Born and raised in Singapore, Khaled Talib is a former journalist with local and international exposure. His articles have been published and syndicated to newspapers worldwide, and his short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines.
His first novel, Smokescreen, received praise from several New York Times bestselling authors. His third work, Gun Kiss, will be released by Imajin Books in Canada this year.
The author is a member of the International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association.
What inspires you to write?
I live in my own head. And there's a lot going on in there. When I see something interesting, for example, a cafe or a landscape, my mind starts talking to me, telling me things like, "This could be a scene for something."
Ever seen that TV comedy series, "Herman's Head"? Something like that; lots of people are talking to you at the same time. And I feel like a casting director where I have to choose a bunch of characters on stage to play the part.
No, I am not a schizo – I'm merely using this explanation as a metaphor to display my imaginative mind.
Tell us about your writing process.
I don't have a routine. No modus operandi. I just write as I please. It could be any time of the day. I don't force myself' I don't chase a number of words a day. If I feel tired, I'll stop.
I do, however, have notes everywhere. Pieces of paper, little notebooks – I even use my phone to store information in case I'm on the move and something crops up. You know, a word or a dialogue or a scene.
I also use send out emails to experts to fact check information. It could be something legal or about skydiving.
I have no software except Word doc, and I sometimes put on music to inspire my writing. In fact, the current manuscript I am working on was inspired by the theme song of Romeo & Juliet. I know, strange. The story has nothing to do with medieval times, but biotechnology. It started this way, but then I found myself going that way.
I find it hard to outline the pages or chapters, so I write as I go, surprising myself all the time.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to them. I imagine their lives, how they talk, how they dress and what they like to eat and drink. There are times it get's confusing when I have to make a decision: to kill or not to kill.
These characters are with me when I call it a night; I try to recap scenes and develop new ones. It's like people count sheep to sleep. Funny, I always remember what I was thinking the next day. Then I'll quickly write it down before I forget.
Who are your favorite authors?
I read all kinds of books, so I have many favorite authors. They all have their own styles. I read both traditional and indie books. I am sorry to say there has never been an author who could make me stay up all night simply because I'm not programmed to read that long. Age, being a factor.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had never heard of self-publishing when I decided to find a publisher. I live in Singapore so information comes to us a little bit late. I dare say most people just started to discover the Kindle.
So when I was looking for a publisher, I started pitching to literary agents. I came close to clinching an agent, but I made some mistakes in the manuscript that it cost me a rejection, twice. I couldn't see my own mistakes; it took a while before I yelled Voila! Then I found a small press who agreed to take it on.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I don't know, honestly. I am seeing the industry going this way and that way. Some authors take the traditional route, while others choose the self-publishing path with great success. Whatever the future is, you need lots of luck too.
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.