I was eighteen years old, sitting on a folding chair on a polished concrete floor in an Indonesian classroom. It was hot, and I was daydreaming, and I had an idea.
What if I invented a world complicated enough and rich enough that I could write all kinds of books in it? What if that world was different to all the straight-white-male-authored fantasy that I’d read growing up?
So I invented Rahana, a world based on Indonesia, where every island is physically and culturally different to the rest, where the weather is always tropical, and where magic is so common that physical strength is irrelevant.
Over the years since then I’ve written many stories set in Rahana, and expanded my horizons by travelling on the Young Endeavour sail training vessel. Now, almost twenty years later, my first Rahana book is about to be released.
I am absolutely thrilled that Tash Turgoose (author of “Makeshift Galaxy”, and now one of my “Murder in the Mail” writer/artists too) is doing internal illustrations for this series. These are some of the pictures that had to be left out for reasons of space:
And here is a real-world recipe for Toffee Fish:
-Four salmon fillets
-Four tablespoons maple syrup
-One tablespoon sesame oil
-One tablespoon butter
-Four cups cooked rice
-One cup peas
-One cup corn kernels
-Two teaspoons sesame seeds
- Marinate the salmon in the sesame oil and maple syrup for up to twenty-four hours.
- Melt butter in a frying pan and add the rice, peas, and corn. Stir occasionally.
- Line a tray with aluminium foil and lay out the salmon fillets (skin side up if you are using fillets with skin), drizzling a teaspoonful of the remaining marinade mixture on top of each fillet. Cook at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
- While that is cooking, add the rest of the marinade mixture to the rice mixture and continue cooking it until the salmon is ready.
- When preparing the plates, put the salmon on top of the rice (skinless side up if you are using fillets with skin) and sprinkle it with sesame seeds.