Monday, 23 May 2016

Tales from the tropics

One of my earliest memories is playing happily in a friend's garden before being unceremoniously yanked inside by our panic-stricken mothers. Turned out there was a python lurking in the storm drain. Not long after the snake-scare, we were motoring through town when our driver yelled at us to duck down out-of-sight. Our error was to pass a roundabout where police were pursuing a runaway man with live bullets. I can remember seeing the man fall to the ground as my mum pushed me down into the footwell. Strangely I accepted these occasional elements of danger without question. That was how life was in Indonesia in the late 1970s.

Emma Clark Lam as a child in Jakarta
Me and my brother in the Puncak, outside Jakarta, c.1978
It was a lot of fun too - lazy afternoons at the swimming pool, horse-riding in the tea plantations outside Jakarta, holidays in Bali and trips to the beach with the volcano Krakatoa looming in the background. My parents were posted to Jakarta in their early thirties and were given a company bungalow complete with domestic staff. Looking back at family photos, it is clear that hedonism was the order of the day. My parents and their friends were young and groovy - the albums are full of raucous parties, boat trips and batik shirts. 

Book cover for 'The Puppet Master', a romantic thriller by Emma Clark Lam
Available on Amazon on 6/6/16
When I look back now I realise that Jakarta was a playground, full of thrills but not without its risks. This compelling mix of light and dark became the inspiration for my latest novel, The Puppet Master, which will be released on Amazon on the 6 June. 

My story is about the wife of a diplomat who struggles to come to terms with her ruinous marriage, against a backdrop of illicit love affairs, parties and general revelry. Her gilded, ex-patriate life in Jakarta begins to unravel as her husband becomes increasingly possessive and seeks to control her every movement. In the end, she faces an agonising dilemma to win back her freedom.

In the run-up to the book launch, I am frantically proofing, re-writing and honing the cover design with my friend Alex Nicoley, a talented graphic designer. I am terribly excited that this book - which has taken me a good few years to write - will finally see the light of day. The python in the garden will also be playing a cameo role! So if you enjoy a literary thriller with a dash of romance, then please take this journey with me back into time, to a place where fear and fun were inextricably bound.


The Puppet Master by Emma Clark Lam is now available on Amazon as a Kindle book. You can download the ebook onto a Kindle, iPad, iPhone, computer, tablet or Android phone. For any non-Kindle device, you would need to download a free Kindle app first. 

Click here to read an extract from the book.