Meira Chand knew writing an historical novel would not be easy. But penning A Different Sky became a labour of love as three years of research were followed by five years of writing about a country that she barely knew. To write about Singapore, the British-born author of Indian-Swiss parentage, who moved to the city state in 1997, had to merge fantasy and facts into riveting fiction. “I have no memory of Singapore, no intuitive connection with its roots and culture. So I had to build a memory on the memories of other people through research,” Chand says. “Then, to release fiction and fantasy, facts have to be absorbed, digested and then thrown over the shoulder. It is not an easy task.” A Different Sky, Chand’s eighth novel, charts the 30-year sagas of three Singapore families caught up in events beyond their control and once I started I had a hard time putting it down. It moves from the late 1920s, and the first local communist riots, through the Japanese occupation of the British colony and then the fight for independence. Through a wide cast of characters drawn from various ethnic groups, the author translates Singapore’s way of life into vivid fiction. I only wish all the Main characters had been equally developed. It left me wanting to know more. For the full story, read South China Morning PostSunday's Aug 1 page 14.