About the Novel
I wrote the Scarlet Omen as a tribute to the beauty and diversity of Malaysian lifestyle. As an Indian born and raised in Malaysia, I grew up with fables and tales of magic. Superstitions and ghosts are largely accepted concepts in Asia and I thought that I finally want to share these extraordinary stories with the world. I’ve spent a lot of time outside of the country and it still baffles me to hear people refer to Malaysia as “that country between Singapore and Thailand”. I started this novel with the hopes of further revealing my home country for the treasure that it truly is. Its culinary wonders itself would take years to fully discover.
Growing up as a teenager in Malaysia was fun, but it was also difficult to enjoy the modern age with a strict, Asian mother always watching my every move. These experiences also formed my main character, Anjeli. The dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship are complex and I’m sure that many young people will be able to relate to what Anjeli goes through in a world of peer pressure and the general intensity of teenage life. Writing about Anjeli gave me ways of dealing with and understanding better many of the things that I had been going through as an adolescent, especially about grief, loss and love.
A major part of this novel is the message of hope and belief that everything happens for a reason and that God would not put us on this Earth without having a greater plan for us. Although there is ugliness and evil in the world, there is also an abundance of (yes, at the risk of sounding corny!) beauty, love and friendship; we just have to know where to look. We need to believe that in the end, good will overcome evil.
In The Scarlet Omen, Anjeli travels to Kuching with her boyfriend and shows him the wonders of Borneo. The years that I personally spent there truly left their mark on me with its unimaginable diversity and strength of character. Borneo is a magical place seething with myth and legend and as I sat writing this novel, I hoped that I could introduce at least some of that magic to my readers.
With that, I would like to wish you a memorable time with Anjeli and her crazily drama-filled days. I hope that your journey will be as magical as mine.
Have a great read!
© Cinthia Koeksal 2012