A Singaporean, Joyce Chng writes mainly science fiction (SFF) and YA fiction. She likes steampunk and tales of transformation/transfiguration. Her fiction has appeared in Crossed Genres, We See A Different Frontier and the Apex Book of World SF II. Her YA science fiction trilogy is published by Math Paper Press, an imprint of Books Actually. She can be found online at A Wolf’s Tale.
What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
My current release is a picture book under Lantana Publishing. It is called Dragon Dancer where you can read about a boy and his friendship with a dragon who may or may not be read.
What is the usual process for your writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I think I am more of a pantser, though I do sit down and write a very rough framework. I tend to work with images, snatches of words and dialogue, and just listening to the characters.
Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
I just begin to write, I guess. I do research, to see if the idea(s) work or not. Fact-checking, if you are working with stories based on fact, is important.
I am not a full-time writer, due to the various constraints in my life. I do have a day-job (I teach). I tried full-time writing once. It didn’t really work out.
What is your daily writing time like?
At the moment, much of my daily brain cells quota is used up by day-job and when I finally get home, I am usually flat out on my back, metaphorically. I tend to write mostly at night, a habit/routine – I guess – when you have two kids too and your free time comes only when they are asleep. When my two girls were little, I worked mostly at night.
I am a hybrid, a bit of both. I have books and stories under small press, and I do self-publish some of my novelettes and novellas.
Being from Singapore, I find myself looking out of my own country for opportunities as the local market is small and often saturated with poetry, cookbooks, memoirs and assessment books (because my country is also academically obsessed). People who write science fiction and fantasy find it hard to sell their books, because publishers want things that can sell. The situation is easing up a little now, but I would advise folks reading from my country to look out of the box.
Everyone likes to know where an author gets their ideas from, but what I want to know is what is the strangest thing to inspire one of your stories?
Pills. Honestly, the ease with which people can simply get pills and medication over the counter. I have a story I titled “Natural” that examines this ease. Imagine a pill that could help you grow your own food… on your own body. Talk about sustainable food.
I am appearing, well, at Singapore Writers’ Festival 2015, to launch Dragon Dancer.
As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Do not be afraid to experiment.
Do not be frightened by rejection.
Be prepared to work hard. You are a professional.
In this moment in time, who is your favorite author? Tell us what makes this author stand out in your mind and what book would you recommend to someone new to that author?
She writes really vivid historical and fantasy stories that are also grounded in the real. I am always drawn towards how she depicts the landscape. All the senses are engaged.
I would recommend Lord of The Two Lands.