Felicia Low-Jimenez, Publisher of Difference Engine

Passionate for books and writing, Felicia Low is running an independent comics publishing house.

What’s your story?
I have loved books, reading, and writing since I was a child. Most of my career has been in the book industry, from being on the retail floor in an international bookstore chain, to working in merchandising, and now, to running an independent comics publishing house. I also co-write a children’s book series titled Sherlock Sam with my husband. I believe that stories have the power to change the world.

What excites you most about your industry?
Publishing has always been a traditional industry, but that is changing with the advent of social media and innovations in digital platforms and mediums. I’m interested in exploring how we can combine art and technology to reach new audiences, and find different and innovative ways to tell stories. Specific to comics publishing, I am very excited by the growth and increased interest in children’s and young adult comics that are not focused on corporate superheroes.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore, and my family is Peranakan. I grew up hearing a mix of English and Baba Malay at home, struggled to learn Mandarin in school being the first generation in my family to have to study it in school as a second language.

Epigram Authors Illustrators

Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore because we’re a multi-racial, multilingual country, and are, for the most part, comfortable code-switching between cultures and identities. It makes it easier for us to adapt to working with people from different backgrounds and nationalities.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
That I was too much of an introvert to ever win a verbal argument so I should always use my ability to write to get my point of view across.

Who inspires you?
Creators and arts practitioners who are doggedly determined to work on their craft despite needing to balance earning a living and family obligations. It’s not easy being in the arts in Asia, and it is easy to give up, so I find inspiration from writers and artists who never stop trying.

What have you just learned recently that blew you away?
That we should focus on effort and not always a success. That failure is nothing to be ashamed of as long as the passion for learning drives us to improve. That creativity and intelligence demands effort and can be cultivated through determined and consistent practice.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would not do anything differently. I don’t feel there’s much point in looking back and trying to change the unchangeable. Every step that I’ve taken and the mistake I’ve made has formed the person that I am today, and I’m quite proud of who I am, imperfect as I may be. But all that means is that I have to keep trying harder.

How do you unwind?
I read, nap, do Pilates, and jog on the treadmill while watching Netflix. I also like shopping for stationery and have an extensive notebook collection.

Favorite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Probably Seoul, Korea. My husband and I are huge Korean drama and music fans (our newest Sherlock Sam book is set in Korea) and we like to chill out in Seoul, eating and shopping.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona, and co-created by Marvel Comics editor Sana Amanat. It’s a multi-volume series and I am confident that once you’ve started, you’ll want to continue. I personally love it for the story and characters, but for business people, I would encourage them to read it because I think it’s a brilliant success story of a new character developed by creators from diverse backgrounds that appeals to a generation increasingly concerned with representation in the content they consume.

Shameless plug for your business:
Difference Engine is a Singapore-based independent comics publishing house. Our mission is to publish well-written, beautifully illustrated comics for a diverse audience. We are especially keen to work with creators who want to tell stories about Asia that we can share with an international audience. Through both print and digital mediums, we are excited to deliver fun and meaningful content to our readers.

Our first comic, written and illustrated by a Southeast Asian creative team, will be published in the second half of 2018, so keep an eye out for it!

Difference Engine is a subsidiary of Potato Productions, a group of companies headed by Lee Han Shih. The ethos of Potato Productions is to be creative, do good, and have fun!

How can people connect with you?
Difference Engine: Powered by Comics: Website | Facebook | Instagram

Twitter handle?

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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