My talented daughter created this beautiful artwork to celebrate the launch of my new novel “The Black and White House”. The attentive reader will notice how it looks very much like the cover of the book, but with another title, and showing a different house. The real book cover features our old house in Adam Park, where the novel is set. So what is the mystery house in this image?
Well, this particular house comes with some exciting news: we moved back to Singapore! My daughter drew the house we live in now. That same attentive reader might recall the last few posts I wrote here, and me complaining about the cold and dark weather in the Netherlands. You can understand my elation at being back. To me, it feels like a homecoming. Suppressing the guilt caused by dragging the slightly reluctant teenagers along gets easier now they seem to have settled in quite happily at the new school, and I can’t praise my amazing husband enough for making this move possible.
So although I am very excited about this new house we now live in, I need to sell books, so first, I am going to take you back to Adam Park. When newly arrived expat Anna moves into her Black & White, it feels very far from a homecoming. Living in Asia for the first time, with her husband working long hours, she slowly unravels alone in the rambling house. There are strange noises in the hallway, and Anna isn’t sure all of them belong to the many critters and creepy crawlies that she shares the house with.
Many of us will have shared Anna’s troubles of moving to a new area, particularly in a new country. She struggles to find her own job, being very blonde and without any local experience, speaking all the wrong languages. To add to her turmoil, memories of her grandmothers colonial childhood in Indonesia keep popping up, making her confused about how she can fit into modern Asia.
Then, Anna meets Salimah. Salimah has her own history with the house, and a number of ghosts from the past she needs to battle with. When one of those ghosts seem to target her teenage daughter Nazra, Salimah too feels her carefully constructed life starting to crumble around her.
The novel follows the two women forging a fragile friendship, despite their cultural differences, until they get pitted against each other over the adoption of a baby. I won’t give too much more away, do please read the book if I got you hooked.
Curious about this new house in the picture? You will need to be a little more patient. There is plenty to explore in our new neighbourhood, from deserted reservoirs to mysterious Japanese tombs and Malay graves in the middle of the jungle. My fingers itch, just like my legs from walking into the deep forests both inside and outside our garden. Stories will follow!
"The Black and White House" is published by Monsoon Books and was released this month. It can be bought at bookstores in Singapore and online bookstores worldwide. For instance here.