I have been writing for theatre for the past 30 years, but I have recently switched to writing murder mysteries – traditional style murder mysteries, without too much blood going on. I think that gets to the heart of people and exposes what is really important to them, what drives them, what they want to do. I believe this because this is what I experienced when I was reading all these books. They are all set somewhere else – in English country villages, in the backstreets in America, or in Scandinavia.
You never got stuff that was written in Singapore, and what strikes me most is how similar a lot of these books are. As we don’t have any guns, we shoot people less – I wanted to integrate that in my books.
To be honest when I first began writing, my books were pretty horrible. I got rejected by every single Singapore publisher, which is quite heartbreaking when you think that there are only about five, and at that time only three. And they were right to reject me because I was writing gunk – it was all imitation stuff. But gradually it changed.
I was lucky enough to get an agent. I found that it can be a selling point if you are not English or American, because they actually wanted somebody who was different. I was in the right place at the right time – My God, it was fantastic! – they bought my first mystery series, and gave me a nice cover. It began to look like a real book. I am still a bit overwhelmed, although that was about four years ago. I’ve had another four books coming out, counting one children’s book.
It has been a great ride.
Ovidia’s latest mystery novel, Meddling and Murder, an Aunty Lee Mystery, is out now.