp since his opinion is something we would definitely value! Thanks for the very kind wishes and I hope everything's absolutely terrific with you and the family :)

Sarah Tan said...

Hi, I'm a History teacher and I think your book sounds really exciting. Can't wait to see it (and others in the series).

monlim said...

Sarah: Look out for the first one in Jan 2014! Thanks for the support!

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