InD"Introduces: Theresa Fuller


I grew up with ghosts outside my door. They haunted dark trees and cemeteries, and were the spirits of young girls betrayed by lovers. These stories were made real by my cousins who were always telling me how just last year a child around my age had been snatched by one of these ghosts – Pontianaks. And never seen again. Then there were the rumours of babies abandoned in the rainforest because they were girls. Whenever I met Chinese girls raised by Malay families, I wondered how much truth was in these stories.
In Singapore it is considered a treat to bring children to Haw Par Villa, originally a venue for teaching traditional Chinese values. Here children are shown the ten views of Hell. I had nightmares for a week after each visit. Even today, I can visualize the demons as they tortured liars by pulling their tongues, elongating them grotesquely.
This is probably why I never wanted to be a writer. Initially.
Writers bend the truth. A little.
Instead, I became an analyst/programmer. When I finally decided to write, I picked Ada Lovelace, the world’s first programmer, but what I learnt as I researched, horrified me.
Ada died of cancer. In great agony, she had asked her physician if she could request a second opinion. The physician’s answer was as I stated in my YA Steampunk, THE GHOST ENGINE, that should Ada do so, he would wash his hands of her.
I burned with fury at his answer, and I started imagining all the ways in which Ada could be saved if only the computer had been invented as thanks to its speed it would have hastened the swiftness in which research could be done.
Berd, my plucky protagonist, was born out of this wish.
I write about women saving the world, and in the process, themselves.