Making Malaysia proud, Claudia Tan’s popular Wattpad series and book ‘Perfect Addiction’ was recently revealed to be the next Hollywood adaptation. Besides writing, the Sarawak-born lass also doubles as a singer, further highlighting her talents in the creative industry.
More stories to tell
recently, Sarawakian Claudia Tan made national news after she announced on Instagram that her ‘Perfect Addiction’ book was optioned to be a Hollywood movie under Constantin Films and Jeremy Bolt, the production company and producer behind ‘Resident Evil’.
“As a small kid in Malaysia, never in my wildest dreams have I thought that I’d see the day when something I wrote would ever make it to the big screen!” she wrote.
Born in Kuching, Sarawak, the 22-year-old Claudia told New Sarawak Tribune that she was only 16 when she decided to write stories. “I first got into writing back when I was in secondary school. It was after binge-reading a lot of Young Adult novels. This was around the release of the Twilight and The Hunger Games movies, so the Young Adult books were the trend back then.”
Soon, she started writing her ‘Perfect’ series — a romance to explore the growing pains and unrequited love experiences that she had at the time of writing. “I initially wrote just as an escape from school stress, but in the end, it ended up becoming a very ‘meditative’ thing for me, where I could rationalise a lot of painful experiences such as love, heartbreak and sexuality.”
Turning to Wattpad to share her stories to a wider audience, Claudia revealed that initially, she shared the stories on her Facebook account. “I was aching for someone to read my stories. I created a tiny Facebook group with two of my other schoolmates who love to write and we just shared our own stories there and gave our feedback in between.”
However, Claudia felt that it was not enough as she wanted unbiased comments knowing her friends were obligated to give her good feedback. “Then I found Wattpad.” Wattpad is a website and app for writers to publish new user-generated stories and free for the public to read.
Eventually, her ‘Perfect’ series accumulated a massive number of readership, up to a total of 163 million readers combined.
Her series also nabbed the People’s Choice Award in the Wattys competition on the platform in 2015 and 2016. The series has also been published in French by Hachette Romans.
With her second book from the series — ‘Perfect Addiction’ being the most popular, Claudia said that, “Wattpad Studios thought it would be great to work with me and Constantin Films on a film
“When I was presented with the opportunity, It felt too good to be true. It still does. I don’t want to be too excited since we’re only in the early stages, but I’m optimistic that the entire process will go smoothly,” she added.
During the private interview, Claudia described that writing felt as if she is in an alternate reality. “It is a place where I get to play matchmaker and control what happens. It is a great form of escape for me, and writing brings a sense of comfort to me in real life.”
Back when she wrote for Wattpad, Claudia disclosed that she had all the ideas to write fictional stories floating in her head, “I felt more connected to these stories and its characters if I gave them traits, similar backstories or life stories that mirrored my own.”
To her, it is due to these elements that she was able to garner readership on Wattpad. “I think, it’s because many of the readers can relate to my stories. While the characters are fictional, they’re also grounded and familiar, and this resonates well with the readers.”
Asked about the moment when she realised that she was good at writing, Claudia was unsure. “I’m not sure if I can be considered good at writing. All I know is I enjoyed it very much, and as a 16-year-old at the time, that was enough to keep me going.”
To her, writing brings a sense of familiarity and comfort, “I always knew when I was young, I would end up doing it.”
From a writer to a singer
As time passed, Claudia decided that it was time for her to explore different avenues other than writing.
Musically inclined, Claudia attended vocal classes as a little girl and often participates in school concerts as a performer and singer. During that time, she only saw it as only a hobby and not something that she can pursue professionally.
“Recently, from my time writing novels, I started writing songs on the side and I found it to be satisfying as it is another way to express my emotions and feelings.” Furthermore, Claudia revealed that her producer-boyfriend, Irwin Lim saw her potential in composition.
“So we decided that we would try to do music professionally, at least for a while. I have so many songs that I want to share with the world and I believe I can make great music to get people bopping to the beat so I’m trying to finesse those skills,” she said.
Currently, Claudia’s focus is more on music. Describing her songs as playful, cheeky with a stream of consciousness, she added that she enjoys writing songs that reflects the experiences and struggles of millennials.
Produced by Irwinandfire, Claudia’s latest single, ‘Bodies’, features the disco-pop elements of the 70s. All of Claudia’s songs, ‘Bodies’, ‘No Flavour’ and ‘Chillin’ are available on streaming platforms Spotify and Youtube.
Aiming to be the next pop star, Claudia hopes to see Malaysian mainstream pop music be on par with their Western counterparts.
Albeit focusing more on music for now, Claudia said that she would always make time for her Wattpad fans. She also said that she has a lot of things to offer, ”Be it songwriting or writing novels, you can bet that I’ve got more stories up my sleeve to tell to the world.”
The ‘Perfect’ series
The ‘Perfect’ series is an adult romance series that are loosely connected but feature common themes such as fighting for love, redemption and growth.
‘Perfect Addiction’ is a story about a girl named Sienna, a kickboxing trainer, who discovers that her boyfriend, Jax has been cheating on her with her very own sister. She sets out to get revenge on Jax by training his arch nemesis in the underground fighting circuit, Kayden, to beat him and take away his reigning championship title. Boundaries blur as Sienna and Kayden, who have both previously been on opposite sides of the ring, discover that they can’t deny the intense chemistry between them.
“I started this series because I wanted to experiment with the romance genre in general, and as a teenager at the time, was drunk on the idea of love, and decided to express my feelings through writing,” revealed Claudia.
“‘Perfect Addiction’ story kicks off with a huge betrayal, which mirrored a personal experience of mine at the time of writing the novel. My childhood best friend had unexpectedly cut off ties with me to focus on her boyfriend (who I did not like) at the time, and I was feeling incredibly hurt. I channelled a lot of my anger into writing the book, so the result of it was a vindictive female protagonist experiencing a lot of pain in her life which propels her to seek revenge. [Spoiler alert!] At the end of the novel, she learns to forgive others and let go of the anger that has been clouding her judgement for too long. Just as my female lead was going through her journey towards forgiveness, I was experiencing the same thing in real life. Me and my best friend reconciled about a year later after she ditched her (now ex) boyfriend.”