The Questioning Blogger Edition

The Questioning: TS Chan

The Questioning is where everything gets upside down. Every month I invite one author and one blogger, who showed me great support during my blogging life. Then I push them waaaaay out of their comfort zones. Authors has become interrogators and Bloggers get interrogated. Rest assured, no one gets hurt (much) and everyone has fun (eventually). You can find every related post on The Questioning page!
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Hello everyone!  I am TS Chan, one of the co-reviewers of Novel Notions with Petrik, Celeste, Haifa and Emma.  Our blog has just celebrated its first birthday in July and we truly appreciate all the support we’ve been getting from the book community – readers, fellow bloggers/reviewers, authors and publishers alike.  Science fiction and fantasy are my favourite genres by far, but I tend to read almost everything.  Of late, I’ve developed a taste for mysteries and thrillers as well.  One of the things I feared the most is not being able to read all the books that I want to read, but at the same time I also consider it a blessing that I’ll never run out of good books to read.

Welcome to the Asylum! Take a seat by the fire, have a glass of beverage of your choice and tell me something about yourself!

Firstly, can I ask if I am the first Oriental book reviewer in the Asylum??  If yes, then whoohoo!!

Actually…yes? Well, technically Mihir was the first, but he lives in the US now.

I’m a Malaysian who’s been based in Singapore for the past 8 years; a tiny country which I’m certain has the largest concentration of well-stocked public libraries per square foot in the world.  

I’ve been an SFF geek for as long as I could remember – my earliest memories of favourites being movies like Star Wars, ET and Aliens, and books from Dragonlance.  Looking back, I would consider my favourite children’s books like Enid Blyton‘s Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair as fantasy too. Books were accessible up to a point when I was growing up.  Malaysia did not have many libraries, or SFF books available. I remember spending hard-earned pocket money on renting these books while I was in school. There were shops where you can pay, for example, $5 to take out a book and return it for $3. I.e. effectively renting it for $2 with a $3 deposit.  Pretty cool stuff – and they had loads of titles from Dragonlance, Star Wars, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, etc.

Anyway, my rabid reading habit stopped for at least a decade when I started working – a combination of limited accessibility and priorities shifting elsewhere.  Thanks to the advent of ebooks making it so much easier to source for SFF titles, I got back into reading when I first bought the iPad and then the Kindle. There was no turning back after that.  

Then came Goodreads and an entire world of reading and the book community opened up to me.  Goodreads started as merely a platform for me to keep track of books I’ve read and books I want to read.  Until one day, I received a friend request from the US because we share a lot of common favourites – mainly Brandon Sanderson‘s books – and I started joining a Group Read for Malazan Book of the Fallen.  The rest, as they say, was history. And here I am – a co-reviewer for Novel Notions and attending the World SFF Convention for the very first time. My very first convention of any kind for that matter. Sorry, am I rambling too much?

My Instagram and Twitter profile summarises me pretty well.  I love the outdoors (running and hiking), travelling, and photography (still harbouring dreams of being a nature and travel photographer).  Also a foodie, coffee addict and a bit of an eco-warrior.  

And, I work in a bank to pay for what I love to do.  Yeah, boring stuff. Next!

What blogging means to you?

I stumbled into blogging, so to speak, and found it such a joy to be a part of the book community, which includes other fellow bloggers, the authors and the publishers.  I’ve met so many cool and awesome people, all across the globe, from all walks of life. While the ability to secure ARCs is a cool factor, I found that sharing my review of the books I love, and seeing that it made a difference to an author’s readership are the best parts about being a blogger.  This is particularly important for self-published authors and debut ones. Just recently, one of my reviews was actually quoted on a traditionally-published book. The emotion and exhilaration of seeing your quote on a book cannot be described.

You are locked in an asylum. What did you do to end up there?

Seriously, the kind of things I would want to do when I encounter any one of my pet peeves would get me locked up in an asylum for the criminally insane.  I’d prefer not to divulge my ever-so-slightly insane and bloodthirsty tendencies, if you don’t mind. Hmmm.. ask me again when I had one too many.  

Which fictional character and/or author would you like to live with in an asylum?

Oh, I can pick two?  

Of course!

Fictional character had to be Hadrian Blackwater from the Riyria books, because he is thoroughly hot, funny and adorable.  (Give me one more character, and I’ll want Royce Melborn in here too – just to watch their banter in person).  

As for author, it has to be Brandon Sanderson, so I can pick his brain on the Cosmere and read the stories as he finishes them. 

Which fictional world would you like to live in? 

It’s strange how most fictional worlds are fascinating to read about, but not so great to live in.  (Ponders for a very long while).  

I had to go back to children’s books for this.  I’ve always wanted to have my very own Wishing Chair (yes, I’m talking Enid Blyton here) when I was a kid, and I think I still do.  

If you could switch lives with any character in a book, who would you choose? Would you like to have the author along as a fellow character? 

This really depends on my favourite character(s) for the moment.  Right now, I’ve to say that I’d love to be Kaul Maik Wen from the Green Bone Saga.  She’s one of the best female characters I’ve encountered recently, and I’ve a huge crush on her husband as well – ahem!  Of course, it would be awesome to have Fonda Lee, the author, along as Kaul Shae. The kind of devious machinations that we could be up to will be most delightful.  

You are a treasure hunter, about to retrieve a chest of gold from a sunken pirate ship, when a beatiful mermaid/merman approaches you, trying to stop you. How do you react?

I would feign innocence and said that Captain Jack Sparrow sent me.  Unless it’s a chest of rare signed books that even gold or money can’t buy, I don’t think I’m not going to fight any merfolk over it.   

Your family allows you to keep one fantastical creature at home. What do you choose?

This one is EASY!  Toothless, the Night Fury – no contest, whatsoever!  Oh wait, can I change my answer to the question above on fictional worlds?  I want to live in Berk, and be surrounded by dragons, and have a Night Fury to call my own.


You can have one magic ability for a day. What can you do and how do you spend that day?

To be able to manipulate time and space.  Space to travel to wherever I want to, and time to ensure that the day never ends. 

You are a magical creature living near a village. How do you get on with humans? 

I’ll generally avoid them.  I don’t have much faith in humans when it comes to dealing with mystical, magical creatures such as myself. I’m speaking generally, of course.  Sorry, humans, but I’m certain you all know what I mean. 

While you are locked in here for eternity, we will allow you one book – what would you choose?

My Kindle! It counts as one, no?  Grrr, alright – The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.   The story of Kaladin and Bridge Four is one that I can read over and over again.  Last count was four. 

Well then, we hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! Any last words? *locks door*

With my magical ability (does some intricate hand gesture), you won’t keep me here for much longer.  Muahahahahah!


TS, along with many other awesome reviewers belongs to Novel Notions. It was a pleasure to meet her at WorldCon and you all should follow her!

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