Writing Bio

I began writing in Singapore whilst I was a volunteer docent for the Friends of the Museums (FOM), guiding The Asian Civilisations Museum and the Peranakan Museum alongside an amazing, warm and brilliant group of women from all over the world.

Through FOM training, guiding and the social activities, I made terrific friends. I joined the FOM Writers' Group and began writing for the FOM Magazine (now Passages) on the architecture, history and culture of Singapore.

My articles were greeted with nice reviews and that encouraged me to have a go at writing a novel which turned out to be The Red Thread. The subject matter came right off the walls of the museums! Especially the Peranakan Museum which displays the unique heritage and culture of the locally-born 'Straits Chinese'. I plundered the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library at the National Library of Singapore and trawled through maps and photographs at the National Archive (awesome places for research).

In the end I had a manuscript and found the nerve to send it off to Monsoon Books, a local publisher of Asian fiction and he published it for which thanks and phew! 

Five novels later I moved back to Perth and did a PhD in Creative Writing at Edith Cowan University which includes a novel about women, war and the Japanese occupation of Singapore: Salvaged from the Wreck. This is currently with my agent Helen Mangham at Jacaranda Agency.

I was  awarded a 2021 ASA mentorship for a new foray for me into the world of crime. Set in the Japanese occupation of Singapore, Tokyo Time is a police procedural. Blurb alert:

 

1942: During the Japanese occupation of Singapore, a Eurasian and a Japanese homicide detective are thrown together in a ragtag civilian CID, under the power of a brutal and corrupt military regime. 

 

My mentor is the wonderful Sunil Badami. Check him out on Instagram: @badamisunil and Twitter: @thatsunilbadami

PRAISE FOR DAWN'S DEBUT NOVEL: THE RED THREAD

"An exceptionally well-written novel whose descriptions and subplots concerning the land, religious beliefs, and relationships are so engagingly presented that the reader is sure to want to keep this passionate novel, which celebrates meaningful union rather than division. A beautiful story to relish on every page."

Historical Novel Society

 

"The novel feels immaculately researched, and Dawn seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of topics as diverse as Chinese secret societies, sexual customs amongst the officers of colonial power and might, tiger attacks, what the fashionable girl was wearing in the 1830s, and how the not-so fashionable girl avoided pregnancy."

The Telegraph UK

"An exceptionally well-written novel whose descriptions and subplots concerning the land, religious beliefs, and relationships are so engagingly presented that the reader is sure to want to keep this passionate novel, which celebrates meaningful union rather than division. A beautiful story to relish on every page."

Historical Novel Society

 

"The novel feels immaculately researched, and Dawn seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of topics as diverse as Chinese secret societies, sexual customs amongst the officers of colonial power and might, tiger attacks, what the fashionable girl was wearing in the 1830s, and how the not-so fashionable girl avoided pregnancy."

The Telegraph UK

MY BOOKS

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