From fantasy into reality

30 May 2018 / 13:36 H.

IT ALL started with a spin-off inspired by the Spy Kids films.
While we merely watched Carmen and Juni Cortez go on wild adventures with even wilder spy gadgets, then 13-year-old Jeyna Lim sat down and penned her first complete story, Spy Teens.
Writing under the partial pseudonym of Jeyna Grace, the now 28-year-old still has the “cringiest story to have ever been written” up on her personal blog.
That first milestone is to remind her readers “that practice and dedication are all it takes to be a better writer”.
“There’s nothing wrong with a bad piece of work tied to your name, but there’s something wrong if you don’t improve in your craft,” said Jeyna in a recent email interview.
In fact, her dedication to elevating her craft has led the published author to her third book, The Slave Prince, now available in bookstores and online, as well as, Lit Books in Petaling Jaya.
Drawing inspiration from the story of Moses, The Slave Prince encompasses “the fight for freedom, being called to make a difference, and believing in the impossible”.
Jeyna added: “With a magical twist on the events, I hope that readers will be inspired to believe in themselves, to not give up on their dreams, and go beyond the possible.”
The Slave Prince was actually a work in progress since 2013. It was awarded a full publishing contract with Inkshares after she submitted the story to a fantasy contest Inkshares had collaborated with Geek & Sundry.
The publishing platform integrates crowd-funding methods to get an author’s work published. In other words, you can turn your story into a book if you meet the minimum requirement of pre-orders from readers on Inkshares.
“For a long time, I didn’t know what to do with The Slave Prince,” she said about the young adult fantasy novel.
“Since I didn’t want to self-publish it, I kept revising the book until the right opportunity came along.”
Saying that a story is never truly complete, Jeyna notes that there “will always be words to add, chapters to edit, and scenes to build”, but has accepted that every tale needs an end.
“It took me less than a month to finish the draft of The Slave Prince but five years to see it published, and even now, as the book hits bookstores, I can’t say I’m done with the story.
“Completing a story is the choice to end one tale for the start of another,” said Jeyna, who also chose to write under the name Grace “to remind [myself] to stay humble throughout [my] authoring journey”.
Jeyna’s first book The Dreamer was self-published, and it was her experience publishing book number two, The Battle of Oz, with Inkshares in 2015 that gave her confidence in realising The Slave Prince.
“There’s a lot to learn from every stage of publishing, and all my books presented new learning opportunities to better myself as a writer.”
The editing stage of the publishing process is arguably the most challenging, according to the young author, who “had to delete and rewrite a few scenes … and sit down with [my] characters again to understand their motivation”.
“It was difficult to challenge and change what has already been written, but it made the story so much better than before,” she said.
But it was all worth it when Jeyna reaches her favourite part of the publishing process – the cover design.
“When you see your story conceptualised on a cover, it means your book is ‘happening’. It isn’t a far-fetched dream any longer. It has become a reality.”
As the fantasy author puts it: “I choose to write what I want to write, because doing what I love – telling stories that mean something to me – is what matters most.”

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