Author Dewi 'Dee' Lestari has concluded her Supernova book series, which has elevated her name in the literary world, with the launching of the sixth and final instalment of the series: Supernova: Inteligensi Embun Pagi, or Supernova: The Intelligence of the Morning Dew, a while ago.
The first book in the series was launched in 2001, and after that, Dee managed to steal the public's attention with her own unique characters and storytelling style. In Supernova: The Intelligence of the Morning Dew, she gathers all the characters she introduced in the previous five books: Ksatria, Puteri dan Bintang Jatuh (The Knight, The Princess and the Falling Star), Akar (Root), Petir (Thunder), Partikel (Particle), and Gelombang (Wave).
Other than the popular Supernova series, Dee also already published numerous popular short stories and novel, such as Madre, Filosofi Kopi, and Perahu Kertas, some of which even made to the big screen.
Dee admits that the writing process for the last Supernova was intense, and now that it's done, she is relieved and happy. But on the other hand, she found that saying goodbye to the series was not as easy as she thought it would be. Dee speaks to us about her lessons 15 years after of writing it, and her plans after Supernova.
What valuable lessons have you learned after the epic Supernova series and over all the 15 years of experience you have in professional authorship?
First of all, be careful when you decide to make serial novels. Because apparently, it is not easy at all [laughs]. It takes stamina, commitment, and a tremendous focus.
At one point, I was so stressed and tired that the temptation to just leave it off was so strong. Only because of commitment, focus, and dedication, was I led me to the end point; to this final instalment.
One thing I feel after 15 years of writing the series is that I'm much more in love with the art of writing. For me, writing is the art of learning in life. Even until now, I always feel there are many things I need to learn about writing. And I think it's a positive habit for me.
In fact, every day I wake up in the morning, I feel grateful because I have a new day to learn. I have the chance, spirit, and intention to keep learning about writing as if it's a new field for me. And for me, the mentality to always learn is what can make us go forward.
After Supernova, what are the priorities for you now and what can we expect from your upcoming project? Give us the sneak peek!
Actually, I have several titles that have been lined-up, but frankly, after Supernova, I think I want to take some time off first. I want to do something else. I don't want to get involved in an intense creative project in the near future.
I want to just pause for a while. I want to breathe; I want to have some space so I can fully 'recover' and get back in the 'game'.
I have some story ideas and even prospective books already lined up, but I can't say much about them, because public will chase me down! [laughs] So I won’t say anything. Just wait for it!
What are your opinions about book publishing industry nowadays and how do you see your position in the Indonesian literary world?
Currently, the book publishing still has a lot of homework to do. On the other side, our creativity grows faster than the industry. The industry, though, will always have its own challenges. And when compared with the more developed countries, the number of book readers in Indonesia is still very low. We need to continue to grow the number of our readers, especially when compared with the size of our population as a whole.
But on the other side, this means that there's a huge potential that can be tapped more.
I see a lot of potential, especially in young people. Writing has become something that is much in-demand these days. Although they might not portray themselves as professional authors–which means a writer as a single profession—but their interest in writing and reading has been significantly growing.
As for me, the profile of my readers is mostly young adult readers, but I actually want to write multi-genre. I don't want to get stuck in one genre, for example, or short stories, or anthologies.
That’s because, in my opinion, writing is a playground, and I would like to continue to discover and explore a lot of things in writing. From writing children's books to cooking books, writing for high-school kids, or whatever, I don't want to limit myself. That's how I see the world of authorship.
And for me, my journey in the world of writing is still a long way to go. Writing is a lifelong learning process, and this is a lifetime profession.
Photo by Dewi Irma & Courtesy of Dewi 'Dee' Lestari