Jing Yang, his classmate Angelina, and his cousin Tim team up to solve a mystery about hidden treasure in an underground bunker which was built during World War Two.
A history dropout from a local university has been searching for the treasure for many years. The teenagers must find the treasure first before he does.
They stumble into a secret tunnel beneath the bunker with help from two spirits haunting the bunker since World War Two.
Just when they lay eyes on the gold bars hidden in the secret tunnel, who else but the history dropout should turn up behind them, startling them…
Your story is set in a local secondary school (Greendale Secondary School). What made you decide to use it as the backdrop to your story?
First of all, let me say that I taught in Greendale in 2008. When I came up with the idea of writing a novel with teenagers as the main characters, I thought it would be fitting to introduce this relatively new school which in my novel would be the ideal place in which to place these students in — being a neighbourhood school where teenagers of all manner of backgrounds come together. Also, I was also aiming at capturing a slice of school life in the 2000s so that, perhaps, in the near future, students/teenagers of the day reading this novel can reflect on what students/teenagers did in school in the 2000s.
Was this book picked up by a publisher or you self-published it?
I self-published this book which I wrote last month. Looking for a publisher who would be interested in my work may be like looking for a needle in a haystack. By the time I find one — that is, if I do manage to find one — it may already be 2012. My novel can’t wait for something that might not happen. That is why I did not think of approaching a publisher for the novel.
What was the publishing process like? Did you experience any difficulty during the process?
I looked around on the Internet for a Web site that could help self-publishers like me. I found several but most wanted me to pay a fee (from USD300 to as high as USD1800) first before I could even upload my manuscript. I thought that these were perhaps not suitable for me if their interest was in the fee first. I managed to find one that was reliable — it was owned by amazon.com– and put authors first.
Createspace.com let me upload my manuscript and book cover for free and only charged me for a proof copy and shipping for the copy.
It was smooth sailing, perhaps, because of my background. I taught myself to use photoshop, illustrator, acrobat, and other software over the years because of my deep involvement in online publishing/content management. These skills stood me in good stead when it came to converting the manuscript into PDF, and creating the artwork for the book cover.
Do you have any advice for our aspiring readers?
Never wait for tomorrow. If you have a good idea for a novel, put it down on paper, plot out a storyline and start writing. You may not know whether you can complete your first novel — as was the case with me writing this my first novel — but once you have made a start, it is plain sailing thereafter. On the other hand, if you just stop at thinking of writing a novel, I am afraid your first novel may remain an unfulfilled dream.
Write at home on your computer. Write on the MRT train using your handphone with its memo feature. Write while out in the streets or foodcourt when you have some free moments. Write whenever the words come into your mind. That way, you keep your momentum going, and in no time you will complete writing your novel.
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