I recently had the privilege of meeting a young autistic malaysian author by the name of Andi Miranti at the Asia Pacific Autism Conference in Singapore, where he was proudly selling his wares to an international audience. Andi kindly agreed to an interview (which you can watch here on YouTube) and has also written some additional information about the story behind his books below.
ANDI MIRANTI and his NED DICKENS BOOK SERIES
Hello my name is Andi Miranti. I’m the writer and illustrator of the Ned Dickens book series. I live in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia with my brother and parents. I also have autism.
The Ned Dickens book series is about a boy named Ned Dickens. He’s a nice guy, but he often ends up in trouble with harsh punishments from his dad and pranks from the neighborhood bully. He also has a brother who goes to Nerf tournaments with his Nerf team.
In the first book, Ned wants to raise enough money for a 10-year membership for this game called RuneScape. But things keep getting in his way.
In the second book, Ned has his own time machine, and intends to use it to go back to the past and make fun of historical figures. One time, he accidentally ended up in the future, where he meets some interesting characters to help him save the future.
It all started when I was about 12 or 13, when my brother and I were experimenting with my name because it sounds like the initial “N.D.” Then my brother thought of the name Ned Dickens and we started developing a character out of that name. He gave me a few starting ideas for Ned’s personality and what Ned can do (including the blue smashing, the time
teleporting, and what he looks like). After that, most of my ideas are my own.
I first made a short Ned Dickens story for Readers Digest, but it didn’t make it in. I later started drawing Ned Dickens as a just-for-fun comic strip, like the ones from newspapers.
When I was 14 and initially working on my first book, I was only doing it as a small hobby, and I gave up and lost interest in the middle of chapter 6. Then a year later, my mom found out about the Art for Grabs festival and wanted me to publish my book for that festival. After some hesitation, I published the first six chapters as Part 1. I continued working on my Ned
Dickens book in 2 more separately-published parts over the next 2 years. Hence the three parts of Book 1. Nowadays, these 3 parts are only available as Book 1 Full Version, which combines all 3 parts initially published in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
In the book series, most characters are male, but as the book series continues, I start introducing more female characters. Another thing is, my handwriting and drawing have improved over the years and over the course of the books. It’s because my muscle tone and
control are better than before.
I’m currently writing the 3 rd story in the Ned Dickens series. Here are a few hints: China, and Ned’s long-lost mother. We might publish it in early 2020 at the earliest.
After I finish the third story, I plan on making an activity book followed by a spin-off story involving a couple of background characters from one of the books (I’m not revealing which characters!).
After that, I will focus on completing my IGCSE and other life skills that would help me begin living an independent adult life. I haven’t decided what my full-time career will be. I’ll either continue my cartooning career by writing an entirely new story and/or another Ned Dickens book, or become a keytar player in a metal band. Yeah, heavy metal music is another one of my interests.
There are lots of different possible outcomes of my Ned Dickens career, but you never know what the future will bring.
THE END (or the continuation)
By Andi Miranti
FB: Ned Dickens – Original Comic Character by Andi Miranti