Felicia on Adan

He treats me as a ‘geek-qual’

Adan Jimenez (right) and Felicia Low-Jimenez whose series, Sherlock Sam, has been picked up by an international publisher.
Adan Jimenez (right) and Felicia Low-Jimenez whose series, Sherlock Sam, has been picked up by an international publisher. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

What Low-Jimenez likes best about her husband is that he does not “man-splain” or patronise her by explaining things she already knows. As a woman interested in anime, comics and geeky pop culture, she has met many male fans who refuse to consider her their “geek-qual”.

“I feel we’ve always been equal. Sometimes, when you meet guys and tell them you like science fiction and comics, they want to educate you in a condescending way. Adan’s never been like that,” she says. “Also, he collects dolls and sees no problem with that.”

“They’re adorable,” Jimenez says of his collection. “You can change their clothes. It’s very cool.”

Low-Jimenez is fond of toys as well – the couple built a 3,000-piece Death Star together out of Lego – but her first forays into geek culture were through Japanese manga comics and anime such as Peacemaker Kurogane.

The latter is an ongoing historical manga series and a popular anime version was released in the Noughties. She wrote about it for her master’s in literary theory at the University of New England in New South Wales, Australia.

The only child of a housewife and station manager for SMRT, she studied at CHIJ Opera Estate, CHIJ Katong Convent and Temasek Junior College. She did a bachelor’s in business administration at the National University of Singapore.

Her first job, marketing for Sony, failed to capture her interest so she gave it up to study Japanese at private language schools – good for keeping up with anime.

Life changed when she was hired for a merchandising position at Books Kinokuniya, in the magazines department.

After her master’s degree, she left Books Kinokuniya to work with her then-boyfriend,now husband, to set up the nerd-friendly pop-culture and comics bookstore Harris Planerds in 2011.

The store was a novelty started by the now-defunct Harris chain, run by Popular Holdings, but it shuttered after barely two years in business. Next, she joined Epigram Books as a rights and marketing manager – around the same time as her wedding in 2012 – and soon began writing the Sherlock Sam series with her husband.

She rejoined Books Kinokuniya in 2013 and works there as division manager of merchandising.

She and her husband write in their few free hours after work or on weekends. While hammering out a plot and perfecting the draft, they clash occasionally. “I’m more anal-retentive, so I want everything to be perfect before we hand it to an editor,”she says,where as he is happier with the draft before she is.

More often, they will argue over which TV series to binge-watch before they get down to tackling their newest manuscript. “Whenever we have a deadline, we shotgunan entire series,” she says.

To get in the mood for writing, they have watched and re-watched 10 seasons of the Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny-helmed science-fiction drama, The X-Files, including the movies, as well as British comedy, drama and science- fiction series Doctor Who.

Asked which fictional couple their relationship is most like, Low-Jimenez immediately says: “Calvin and Hobbes”, referring to a comic strip published by Bill Watterson, about a young boy’s imaginary adventures with his stuffed tiger doll.

“We don’t really care, we have fun no one else understands.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2015, with the headline 'He treats me as a ‘geek-qual’'. Subscribe