PETALING JAYA: Boredom, it turns out, can take you places, as Shanon Chong discovered.
Two years ago, it led then 15-year-old Chong to a fantasy world where the age-old battle between good and evil is fought.
The battle is told in his first novel Theodore Chrono: The Sanctuary of Evil that follows 15-year-old Theo’s quest to connect with his father.
The sequel to The Sanctuary of Evil is now at the editing stage and Chong has even started work on his third novel.
The original story tells of Theo, whose life is ruled by destiny and fate, and his faithful companion Rachel, whose support ensures that he does not fall over and give up on his pursuit.
As it is with any tale, evil, in the form of a corrupt church, lurks around the corner.
The book is also filled to the brim with other interesting adult and teen characters, mostly based on the people around the author, making it a tale that the reader can relate to.
Chong, who is in his final year at a high school in Melbourne, is among a growing list of young published authors.
As his mother recalls, his path to being a storyteller was paved at a very young age. From the age of four, he was already conjuring up tales that his mother would record, knowing that her son would someday thrive in his chosen field.
In a family of scientists and doctors, Chong is an exception. Instead of following the family tradition, he decided to pave his own path and it led him into the literary world.
It helps that his family is very supportive of his choice.
“My friends were curious too. They wanted to know why I chose writing rather than math, but they have been very supportive nevertheless,” he told theSun.
Studying in Australia gave him the chance to pursue his love for writing.
Schooling Down Under affords students a lot of free time.
With little to do, Chong began to think up a fantasy world ala Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins or Kvothe.
“I was bored so I decided to fill up my free time writing. That was when I came up with the idea for the book,” he said.
It started out as a Word document but soon evolved into a paperback.
Chong decided to self publish his book but initially faced some setbacks.
“However, with time I was able to surmount the obstacles, and thanks to the internet, all resources are just a click away,” he said.
Along the way, he has also learned not to set an “ultimate achievement”.
“I feel this would mean that I am settling. I’m aware that I am a young self-published novelist and that I have more to achieve, hence settling is not an option. I want to keep pushing for greater things and improve as much as I can.”
Chong said among those who have inspired him are J.R. Rowling and Andy Griffiths. Rowling’s Harry Potter series have taken young
and old alike into a magical world of wizardry while Griffiths has brought laughter with his books for children.
To those who want to follow in his footsteps, Chong has this piece of advice: Be prepared to fail, to fall and to flop over but also be ready to push (your idea) through.