Inspired By His Children

November 10, 2009

halim&familyIn this first article of our Interview series, we speak to Tunku Halim, a Malaysian author well-known for his horror stories, who also has two children’s books to his name.

Inspired by his kids, Kristina and Adam, Halim set off to research and write A Children’s History of Malaysia in 2003 followed by History of Malaysia: A Children’s Encyclopedia in early 2009.

What was it like growing up? What do you remember most about your childhood?

Childhood was certainly a lot simpler then. I often tell my kids about how TV was in black and white and only came on after 5 p.m. The internet, even CDs, weren’t even dreamt about. There was only one channel, RTM. Childhood was a lot of fun too as my brothers and I used to cycle all around the neighbourhood creating mischief!

What were some of your favourite books as a child?

I used to read a lot of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven. Later, I also enjoyed the Narnia books. Our reading choices were a lot more limited then.

You qualified as lawyer. Why the switch to being an author and what were your motivations for writing children’s books?

I worked for several years in a legal firm in KL and as legal counsel for a US software company in Sydney. I suppose that I had enough of the stressful job and the corporate world. I also really wanted to spend more time writing. I had already published four books when I made the switch to full-time writing. The two children’s books I wrote were aimed at my kids. But also I was inspired by Charles Dickens’s A Child’s History of England. I thought I’d like to do the same for Malaysian children.

Were there any specific messages that you wanted to get across?

halimencyclopediaThat history, especially Malaysian history, is actually very interesting. After all, these are stories that really happened.

Tell us something about your children.

Kristina is 13 and Adam is 9. They’re both very different although they share the same birthday. Kristina loves horror stories and keeps asking me to write horror tales for kids. I might one day!

What are you working on now in relation to children’s literature?

I’m playing around with the idea of doing a creative writing book for kids. It’s just at the idea stage though, but who knows, one day it might just hit the bookshelves!

What advice do you have for kids who would like to be published authors one day?

They must, of course, enjoy writing to begin with. They will need to practise their craft of writing, whether it is poetry, plays, novels, short stories, non fiction or all of them! It is much much more than having a dream. A lot of time and effort goes into the practice. They should learn as much as they can from books about writing and go on courses, when they can. They should also read a lot.

Our Interview series focuses on parents, teachers, role models and children with interesting tales to tell, lives to share and inspiration to give. If you have a suggestion for someone you’d like to see interviewed (including yourself, ahem!), drop us a note at parentingworks AT gmail DOT com to tell us why the person should be featured.


One Response to Inspired By His Children

  1. The Healing Curry « Write Lah! on November 14, 2009 at 5:43 am

    […] the way, I was interviewed recently by Eileen Lian for the Parenting Works website. Click here to have a read […]

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