2018 releases

Hell's Bell
Scent of the Jaguar
His Outback Nanny
The Queen's Game
366 Days of Flash Fiction
On the Horizon: Simple worlds of speculative adventure
Lusting the Enemy

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Magic Thursday: Theresa Fuller Shares Memories of Her Childhood in Singapore



This mini-memoir by author Theresa Fuller is a totally fascinating insight into another culture. Enjoy!


****


I drew heavily on my parents’ arranged marriage when I was writing The Girl Who Became a Goddess.

An arranged marriage is a marriage organized by relatives and friends. In Singapore, the zodiac is considered, as well as the ages of the two young people and their personalities. My mother was extremely young. I was told the reason for marrying her off; was her mother was ill. This is the same scenario for my protagonist, Chang E (also known as Chang Er or Chang O), whose own mother was dying.
My mother was also apparently very beautiful, and her family worried she would be carried off by some young man and despoiled. Looking at my father, I often wondered what possessed her to marry him, for she was thin and fair, while he was dark and fat. Personality-wise, they were almost opposites. She was a princess; he, the court magician. Her answer was always that she had to be obedient. My sister and I were the products of that marriage, which unfortunately, lasted just over ten years. And my grandmother, whose illness necessitated the marriage, died exactly one week after I was born. She named me, but that was all I knew of her.

Divorce, then and now, in Singapore is considered a disgrace. My best friend was so worried about my future, that she informed me of her parents’ decision to adopt me, to prevent me from becoming ‘havoc’, which basically, was Singapore slang for getting expelled from school, possibly becoming a drug addict and maybe even an unmarried mother. A slut.

I failed school that year.

My teachers transferred me to the next class in the hopes that I would do better. Thankfully, I did. Our lives, however, had changed forever. I would like to say that my sister and I went from a normal, middle-class family to being latch-key kids. But sadly, that would have been something. Instead, each school day we came home to find ourselves locked out of the house—no mother in sight.
We were forced to wait an hour or so until she returned. After a few days of this, I rebelled.

I grabbed my sister and made her stand with me in the middle of the courtyard of our block of Housing Development Board (HDB) flats, where every single neighbour would see us. When my mother got home from wherever she had been, she was horrified. From that day on, she always made sure she was home before the school bus dropped us off. But the victory wasn’t what I’d expected.

When we got home, we deposited our bags in the living room, then rushed out the door with her. We were still hardly ever home.
My mother had developed a gambling obsession. She travelled from house to house playing Mah Jong. I hated being in strangers’ homes. In some, there were children we could play with, or fight with. There was often nothing else to do. To prevent me from complaining—which I was becoming very good at—she would buy me books.
I lay on the cement floor and read, and nothing disturbed me. She got her peace, and I got introduced to the world of books.
I used books to escape what was a horrible situation. Later, when I became a mother myself, I felt drawn back into a world that had given me so much joy. It was then that I began to write.
At first, I wrote children’s picture books. I had a toddler at the time, and I guess that was a natural progression but then I began writing fantasy which was, and still is, my first love. And probably the direct result of growing up with all these folktales.
In The Girl Who Became a Goddess, I wrote about the folktales I grew up with. Being of Chinese descent and living in Singapore, I was soon familiar with the mousedeer–Sang Kancil—who danced on the backs of crocodiles. Then there were the legends from China, of which Chang E, the Moon Goddess, was one of, as well as the boy who became a cricket.

Living in Sydney, Australia, so far away from the jungles of Singapore and Malaysia, I wanted my children to understand the world I’d come from, the stories that had made me who I am today, because stories settle in your psyche and become a part of who you are.
Even telling my first born about Peter Rabbit took an interesting turn one day when I walked in on my Australian husband, who was telling our six-year old his Australian version of Peter Rabbit—how to skin a rabbit.

We take stories and turn them into our own—writing what we want to happen and thus creating a world which makes sense, and hopefully makes us happy.

I write about girls saving the world, and in the process, themselves.   



****


Here is another of Theresa's books.
Available now! Amazon



She thought she could change the world...

When Lady Elizabeth Ada Lovelace, a beautiful, arrogant suffragette, purchased the 19th-century Algorithmic Engine in order to become the world's first programmer, she planned to break the shackles of inequality for Victorian women.

Until her world became that of the machine...

Instead she learns the true meaning of equality when she ends up trapped, brought down to the level of the machine. Inside the double-crossing computer, Elizabeth must match wits with a stubbornly idealistic ghost and a chillingly handsome doppelganger in the computer's endless series of mind games. But as the machine learns to become a sentient being, time is ticking away. Elizabeth finds herself falling in love with the ghost trapped in the machine. Together they are pitted in a race against the machine to escape before the Algorithmic Engine shuts down - killing them all.

Now all their worlds hang in the balance.






1 comment: