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Business graduate takes novel approach to life

Bachelor of Business and Commerce (Marketing and Management) 2003

What happens when you take business and communication skills, add a vivid imagination and a dash of wanderlust? In Cinthia Koeksal’s case, you get a business graduate who’s also now a successful writer, having recently published her first novel while living overseas.

Written in Germany, where it made Amazon Germany’s top 10 list of English books, The Scarlet Omen portrays the tension of growing up in a world, dominated by modern Western thinking and ancient Eastern superstitions.

It’s a work of young adult fiction that’s full of humour, unconditional love and spine-tingling magic. Its characters include a band of witches, vampires, dragons and fairies, and a rebellious Malaysian teenager, Anjeli Xavier.

Harassed by an over-protective Indian mother and plagued by visions of bloodlust, translucent spirits and Bornean pygmies, Anjeli struggles to maintain her sanity after discovering her destiny was prophesied 300 years ago.

“I’ve always liked making up things and living in my own world,” says Cinthia, who now lives in Germany with her husband and son. “I also can’t live without a good book in my hands, so I thought, ‘What better way to spend my time than to combine the two things I love most: reading and make believe.’”

Cinthia was born in Pahang, raised in Malaysia and moved to Germany after graduating with her business degree from Monash Malaysia. She works as a business English trainer. But she could never get books or Malaysia out of her head.

“I wrote The Scarlet Omen because I think that Malaysia is a country overflowing with extraordinary beauty, hair-raising myths and harmonious cultural diversity. Isn’t that worth writing about and sharing with the world?” she says.

“Anjeli, my protagonist, is your everyday Malaysian teenage girl, living under the strict rules of her Asian mother, which all of us had to put up with as kids, with the exception that she is constantly plagued by visions and blood-soaked omens. The story is about fulfilling one’s destiny and believing that everything happens for a reason, which is basically my main motto in life.”

Cinthia seems to have tapped a rich vein in her imagination as she says her 234-page novel is just the first of a planned trilogy.

The Scarlet Omen is published by Parker Publishing and available on Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and parker-publishing.com.